Friday, May 14, 2010

Textiles at Mystic Seaport: Making Rope

Before our trip to Mystic, I wouldn't have expected to be so interested in rope-making.

But this group of rope-makers is doing something very similar to what weavers do when we twist the fringe on a scarf.

Rope-making was mechanized, so that handmade rope is a rarity today.


Inside the very long ropewalk, moved from the now defunct Plymouth Cordage Company, raw materials for rope are processed using hackles, similar to the hackles used to process flax when spinning linen yarn.


Rope was made from hemp or jute.


Individual strands are spun.


Then the spools are loaded onto a spool rack, fed through a round disk with holes, and plied into rope.

Unfortunately, none of my pictures of the very long rope walk where machines plied these cords into rope worked out.



Love this rope storage device!!!

Just want to clarify that this equipment is set up, but wasn't being operated while we visited. There were signs in the rope walk building that explained the process.

Related Posts:
Mystic Seaport
Susan's Tutorial on Fringe-Twisting

16 comments:

Delighted Hands said...

Fascinating! There was a modern day rope factory near where I lived in Ny but I never went to see how it was made. Looks like it might be dangerous for your lungs!

Sara said...

I was going to say isn't rope making a lot like what we weavers do.

Glad you are having a nice time...

Cindie Kitchin eweniquely ewe said...

What a great trip - thanks so much for sharing!

Lois Evensen said...

Your images of Mystic Seaport are just marvelous! :) The rope making process of the past is fascinating.

Very best,
Lois

Marsel said...

Fascinating!

Dave Daniels said...

Wow, just to see the rope making would be reason enough for me to visit! Those are fantastic photos.

Deanna MacCrone Johnson said...

Very interesting - the multiple spindles being driven by the wheel, and that most amazing rope storage device. Thanks for sharing your photos of an amazing place.

charlotte said...

Thaks for sharing those interesting picutres!

Valerie said...

Thanks for the great photo's. It always amazes me how "industrial" fiber techniques are.

We once toured the copper mines in Michigans Upper Peninsula and my son pointed out how the pulley systems they used to run the carts down in the mines were just like my spinning wheel flyer.

marion said...

Thank you for sharing those interesting picutres and wonderful story.

Leigh said...

Very interesting, Sue. When I used to demonstrate spinning, I would explain the spinning wheel by saying that it added twist to the fibers. I would point out that everything from thread to rope was simply twisted fibers. This really shows that very well.

DEEP END OF THE LOOM said...

Very cool, love the photos looks like a great trip.

Sharon said...

Thanks - I enjoyed "learning the ropes." :) What an intriguing storage method - I agree.

Valerie said...

My colors of May are up!

Julie said...

What a beautiful place, I enjoyed looking at all your pictures. How fun learning something new!

Jennifer said...

What a great experience to see the rope made by hand! There is so much that is made by machine - it wonderful someone can still do it by hand - thanks for sharing!

On me - I've taken a new job in Kingsport - a creative position that allows me to use my technical experience, but to find creative applications and connections. I'm excited about the possibility of seeing how far I can take this and all that I could learn. Thanks for the interest!