A non-profit making club for owners of Hattersley Looms - specifically the Hattersley Domestic

Hattersley Archive

About the Hattersley Domestic Loom

The Hattersley Domestic Loom was manufactured by George Hattersley & Sons Ltd of Keighley - established in 1789 - the firm made every type of loom and a vast range of associated textile equipment until 1981.


Not much is known about the history of the Domestic Loom. Initially it has been said that they were developed markets overseas in the British Empire. But it was the Harris Tweed Industry which adopted the Hattersley Domestic Loom in the greatest numbers.


Basically, the loom combines all the know-how of 19th century loom engineering into a small, compact format which is simply poetry in motion. From the moment I first saw my first Hattersley, I knew I had to have one!


The first thirty Hattersley's were sent to the Outer Hebrides in 1919. These were 36 inches in the reed space and single shuttle. In 1924 the first six shuttle, 40 inch reed space looms arrived in Stornoway and this type of loom was the most commonly used  loom in the islands and is still in use today.


People talk about the Hattersley Loom, but to be correct the loom was just one part of the Hattersley Domestic Weaving System - consisting of a loom, pirn winder and warping mill. Indeed over the years there were a number of developments, although the basic underlying concept stayed the same.


Each loom was assembled at the Hattersley works in Keighley before being packed in order to ensure that all the parts worked properly. Then before dismantling, various parts of the loom were numbered and marked with paint in order to make it easier to assemble later. The loom was then placed in a crate - which on arrival at its destination was then unpacked and assembled with only reference to a simple guide.


Hattersley connoisseurs will tell you NEVER give your loom a nice fresh coat of black gloss paint - YOU WILL OBLITERATE the assembly marks. Also NEVER try to lift your loom in one piece from its top with a winch - it was never designed for this.


The basic Mark I loom is treadle operated and the amount of effort to start the machine from rest and to keep it in motion varies from loom to loom, dependent on how well it has been erected and tuned. Basically, no two looms feel the same to weave on - they all have distinct personalities - and this is where their charm comes from.


Generally the looms have tappets to control up to 8 shafts, healds or boards. Most looms simply have 4 shafts and a set of four 2/2 Twill tappets and four plain weave tappets. BUT, if you look in the spare parts catalogue you will find a huge range of 5,6,7,and 8 pick tappets in the most wonderful shapes. In order to cope with the different gearings the tappet drive cog on the bottom drive shaft can be adjusted AND there are two sixes of tapped mounting drive cogs.


There was also a Dobby Loom developed which was never very popular. Some take the view that it was hard to pedal. BUT the more likely explanation is that in the Harris Tweed industry most of the tweeds are woven using standard lifts and so the flexibility of the Dobby simply is not required.







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