I’ve always had a fascination for things mechanical, things with lots of parts that move together to make something happen. My father’s sawmill running on steam was a sight to behold – so much motion.
Today I watched the loom in action. There have been a few minor set backs to this particular job but I love how it makes your brain work to solve a problem or two. Being able to watch it work was another step towards understanding what it can do. Everything has its limitations but you have to understand how it works before you can troubleshoot the problems.
As it ran and I observed it almost made me laugh out loud. So, so many moving parts all working together. This is a machine that was improved over time back in the day when it was practical engineering minds that were tweaking it here and there or redesigning parts of the whole to make it work better, faster, more efficiently. These were men whose minds understood gear ratios, tension, pulleys, levers. They knew how to make things work without a degree in engineering.
I dare say a loom mechanic was not that different from a car mechanic. They worked on the same machine day in and day out. Most times fixing similar problems or the parts that typically wore out. My grandfather’s tool box has all kinds of little things in it that I’m sure were a lot of his job. There are boxes of bigger parts in the barn here as well. Until today I didn’t know what they were.
Watching this work is mesmerizing, there is so much going on at the same time. It makes me sad to think of what younger people are missing with so much now replaced with electronics.
Okay, I’m really going to date myself here but I remember when Bill and I bought our first cd player. It was another big component to add to the already massive stereo that people had back then. We put the cd in and listened to the clean sound but we had to come to terms with the fact that we had no idea how it worked – none, it might as well have been some sort of magic. It was disconcerting in a way to not understand how something works, especially for two mechanically minded people. We decided to just accept that we were never going to know and move on.
Winding bobbins on the mechanical bobbin winder, listening to the loom running, walking around it to see everything moving top to bottom I couldn’t help but think that this is the magic that people are missing out on. This is just plain fun to watch.