Looms – early history

When I originally took weaving lessons, my instructor commented that language pertaining to men’s activities had come down to us. No so true about language pertaining to women’s activities.

Well, words have come down to us. We just don’t always know them. Heirloom, for example, referred to the loom that was passed down from generation to generation. Looms are expensive now, they were really expensive then. I suspect most people know that spinster derives from spinning. Unmarried women had to spin a certain amount of yarn to make the family linens. We’ve all heard of the Hope chest which girls filled so they had the items necessary for their households as married women.

Eric Broudy, inThe Book of Looms, explains the word loom as from the Old English geloma, which meant simply tool or utensil. He says “The loom, perhaps next to the stone ax and spear, was the tool in ancient times.”

Who knew, right?


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