ASME to Honor a Unique Collection of Machines at the American Textile History Museum

Mar 27, 2012

by Michael MacRae

NEW YORK, March 27, 2012 – A collection of early textile machines housed in the American Textile History Museum, including a woolen card dating to circa 1825, will be recognized by ASME for its historic significance to 19th century engineering and technology. 

ASME will designate the machines a Historic Mechanical Engineering Collection at a ceremony to be held on April 11, 2012, at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Mass.  Members of the ASME Committee on History and Heritage will gather with representatives of the museum in a celebration of engineering achievement and in recognition of local history.

Depicting a bygone era in American industrialization, when workers toiled in mills stretching from Maine to the nation’s heartland, the treasured collection at the American Textile History Museum encompasses spinning jacks, cotton ginning machines, printers, and other artifacts.  The museum’s 11-harness woolen loom manufactured by M.A. Furbush & Son of Philadelphia is one of the oldest powered looms in existence in the United States.

In all, the museum owns more than 300 examples of textile machinery and tools, which tell the story of King Cotton and provide a significant historical interpretation of an industry that exerted great impact on mechanical engineering and American society in general.

“These textile machines and tools represent some of the most significant devices used during the 19th century,” says ASME in the bronze plaque that will be presented to the American Textile History Museum at the April 11 ceremony.  “They illustrate the transitions from human to mechanical power and from wood to metal construction that improved product quality, variety, and volume, while reducing costs.”

Landmarks, sites and collections of historic importance to mechanical engineering are designated by ASME through its History and Heritage Landmarks Program. Landmark status indicates that the artifact, site or collection represents a significantstep forward in the evolution of mechanical engineering and is the best known example of its kind.

Two hundred and fifty landmarks have been designated by ASME since the program began in 1971.

About ASME ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information visit