Monday, May 25, 2009

Making sense



This blog posting is all about deciphering the model and serial number on your Macomber Loom. Every loom made by Macombers since 1936 has a metal tag on the side of the castle. This plate pictured here is from my 56" 16H loom that I purchased new in 1976.

The serial number is a sequentially assigned number that goes from 1 - 10,000. These numbers are tied to a date of manufacture and assigned to the original owner. Once these numbers reach 10,00, they start the numbering system all over. The serial number on my loom is 2489. Rick says that he thinks that all total Macomber Looms has built roughly 30 - 40,000 looms since 1936 when the records began.

The model number is defined by the size of the loom. The models numbers define the weaving width of the loom. B5 Looms are 24" , 32", and 40". B4 Looms are 48", 56", 64" and 72".

The letter following the number defines the weaving width of your loom.

B5~
  • A=24"
  • B=32"
  • C=40"
B4~
  • D=48"
  • E=56"
  • K=64"
  • L=72"

The model number on my loom is B4E. It is a 56" weaving width loom. The model numbers and letter help the loom builders decide what size wood to use to build your loom. There is an exception to this system. A 40" loom that has the capacity for 12 or 16 harnesses is built with the B4 size wood. So these looms would be model numbers B4C.

You don't really need to understand all this. These numbers are mainly for the guys at Macombers to know what size materials to use to build parts for your loom. In my next blog posting, I'll decipher the portable looms serial and model numbers.

Here's another shot of a model and serial label from a 20 harness 56 loom (the one that recently sold thru the blog).

If I have totally confused you, my apologies...and...no worries! Keep weaving, be happy. These numbers and letters are only important if you want to order parts.

~ Sarah

35 comments:

  1. ?My loom is model number B4 - no letter afterwards. Serial number 6866. I called Macomber when I got it six years ago and they were able to tell me that it was sold in 1971 to Pensacola (Florida) Jr. College and was an 8 harness 48" loom. I bought it on ebay from a woman that bought it at the PJC auction when PJC was cutting back their weaving program. Mine has the capacity to add two more harnesses. Is the additional lettering system something that started after 197l? Thanks so much for your blog! I love my two Macombers.

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  2. Hi Patchwork Fibers!

    Thanks for your note. As far as I can tell there was some shift in the numbering/letters when Rick and his Dad took over the business in the early 1970s. So if your loom dates from about then, it makes sense that there is no letter after the B4.

    I think it is pretty amazing that these looms outlive many owners and keep on producing gorgeous woven fabrics, and that the parts have not changed since the 1930s. I'll be talking to Rick and Eddie tomorrow...so if I get more info, you can read it here!

    Sarah

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  3. HI Sarah,
    I, unfortunately, must sell my Macomber ad-a-harness loom. Are you able to give me a suggestion about this endeavor. Thanks, Diane

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  4. Hi Diane:

    I am happy to give you tips on selling your loom. One great place to list looms is E-Bay or Craig's list. Another place is with a local weaver's guild, if they have listings of looms for sale. Can you tell me a little bit about the loom?? Sarah

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  5. I am a very fortunate to receive such a loom since I am relatively a new weaver;I have just been given a new to me L.w. Macomber loom from my friend. After reading above it is model# B4(no letter system) serial #807 - from what I can tell it is a 10 Harness loom and has a flying shuttle is there anyway to get a owners manual for this and find out what the history would be on it? any help would be great! Thanks, Tonja

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  6. Hi Tonya:

    You can call the shop and get the age of your loom. 207-363-2808 You will need to give them the serial and model number. Unfortunately there is no manual, my blog serves as the next best thing. Enjoy that loom! Sarah

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  7. I just inherited my Grandmother's Macomber ... and I can't make heads or tails of it! I, too, have a B4 (no letter following) serial #6316. Forgive me, but how do I tell how many harnesses I have and how do I start weaving?! Thanks! Lisa

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  8. Hi Lisa:

    Looms built prior to 1975 do not have the letter at the end of the model number. So your loom is pre-1975. To find out the number of harnesses....count the black frames in the middle of the loom. Those are the harnesses. Your best guide to learn to weave is to find a live teacher, like from a local weaving guild, shop or arts center. Where are you? Perhaps one of our blog readers can help. Learning from books or on your own is a slow method, and less fun! There are many tricks a teacher can share with you. There are also many places to go and take a week long workshop. Good Luck!

