Axminster Gripper (Jacquard) Carpet Loom


Brintons Ltd (UK)
c. 1910

  National Wool Museum, Geelong, Australia
EMu user since 2000

Axminster Gripper (Jacquard) Carpet LoomThe Axminster Carpet Loom is the centrepiece of the National Wool Museum. The loom was built by Brintons in England in about 1910 and initially operated in Geelong in 1960. Brintons designed and built most of their own looms and ancillary equipment. When superseded in 1975 the loom was donated to the Melbourne College of Textiles for weaving training. The College subsequently donated the loom to the National Wool Museum and it was restored to full working condition by Brintons’ engineers in 1988. It operates daily, producing the National Wool Museum’s exclusive Manor House Rug.

This loom is known as an Axminster gripper loom. The gripper system was invented by Brintons in 1890 and operates using a gripper shaped like a bird’s beak. This grips the yarn, the yarn is then cut and the gripper swings down to place the tuft into the woven backing.

Axminster Gripper (Jacquard) Carpet LoomThis loom also uses a jacquard system for weaving colours. In jacquard weaving, punched cards are used to instruct the loom as to which colour to use. Invented by Joseph Jacquard, a silk weaver from Lyon, the system was introduced in 1804, revolutionising pattern weaving with its capacity to create intricate patterns through the use of the cards. By 1833 there were approximately 100,000 power-looms used in Great Britain that had been influenced by Jacquard’s invention. Joseph Jacquard died in 1834.

Charles Babbage was later to adapt Jacquard’s punch-card system to produce a calculator that was the forerunner of today’s methods of computer programming.