From story
Domestic Woollen Industry and Weaving in the Colne Valley
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Flying Shuttle Mechanism

This wooden handle is the handle for ‘flying shuttle’ mechanism, as pulling on it sharply sent the shuttle ‘flying’ across the cloth. It was an important development as it allowed for the creation of wider strips of cloth, and speeded up the weaving process. Before the invention of the flying shuttle, the width of the cloth being woven was determined by the reach of the clothier, as they had to be able to pass the shuttle from hand to hand across the warp. With the introduction of the flying shuttle, there was more demand for spinners, needing approximately 8 spinsters to supply enough yarn for one clothier.

 

Image: Colne Valley Museum