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  9. Can you help me find a manual for a B4? Also how can I obtain replacement parts for a B4? My in-laws who own an alpaca farm were recently given one in almost working condition. I am the son of a weaver and so did what I could to set it up. It needs a new gear on the take-up beam (I am probably using incorrect or ancient verbiage) and they have little knowledge of weaving.

    Thank you.

    David Rubin
    1266 Ruffner Rd.
    Niskayuna, NY 12309 dsr01@hotmail.com

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  10. Hi Sarah,
    I'm so grateful for all the information you've made available on your blog. If I understand correctly,I now know that my loom was made before 1975 as it is a B5 without a number following it. And I now know what that little dowel on a string is for! I do have a question for you: I have a project in progress on my loom and when I look at it from the side, the warp threads dip down in the middle where they go through the heddles. I'm completely new to weaving and I don't know if this is okay. What can I do to remedy this? Is it a common problem? Also (okay, 2 questions!) can I purchase more harnesses for this loom? it has 4 with room for 6 more. Thank you so much for any guidance you can offer. Erin jimanderin@hotmail.com

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  11. My used is a B5C, yet the reed measures 42". Long story, but I'm finally getting it set up and going. Your site has been most helpful finding photos of the loom and looking to see what certain things on mine are intended to be used for.

    Lori

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  12. Today I visited an Amish home that has a loom that they are making rugs with. their loom is a ad/a/harness b4 b they have a 4 foot screen and would love a 5 foot. They also have a number of wooden pedals attached to the loom. They have never used them and would love to find out how. When they purchased the loom there was no instruction book included. Any info would be appreciated.

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    1. Hi there~ You can purchase the manual (see right side bar) which will help with the loom maintenance and how to use it. I think a basic weaving book might be a good addition, I like Deb Chandler's "Learn to Weave". I'm not sure what you mean by 4 ft screen...do you mean harness? Happy to answer more questions, Sarah

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  13. i have a b4 i want to sell email alan122726@yahoo.com

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  14. Hello All!! I am so excited. I have just brought home my Aunt's Macomber 40 4 harness B5 6212. She has past away last year and my cousins said to ask my Uncle for it I was so willing to pay top dollar for it but he said he was so happy to give it to someone who would use it and to a family member. I took it home and I am in the process of cleaning it up little rust and dust but well worth cleaning up. I have to receipt of 1970 they paid $272.75 for it. Looks like 10 times that today!!. It's beautiful! I would never believe I would ever have a loom today! I am so lucky!! Now to get started on it. I want to do place mats table runners and rugs. She did beautiful afghans and had 1200 warps on it. My Uncle kept telling me seeing he strung it all for her. I don't need that many warps. But where do you find how to put the warp on??? I am so new to this why can't it be simple to bring up on the internet putting on warp? Or did I miss it?? Any help I would love. thanks!!!

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    1. Brenda ~ Wow....I know your aunt is smiling on you. Lucky you! I am not sure where you live but one of the best ways to learn is with the help of an experienced weaver (in person). Try a local Weaver's Guild, Craft Guild, or if you are lucky perhaps a weaving store or education place that has lessons. If that is not possible try Deb Chandler's book "Learning to Weave". One of the things I love about weaving is that it is forgiving. In other words if you make mistakes...no big deal. You can contact me privately (see email address on side bar) for additional help or ideas on how to get started. Welcome to our world!!

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  15. Hello: I'm trying to find a current value for a Macomber Loom, model B4, 48", 16 harness, in very good/good condition. My mother-in-law is moving and looking to sell it. I have a call into Macomber, but have not yet heard back. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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  16. Hi - your mother in laws loom is worth about $5000 new. I'd ask about $3000 and be willing to bargain. Good luck!

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  17. I have a Macomber loom. it is an ad a harness model # B4L ser# 4426 there are 4 Harnesses. What would it be worth Just wondering

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    1. Hi Carole: so it's a 72" 4H - unfortunately the really wide looms are harder to sell. New it is worth $3,993.00. I usually suggest that folks start at 50 - 75% of the current value. This depends on condition and if you have extra reeds, bench, yarns, books etc. Be willing to bargain though if you really want to sell it.

