The silk throwing mill at Caraglio, Italy

The three-story silk throwing mill at Caraglio, Piedmont, Italy, constructed 1676-8.

The three-story silk-throwing mill at Caraglio, Piedmont, Italy, constructed 1676-8.

This enormous water-powered silk-throwing mill, at Caraglio in Piedmont in north-western Italy, was built in 1676-8. Mills like this were the model for the first successful English factory for manufacturing silk warp yarn [organzine] by water power, built by Thomas Lombe at Derby about 1720. The Spinning Project is currently exploring the links between Lombe’s silk-throwing machinery and subsequent mechanical inventions for spinning cotton, culminating in Richard Arkwright’s water frame of 1768. Lombe’s Derby factory used machines copied from those in Piedmont.

‘The East Prospect of Derby, c. 1728’. The two large brick buildings in the centre of the painting, on an island in the river, are Thomas Lombe’s silk factories, on the left the three-story doubling works and on the right the five-story, water-powered throwing works.

‘The East Prospect of Derby, c. 1728’. The two large brick buildings in the centre of the painting, on an island in the river, are Thomas Lombe’s silk factories, on the left the three-story doubling works and on the right the five-story, water-powered throwing works.

The working reconstruction at Caraglio demonstrates the huge scale of this machinery and its use of a flyer mechanism similar to that employed in Arkwright’s machine.

Posted in Spinning Project | 1 Comment

‘Threads of Feeling’ travels to America

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

‘Threads of Feeling’, the exhibition of textiles from the London Foundling Hospital curated by John Styles, opened at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va., USA on May 25th, 2013. The exhibition continues there until May 26th, 2014.

John was at Colonial Williamsburg for the opening event on May 29th. The previous day he gave a public lecture on ‘Foundlings, Philanthropy and Textiles in Eighteenth-Century London’.

 

 

Williamsburg ladies on their morning walk.

Williamsburg ladies on their morning walk.

 

At Colonial Williamsburg, he particularly enjoyed visiting the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop and talking to Angela Burnley of Burnley and Trowbridge, expert re-creators of historic fabrics.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Spinning Project | 1 Comment

The wheel starts to whirr

Welcome to the website for the Spinning project, a European Research Council funded examination of ‘Spinning in the era of the Spinning Wheel.’

You can find a full description of the project on the About page, see pictures of cloth viewed through a microscope on the Gallery page, and read about our team and our colleagues.

More material will be added as this project progresses, and news of it will be added to this blog. You can keep up with our progress through our RSS feed.

 

Posted in Spinning Project | Leave a comment