Power loom, 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Detail of a power loom manufactured by J Harrison and Son of Blackburn, Lancashire, and fitted with the loose reed emergency stop mechanism of 1842. This loom was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in part of the displays entitled 'Machinery in Motion', and subsequently modified by the makers with design changes until 1858. These types of loom were a major advance over the handlooms used before. In 1825, a weaver using a hand loom could weave only about 100 yards of cloth a week, while a power loom could weave 250 yards. Power looms were asembled in the weaving shed of a mill and driven by a steam engine by belts from overhead shafting.