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Durham Historical Society

Barn Loom, Durham, ca. 1860

Contributed by Durham Historical Society
MMN Item 15635 Item Details
Barn Loom, Durham, ca. 1860
MMN Item 15635 Zoom


Built in Durham in the mid-19th century, this loom eventually became the property of residents Ernest and Esther Weed when they moved to Boston in the 1960s to become the directors of the Beacon Hill Friends House, a Quaker Meeting House. Esther wove on it from the couple's third floor apartment in the city. (The loom can be taken apart for transport.)

When the Weeds later returned to Maine, settling in Stonington, they brought the loom back with them. They donated the loom to the Durham Historical Society in 1988. The Society had the loom partially restored in 1989 and invited a local weaver to test the machine. The weaver produced a placemat-sized sample in red, white, and blue, the thread for which remains on the loom to this day.

The Weeds were important figures in the history of the Beacon Hill Friends House and have an annual lecture series named after them. The Weed Memorial Lecture "honors the memories of Ernest and Esther Weed, long time co-directors of the House during its formative years."

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