Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

Bergman Treasures And A Reprieve

For all you Bergman lovers out there, this one’s for you.

I’ve been looking for a portable table loom.  Today, I happened on an ad placed by a woman who is selling… drumroll please… a Bergman table loom and floor stand with treddles.  I had to go and see it, if only to find out if this was the mythical Bergman suitcase loom.

Moments after I see the table loom, I turn around and see… drumroll please… yet another Bergman loom.  A 36″ floor loom!  I almost pass out from shock.

Both the floor and table looms were purchased new from Margaret Bergman’s son more than thirty years ago, when they still had a store in Poulsbo, Washington.

I didn’t get a picture of the table loom before it was taken off the floor stand.  My brain was completely addled with all the excitement, so even though I had my tape measure out and actually took a measurement of the width, I’ve completely no recall of the reading.  If I had to pretend to remember, I would say it had a 25″ weaving width.

Following are closeups of the springs connected to the harnesses:

Here is a closeup of the levers centred atop the castle:

This is the floor stand with treddles:

The floor stand is interesting; it’s not a Bergman stand, but a universal floor stand.  The treddles were not tied up, but I was told to use texsolv with a lark’s head knot through the metal loop on the treddles, then run up and over the roller directly above (seen on the horizontal crossbar near where the hand is pictured), then under and up from the rollers to the left side, and finally to the metal loop on each of the levers (previous picture).

Here is the floor stand folded up:

The floor loom is in beautiful condition!  I was so excited, I only vaguely remember the lovely woven items around the room, and am kicking myself for not taking more pictures of them (especially of an incredible doublewoven wall hanging produced on the floor loom).  I was too busy hyperventilating, and already felt rude clicking away so much.

Even the bench is original.  The weaving on the loom uses some yarn she dyed by herself.  She said she used dyes which are no longer available due to toxicity, so she doesn’t have plans for any more dyeing in the future.  When she warps her loom, she puts on twenty-five yards at a time.  I took a look at her warping reel (sorry, no pictures) — and saw a smaller version of my own!  It’s good to know my warping reel (Bad Boy, Humungo-Warper 2000) is an original Bergman.

In the end, I decided not to purchase the table loom.  Mostly because the castle is nailed into the loom frame, and does not collapse or even come apart for portability.  So, I don’t think this is the suitcase loom, as it definitely wouldn’t fit in a suitcase smaller than a steamer trunk, if that.  But I hated leaving behind the treddled floor stand.

Which brings me to the reprieve part.  Thank You, Trapunto, for prodding me with the virtual pitchfork.  You were right, as well as being a voice of sense.  I haven’t actually woven on the Dutch Master Box Loom, yet (another story there), but lifting up the harnesses by hand does seem like it might be extra work.  So I took a closer look at the table loom I brought home (see earlier post “Hi And Goodbye”).  I searched online, but it doesn’t look like either a Kessenich or a Mountain Loom.  There are no markings to indicate the manufacturer.  Here is a closeup of some of the knob and the levers (side-, not castle-top-mounted):

On even closer examination, I discovered that it can collapse with the weaving in place:

I don’t know why, but I find this charming.  (Still no name though.)  So I’m giving this loom a probationary stay of execution eviction.  DH commented: “Of course you’re getting another loom; last time was Father’s Day, this time it’s my birthday!”

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9 August 2008 - Posted by | Weaving | , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. Oh, awesome, awesome, AWESOME! I am hyperventilating just reading about it. And thinking, “When der Mann gets back from his bike ride, could we get in the car and, wait, no we need gas. Wait no, I haven’t even threaded my most recent loom purchase. And do I really need a four shaft sample loom? But I want it! Waaa!”

    You know, looking at the springs, I wonder if Arthur Bergman thought of it before the Louet designers thought of it for the David loom. (Though it’s such a good idea, you’d think it would have come about even earlier.) What they’re doing is pulling down the unraised shafts right? In essence, creating countermarch sheds on a jack loom. Or maybe just stabilizing the shafts? Anyway it’s just so cool, I’d probably buy it if I lived closer. I don’t know of any other maker who has done those kinds of things with a table loom. And those wee sweet treadles on the stand!

    The one you bought looks like the practical one for portability, and also really well built. I love the handles on the ratchet wheels, and the little decoration on the castle. The way it collapses with a warp is a boon. In fact, it’s pretty much a “suitcase loom”–if you buy it one of those big wheelie ones.

    I recently found out that you can go eat a meal at what used to be the Bergman homestead, in the building that was formerly Arthur’s and his wife’s store: The Yarn Barn. Another thing I would do if I lived up there:

    http://www.mollywardgardens.com/

    Comment by trapunto | 9 August 2008 | Reply

  2. […] harnesses on my portable (and yet unused) loom (”Hi And Goodbye” or “Bergman Treasures And A Reprieve“) are wooden, but if I can change them to metal, I hope I can retro-fit the heddles removed […]

    Pingback by Summertime And The Weavin’ Is Easy « Spinninglizzy’s Weblog | 9 December 2008 | Reply

  3. I have a mythical Bergman Suitcase loom patented in 1933!

    A lovely thing on which I have woven many overshot bureau scarves and table runners.

    I acquired it in the 1970s former its fiurst owner.

    Warner Lord

    Comment by Warner Lord | 22 February 2009 | Reply

    • Oh, My!!! I’m all ears! Please send pictures, and relate all the amazing details!

      Comment by SpinningLizzy | 22 February 2009 | Reply

  4. This morning i visited th mythical loom and copied the information that had been hand stamped onto the frame:

    Bergman Loom
    Poulsboro WN
    Pat. April 18, 1933
    NO. 1904715
    LOOM NO. 117B

    Checked the patent at the US Patent Office and found only a drawing.

    I will photograph the loom this morning and sent along some pictures.

    Warner

    ps how do I upload images?

    Comment by Warner Lord | 23 February 2009 | Reply

  5. I have a bergman table loom, and was on the internet researching it. It’s identical to the table loom in your post. I could tell by looking at it that it’s hand made, not factory made. I bought it in Seattle about 15 years ago from a man who was clearing out his late mother’s stuff. Now I know that it’s worth keeping and using, (it weaves really nicely). Now I know more about the loom and it’s origins. Yay!!
    Thanks.

    Comment by Joan Murray | 29 July 2009 | Reply

    • How nice to meet another bergman owner! And, wonderful to know that you’re keeping your loom in use. Thanks for letting us know.

      Comment by SpinningLizzy | 29 July 2009 | Reply

  6. I have had many a transfixed peaceful hour sitting at my Bergman 36″ floor loom. Although it folds up nicely, I’m wanting to have more space to sleep visitors.The visitors haven’t complained about floor mats, but we are all aging.I bought this loom about 30 yrs ago in Berkeley Ca. and think I’m ready to let go of it. If I found a youngster locally interested in this art , it would be a different tale. How much do you think it would sell and ship for? I live in Northern California on hwy 101. I would appreciate your input. Thank you Toni

    Comment by toni ross | 2 October 2009 | Reply

  7. Hi Toni! (And Spinning Lizzy!) I’m looking at used looms in Northern California (Santa Rosa) — I’m moving from Brooklyn and haven’t brought my Harrisville. I don’t know what the right price is for the Bergman, but since it’s only a few days since you posted, I wanted to let you know that I’d be interested!

    Thanks for the great weaving blog, and all the wonderful photos.

    Comment by Rose White | 11 October 2009 | Reply


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