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  18. I have an ad-a-harness. B4 serial 6522 L.W. Macomber loom I would like to sell. If you measure by the harness width I believe it is a 48". It has been used only a few times and has been in climate controlled storage ever since. It is in excellent condition. It has 4 harnesses on it. Could you give me an idea how much it is worth and where to advertise it? Also I have many boxes of yarn lots of weights and colors. Could you give me an idea how much I could ask for yarn? And I have about 30 books from the early 70s on weaving. Any idea of their worth. Thank you

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  19. Elaine - Your loom is worth about $30000 today new. I suggest you start with asking $2000. I suggest that you sell the whole thing as one lot - much easier! I'd advertise on EBay, Craigs List and look for local weaving schools/classes, colleges and weavers guilds that might have listings. Good luck!

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  20. I live in Chattanooga TN and am now in the market for a used loom. I would like to find a 48" Macomber with capacity for 12 shafts and hopefully a two back beams. I would need to purchase a used loom for economic reasons. Do you have any contacts that I might reach out to for a loom that you would be willing to share with me.
    pdiviney51040d@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Pat ~ I suggest that you explore local weaving guilds for used looms. Also EBay and Craig's list. Some folks find them at yard sales, flea markets and thrift shops! Good luck!

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  21. I have an Ad A Harness B5 477. No letter behind the B5. I suspicion she's an old loom... Even her label seems older - not a flat piece of metal but a cast aluminum piece. Can you tell me anything about her? I just bought her. She needs some cleaning and polishing. Thank you!

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  22. Your loom was built 10/16/1950. That's about all the record books reveal. Give her a good cleaning and tuning up. Let me know if you need parts. Happy weaving!

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    1. THANK YOU!!!!! Awesome information. I may need some pieces of parts. I know her crank is missing but I think I can find something that will work. She's rusty and dusty and has mouse nests in her beam... but I'm interested in working with her. She has 12 treadles but only 4 harnesses. I think 4 will do me fine forever, but you never know. My intent is to start with rag rugs as I have quite a lot of older material that I like but will never make into clothing. I got plenty of warping 'thread' too. We get an extended holiday time this year from Christmas to New Year's so I hope to see what I can do with cleaning her... Thank you VERY much for the information!!! I know I'll be talking to you again! I'm a 1956 model, so she pre-dates me. :o)

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    2. Thank you VERY VERY MUCH! She is rusty, a bit scruffy and has some mouse nests in her beam, but I'm very interested in working with her. She pre-dates me by six years so I hope she's a good teacher. I have an extended holiday coming up between Christmas and New Year's so hope to work with her then. I'm sure I'll be contacting you again! Thank you so much!

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  23. Hi, I have a B5, serial no 6559. I bought it at a studio sale and am in the process of cleaning and derusting some of the parts. Just finished the harnesses and am working on the lamms. I don't know if there are parts missing. I have chains coming from the upper levers (above the castle), but don't see how the lamms hook to the bottom of the harness. There's a long metal arm that lays across the top of the lamms that I am not sure what it is. Is there anywhere to go to see what the loom looks like set up? I'm going to try to go to Macomber soon and look at them, but I'd love to get this working so I know what I might need in the way of parts. Such a great piece of gear!

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  24. Hi Sarah, Hope to hear back from you but I have figured out how it all hooks up, have derusted and oiled the lams and I think I'm set. I still don't know what the black hooks are that come out from the front legs next to the beater base. Figured out the metal arm across the lams, though, so happy about that! I need to order heddles. Are you still here?

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  25. Apologies for the delay - holidays! The black arm on the bottom of the beater is the foot rest support. Search on the blog and you will see this part. I'll post a link in a bit and write more shortly - on my way out the door just now!

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  26. Two links that have photos of the foot rest.

    http://macomberloomsandme.blogspot.com/2012/06/hoist-scrape-dust-mend-then-breathe-and.html

    http://macomberloomsandme.blogspot.com/2013/06/name-that-part.htm

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  27. I recently purchased a B5C 719 with 4 harnesses from the original owner. It was in near mint condition having been only used a couple of times. I was wondering if you could give me the age.

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