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Here's our loom with a view; HISTORY: 19th-century machine reassembled at last for museum display.

Byline: By Jenny Waddington

A 19TH-CENTURY loom which was dismantled three years ago has been put back together as part of the redevelopment of The Herbert.

The Jacquard ribbon-weaving loom was broken down into more than 100 pieces for the start of the gallery's pounds 20 million revamp.

But now the loom, which dates back to the early 1840s, when it was used at William Franklin and Son in Coventry, has been reassembled.

The machine was in use until the 1960s when it was given to Courtaulds to put in its museum until being transferred to the Jordan Well building the following decade.

Bed worth-based Toye, Kenning and Spencer spent 10 days putting the loom back together as part of the gallery's impressive collection.

Huw Jones, keeper of industry at The Herbert, said it was fantastic to see the machine in its full glory once again. He added: "The machine won't be in use but we will be showing a film of a similar loom that Toye, Kenning and Spencer still operate which shows the ribbon weaving process and explains how it works.

"There are only a few of these looms remaining in the country and it is the Jacquard mechanism which controls the loom.

"It is like an early computer because it is controlled by a series of cards with holes punched in them.

"The top part of the loom is really heavy and had to be lifted in by four people with a fork-lift truck to slot it in. It is great to see it back again."

The history of ribbon weaving will be featured in the new History Gallery along with 20th century industries such as machine tools, aircraft and cars along with exhibits highlighting life in Coventry in the medieval, Victorian and post-1939 periods.

Cllr Heather Johnson, cabinet member for community services for Coventry City Council, added: "This is part of Coventry's heritage because ribbon weaving was the main industry in the city from 1700 to 1860, and the loom is a great way to educate students learning about this industry."

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HISTORY IN THE MAKING... Huw Jones and Cllr Heather Johnson with the loom.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 8, 2008
Words:360
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