As part of our effort to make our collection more accessible to the public we will be doing regular ‘Object Highlights’ where different members of staff or volunteers choose one of their favourite objects from our collection and tell us a little bit about what it is and why they have chosen it. We kick off this week with Kathy one of Museum Assistants choices.
The Carding Machine:
‘As a hand spinner, it can take me up to 80 hours to take one fleece from its raw state to a few skeins of yarn. To help me speed this up, I have a small domestic drum carder which means I can save a little time in this preparation.
The drum carder on display in the museum was part of a wider move to the mechanisation of the woollen industry, and whilst it sped up production it also posed a threat to the livelihood of folk who had relied on doing this work manually in cottages or workshops.
It is difficult to imagine the sense of shock and insecurity which the change of generations of old life styles and methods involved. The advent of the machine was widely feared by the woollen workers, and in many cases bitterly resisted as a result.
I feel lucky I have the luxury of choosing to use a machine to speed up my production, in contrast with those in the past who felt the changes were imposed and unwelcomed.’