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SEWING NOTIONS FABRICS TRIMS

ANTIQUES MISC > PAGE 2

Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins
Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins
Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins
Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins
Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins
Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins
Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins

Material:  wood , metal & velvet cover

Marks:  On Handle ~ Princess   Pat. Apl'd For

Size:  Apron Length (front to back) ~ 14 & 1/2 inches,

         Total Length including rear wooden lace roller ~ 19 inches

        Apron Width ~ 16 & 1/4 inches,

        Height ~ 2 & 1/4 inches at apron back, sloping to 1 & 1/4 inches at front,

         Overall Height to top of handle ~ 8 inches

Quantity:  1 lace pillow/loom,  24 wood bobbins,  photocopy of Princess Lace Loom Instruction
               Booklet

A very interesting piece of American history here;  an antique bobbin lace making loom, also called a pillow, manufactured by the Torchon Lace Company.

This company, headquartered in St Louis, Missouri, was started by Sylverster Lewis in 1901 to market his cylindrical bobbin lace pillow, which was touted as a great improvement over the lace making equipment currently available in Europe.  A patent for the loom was issued in 1903.  As this example is marked Pat Apl'd For we can effectively date it to between 1901 and 1903.

The looms, which I have seen referenced as a variation of a French Roller Pillow, were sold door to door, as well as widely advertised in ladies magazines via mail order, complete with bobbins and instruction book for apx. $5.00.

One early advertisement I saw stated:  25,000 Princess Lace Machines already sold in the US and foreign countries.  Another 1905 Delineator ad promoted the loom as a way for a lady to make beautiful lace such as Brussels, Cluny, Mechlin, Valenciennes and more, affording a pleasant past time for ladies of leisure.  My most favorite ad of all states:  Remember, the lace made on the Princess Lace Loom is Real Lace and fully equal in all respect, to the finest imported hand made laces, and is not to be compared, for one instant, with the cheap shoddy machine made imitations offered for sale in some stores.  Laces made on the Princess Loom retail for 15 cents to $3.00 a yard.  In conclusion, we will say that if you are looking for an opportunity to make money, we feel like this is a golden one for you.

This particular antique Princess Lace Making Loom is in exceptionally nice antique estate condition and is complete with 24 bobbins, as well as a section of hand made lace in the process of being worked.

I believe the machine itself is all original and complete.

The apron is covered in a nice, soft, red velvet.  It is really quite clean, with only some minor surface soil/dust and no rips, tears, or cuts, just very slight front corner edge wear.  It would be easy to replace the velvet, if desired, by simply removing edge trim and tacks, replace velvet with preferred cover, then replace trim/tacks.

The lace roller, which still retains the original pricked paper lace pattern design, feels like it is padded inside with wool, or something similar.

The wooden roller at back is mahogany in color.

The base underneath apron is black wood and the back is raised slightly higher than the front, allowing the apron the be sloped, which I understand allows for better control of the bobbins, so they don't roll all around, as they tend to do on a flat apron.

Overall weight of this table top style loom, as shown, is apx. 5 pounds, so it is fairly easy to move, yet there is enough weight and apron slope that the bobbins are easy to work.

While the machine appears to all original, I believe that only possibly 2 of the 24 total bobbins may be original to the loom, this being the two narrower, turned styles, one of which is clearly shown in image  #6.
The other 22 bobbins are likely not original, as they are completely hand carved.  These treen bobbins are really nicely hand carved, or whittled, with rounded, bulbous, un-pointed  bodies, larger collars. long necks and somewhat cone shaped heads.  And of course while they are similar, each one is totally unique.   (My romantic sensibilities can easily image a charming gentleman whittling each of these bobbins for his lovely lady!)   With the exception of two hand carved bobbins that I
did not include in the count, as they are broken and missing their lower half, for the most part, all of the bobbins are in good shape.  I did find one of the hand carved examples with a broken collar and one with a small chip to the head, otherwise all of the bobbins remain quite nice and very useable.

I was told by a professional lace maker that the style of these hand carved treenware bobbins is similar to Danish, Swedish, Flemish, Swiss, Argentine and some Italian period examples, so it is possibly that the original lace maker originated from, or was influenced by, these regions.

A very pretty length of antique pink and green ribbon is pinned across the width of the loom, providing some stability to the bobbins.  After years and years of storage however, the bobbins have become tangled and will require some diligent attention to return to their correct positions.  (the bobbins were this way when I purchased the loom and I really have tried very hard not to further tangle them)

With some searching I was able to find a good photocopy of an original, antique instruction booklet for this pillow, issued by the Torchon Lace Company; Volume One, the Fourth Edition, Copyright 1904, titled The American Lace Maker.   The lace being worked on this loom, which remains in very nice condition, (see close-up #5)  is shown on page 7, lesson no. 8 and is described as Copenhagen Lace.

The instruction booklet provides general directions and information about winding the bobbins, as well as 13 lace making lessons, with detailed instructions and pictures;  including Net Ground, Plain Hole Ground, Round Point Edging, Diamond Point Edging, Twisted Hole Ground with Spider, Linen or Cloth Ground, Antique or Spider Insertion, Copenhagen Lace, Smyrna Edging, Brussels Net Ground, Edging, Pin-Check or Ornamental Ground and Rose Ground.  I will include a photo copy of this instruction booklet, as well as one of the interesting advertisements referenced above, to loom. Purchaser.

This Princess Pillow is really an exceptionally nice and very collectible piece of American lace making history.
We have another lace making pillow available, acquired along with this example.  Please see link on left side of page.

Antique Torchon Lace Company Princess Bobbin Lace Making Loom ~ Pillow, Interesting Hand Carved Treen Wooden Bobbins

$ 279.00

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ARCHIVES > PAGE 3