Tape Loom

Visitors to the Hyland House see a standing tape loom in our lean-to attic. This is probably the first time they are introduced to such a small but mighty tool used in the household.  Whatever style – paddle or knee loom, a box loom or standing tape loom – they are portable and could be used by all members of the family.  Children learned to weave early; it was often their first skill.

     At a time before zippers, snaps, elastic, velcro or even safety pins, narrow woven tape was indispensable.  This loom could be set up to weave a variety of widths and allowed for creativity in colors and designs. 

     The list of uses would include suspenders for men and apron and pocket ties for women, garters to hold up stocking, all kinds of satchel strapping, ties for grain and feed bags, loop hangers for tools, powder horn straps and cooking utensils, and on and on. Families, farmers, craftsmen, all used a variety of tapes for their daily work  and comfort.  Think of all the ways you would need to hold something together without our modern closures. 

     The manual tape loom was such an ordinary and essential part of everyday life, a common piece of furniture, that few survive today.  

This particular tape loom in the Hyland House collection is from the early 19th century and given to the house by Miss Fanny Dudley.

The tape loom in the Hyland House collection has 20 holes and 19 slits. The tape that is still on the loom consists of brown [b], yellow [y] and white [w] warp strings and the pattern that is:

19 Holes: bbbbb yyyy bbbbb www bb

19 Slits: bb www bbbbb yyyy bbbbb

To make a knee paddle loom, please see our instructions here. A fun way to use handwoven ties these days would be to tie your face mask with them.