Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Acquisitions - Deen Loom

By: Erin Crissman, Curator
Last week, John Hart (assistant curator of collections) and I travelled to Worcester, NY, to collect a unique loom from a donor. Unlike most of the looms in our collection, this one was made in the 20th century and is cast iron. This Deen Advance Fly Shuttle Loom, made in Harlan, Iowa, amazingly survived two or three changes of property ownership and remained set up exactly as it was left in the 1940s or 50s – in a barn, warped and ready to produce carpet. The extra-special feature of this loom is the custom warping system invented by the weaver. This modification allowed him (or her) to continually weave a very long length of carpet, rather than warping the loom with a finite length of warping cord (in this case a very sturdy cotton twine). So, instead of cutting a 10 foot length and warping the loom, the warp was continually pulled from the spools mounted on the ceiling. Where did he or she learn to make such a productive change? Did this weaver work in a textile factory? He or she was probably operating the loom in the 1930s. During the Great Depression, home production of carpet was encouraged by the US Government as an extra income source for rural families. We hope to learn much more about this loom in the coming months.


Marlene Hobart - Drag'n Rock Farm said...

I have an old cast iron Deen Loom used to make rugs and have a couple of the rugs made on it. We purchased our hobby farm and this was an agreed on part of the purchase. It also went through at least two owners of this property - if not more - as our house and barn are quite old. We are looking for a parts source and manuals if you know of any. Great pics also. Are there close-ups as I'd like to set up something similar for my loom.

Monica Senyk said...

I also have a Deen loom, a Universal with a flying shuttle and a large spiked drum mounted on the back for the warp, and some antique weaving accessories, that I inherited from my grandfather, though I am not sure where he got it--I was very young when the story was told... "Back in the day...", he and 'the kids' wove the rag rugs, then Grandma would finish the edges on her pedal Singer. While folks were recovering from the Great Depression, people would trade food, more rags, or even their old rugs back for these very durable and easy to wash rugs--I still have some that are far older than me!

In case you haven't found anything... Janet Meany at sells copies of some Deen manuals, and Barb Barnett at Barnett Sheep and Wool & N.E. Iowa Weavers Museum has two of these looms operating (or at least she did several years ago!). As for parts, well, there isn't even much info out there, let alone parts... I've had my loom for over 10 years and I'm still looking! I'm also looking for blogs, and another Deen loom!

Anonymous said... has a thread about Deen looms. Visit the site and search "Deen" to follow the conversation. The Yahoo Rug Group also might have some current Deen owners.

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