Ribbons

looms ribbon loom

-RIBBONS. By this name are designated narrow webs, properly of silk, not exceeding nine inches in width, used primarily for binding and tying in connexion with dress, but also now applied for innumerable useful, ornamental, and symbolical purposes. Along with that of tapes, fringes, and other smallwares, the manufacture of ribbons forms a special department of the textile industries. It is obvious that the weaving of very narrow fabrics, piece by piece, on separate looms would be a tedious and expensive process ; yet for ages such was the only method of making ribbons. The essential feature of a ribbon loom is the simultaneous weaving in one loom frame of two or more webs, going up to as many as forty narrow fabrics in modern looms. To effect the conjoined throwing of all the shuttles and the various other movements of the loom the automatic action of the power-loom is necessary; and it is a remarkable fact that the self-acting ribbon loom was known and extensively used more than a century before the famous invention of Cartwright. A loom in which several narrow webs could be woven at one time is men-tioned as having been working in Dantzic towards the end of the 16th century. Similar looms were at work in Leyden in 1620, where their use gave rise to so much dis-content and rioting on the part of the weavers that the states general had to prohibit their use. The prohibition was renewed at various intervals throughout the century, and in the same interval the use of the ribbon loom was interdicted in most of the principal industrial centres of Europe. About 1676, under the name of the Dutch loom or engine loom, it was brought to London ; and, although its introduction there caused some disturbance, it does not appear to have been prohibited. In 1745 the celebrated John Kay, the inventor of the fly-shuttle, obtained, conRibbon weaving is known to have been established near St Etienne (dep. Loire) so early as the 11th century, and that town to the present day continues to be the headquarters of the industry. In the time of Louis XIV. the ribbon trade there gave employment to about 6000 persons ; now about 17,000 looms are in operation in the district, 1500 of which are power-looms in factories. Statistics compiled in 1881 give the annual value of the trade at 63,400,000 francs, of which 45,000,000 francs was the value of ribbons proper, the remainder being represented by scarfs, trimmings, elastic web, chenille, Dunng the Huguenot troubles, ribbon weavers from St Etienne settled at Basel and there established an industry which now rivals that of the original seat of the trade. In the Basel district the looms number 8000 ; but one-half of these are power-looms in factories, which have a much greater productive capacity than the domestio looms. Crefeld is the centre of the German ribbon industry, the manufac-ture of black velvet ribbon being there a specialty. In Vienna about 2000 looms are employed. Next to St Etienne and Basel, Coventry is the most important seat of ribbon making, and to some extent the industry is also prosecuted at Nonvich and Leicester. The average annual value of the ribbon trade of western Europe and Amenca is £16,000,000. A large proportion of the ribbons now made are mixed fabrics of silk and cotton.

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