Photo of The Month – Jun 2008
Contributor: Society Archives
Bill Mask and Ishmael (“Shot”) White make adjustments to a loom near the end of the “terry cloth days,” in the old mill about 1970. Loom fixers were the mechanics of the weave room. Their skill sets included a knowledge of the name and function of every one of the hundreds of parts that made up a loom. Most likely each was an expert in the operation of several models.
You may be surprised to learn that each loom fixer had to provide his own tools (wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.) During World War II, when the government tightly controlled such things, the Company had to appeal to Washington to allow our loom fixers more freedom to buy and replace the tools necessary to do their jobs.
A weaver in those days was responsible of from four to eight looms. His or her livelihood depended on how much cloth was produced on them. Naturally, if one of the looms went down the weaver wanted it fixed right away, and would signal for a loom fixer by placing two bobbins atop one another on a wire rod sticking up from the loom frame. (Read R.G. Watkins’ article Working in the Mill for more on the joys of cotton mill employment—the lint, the heat, the humidity!)
That rectangular container of bobbins (lower right) was called a filling box. It was the responsibility of the “filling boy” to keep these supplied with bobbins of the appropriate thread color and size.