The Home Textile Tool Museum is an incorporated, non-profit, educational institution, dedicated to the understanding of textile production as it was in the American home in earlier times.
At the Home Textile Tool Museum, we reconstruct textile fabrication, an important part of American farm life, as it was in the mid 1800's through demonstrations, displays and visitor participation.
All aspects of home textile production are shown and/or demonstrated, including flax and wool spinning, plain and overshot weaving, flax growing and preparation, keeping sheep, and natural dyeing.
Making fabrics at home, using homegrown materials, was a daily activity second only to preparing meals. Even children participated in this effort. Families made their own clothing, bed linen, coverlets, towels, rugs, and storage sacks for grain and other products, using primitive wooden equipment, often made by local craftsmen.
Tools such as those used by craftsmen in making spinning wheels, looms and related equipment are shown and demonstrated at the museum. Visitors are invited to try selected equipment under supervision.
A Little Bit of History
Orwell, Pennsylvania, is an ideal site for a museum on home textile production. The 1810 census revealed that the 134 families in Orwell Township owned 240 spinning wheels and 41 looms. Almost every family had at least two spinning wheels, probably a great wheel for wool and a little wheel for flax. Altogether, these families reported having made 5170 yards of cloth in the previous year, which was an average of almost 42 yards per household. The census marshal noted that families in Orwell and nearby townships only made cloth "for their own wearing" and that the "weaving is performed by the females, except in one or two instances" Return to HTTM Home Page
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