• Pawtucket canal with boat tour full of visitors with trolley in the background.

    Lowell

    National Historical Park Massachusetts

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  • Credit Card payments for interpretive fees.

    Beginning September 9, due to the federal government's fiscal year close out, only cash or check payments can be accepted for fees at the Boott Mills, canal boat tours, and for Interagency Passes. Credit cards will be accepted again on October 1, 2014. More »

  • Lowell NHP Superintendents Compendium update.

    The Superintendents Compendium has been updated in regard to the use of unmanned aircraft in national park areas. More »

Making Textiles

 
Picking Cotton graphic
Picking removed foreign matter (dirt, insects, leaves, seeds) from the fiber. Early pickers beat the fibers to loosen them and removed debris by hand. Machines used rotating teeth to do the job, producing a thin "lap" ready for carding.
National Park Service
 
Carding illustration
Carding combed the fibers to align and join them into a loose rope called a "sliver." Hand carders pulled the fibers between wire teeth set in boards. Machines did the same thing with rotating cylinders. Slivers (rhymes with divers) were then combined, twisted, and drawn out into "roving."
National Park Service
 
Pictures of Historical spinning methods
Spinning twisted and drew out the roving and wound the resulting yarn on a bobbin. A spinning wheel operator drew out the cotton by hand. A series of rollers accomplished this on machines called "throstles" and "spinning mules."
National Park Service
 
Historical warping photos
Warping gathered yarns from a number of bobbins and wound them close together on a reel or spool. From there they were transferred to a warp beam, which was then mounted on a loom. Warp threads were those that ran lengthwise on the loom.
National Park Service
 
Historical weaving illustrations
Weaving was the final stage in making cloth. Crosswise woof threads were interwoven with warp threads on a loom. A 19th century power loom worked essentially like a hand loom, except that its actions were mechanized.
National Park Service
 

Did You Know?

Mile of Mills, Lowell, MA

Francis Cabot Lowell died before his colleagues began planning the industrial city of unprecedented order and scale that would eventually be named Lowell, Massachusetts.