loom


loom
loom1
/loohm/, n.
1. a hand-operated or power-driven apparatus for weaving fabrics, containing harnesses, lay, reed, shuttles, treadles, etc.
2. the art or the process of weaving.
3. the part of an oar between the blade and the handle.
v.t.
4. to weave (something) on a loom.
[bef. 900; ME lome, OE geloma tool, implement. See HEIRLOOM]
loom2
/loohm/, v.i.
1. to appear indistinctly; come into view in indistinct and enlarged form: The mountainous island loomed on the horizon.
2. to rise before the vision with an appearance of great or portentous size: Suddenly a police officer loomed in front of him.
3. to assume form as an impending event: A battle looms at the convention.
n.
4. a looming appearance, as of something seen indistinctly at a distance or through a fog: the loom of a moraine directly in their path.
[1585-95; orig. uncert.]
Syn. 2. rear, tower.
loom3
/loohm/, n. Brit. Dial.
1. loon1.
2. a guillemot or murre.
[1670-80; < ON lomr]

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Machine for weaving cloth.

The earliest looms, from the 5th millennium BC, consisted of bars or beams forming a frame to hold a number of parallel threads in two alternating sets. By raising one set of these threads (which together formed the warp), it was possible to run a cross thread (a weft, or filling) between them. A shuttle carried the filling strand through the warp. The fundamental operation of the loom remained unchanged, but over centuries many improvements were introduced in both Asia and Europe. The drawloom, probably invented in Asia for silk weaving, provided a means for raising warp threads in groups as required by a pattern. In the 18th century Jacques de Vaucanson and J.-M. Jacquard mechanized this function by the ingenious use of punched cards; the cards programmed the mechanical drawboy, saving labour and eliminating errors (see Jacquard loom). In England the inventions of John Kay (flying shuttle), Edmund Cartwright (power drive), and others contributed to the Industrial Revolution, in which the loom and other textile machinery played a central role.

* * *

      machine for weaving cloth. The earliest looms date from the 5th millennium BC and consisted of bars or beams fixed in place to form a frame to hold a number of parallel threads in two sets, alternating with each other. By raising one set of these threads, which together formed the warp, it was possible to run a cross thread, a weft, or filling, between them. The block of wood used to carry the filling strand through the warp was called the shuttle.

      The fundamental operation of the loom remained unchanged, but a long succession of improvements were introduced through ancient and medieval times in both Asia and Europe. One of the most important of these was the introduction of the heddle, a movable rod that served to raise the upper sheet of warp. In later looms the heddle became a cord, wire, or steel band, several of which could be used simultaneously.

      The drawloom, probably invented in Asia for silk weaving, made possible the weaving of more intricate patterns by providing a means for raising warp threads in groups as required by the pattern. The function was at first performed by a boy (the drawboy), but in the 18th century in France the function was successfully mechanized and improved further by the ingenious use of punched cards. Introduced by Jacques de Vaucanson (Vaucanson, Jacques de) and Joseph-Marie Jacquard (Jacquard, Joseph-Marie), the punched cards programmed the mechanical drawboy, saving labour and eliminating errors. In England, meanwhile, the inventions of John Kay (Kay, John) (flying shuttle), Edmund Cartwright (Cartwright, Edmund) (power drive), and others contributed to the Industrial Revolution, in which the loom and other textile machinery played a central role. Modern looms retain the basic operational principles of their predecessors but have added a steadily increasing degree of automatic operation.

      Counterparts of these looms were used in many other cultures. A backstrap loom was known in pre-Columbian America and in Asia, and the Navajo Indians wove blankets on a two-bar loom for centuries.

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Universalium. 2010.

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