Two Kay shuttles, c 18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These two shuttles are of a type designed for use on the fly shuttle loom introduced by John Kay (1704-c 1780) in 1733. They have iron-tipped ends, rollers underneath to reduce friction, and one has two pins to weave a two-ply thread. The importance of this type of shuttle was that it speeded up the weaving proces (the shuttle no longer having to be laboriously pased by hand acros the loom) and made posible the weaving of broader cloth - previously the width of the cloth had been restricted by the span of the weaver's arms.