Erastus Brigham Bigelow
Born April 2 1814 – Died December 6 1879
Weaving Coach-Lace and Other Similar Fabrics
Patent No. 169
Over the course of several decades, Erastus Bigelow invented a series of
faster, more capable power looms that made rugs and
carpets more affordable. Once accessible only to the wealthy, Bigelow’s
inventions enabled many more consumers to enjoy the
comfort of heavy textiles in their homes.
His first invention, an 1837 power loom used to make coach lace,
contained the essential elements of his later designs. His looms were
immediately successful, and he formed the Clinton Corporation in
1838 to build and operate the machines. Within one year of the
introduction of Bigelow’s loom, production of carpets in the
United States had doubled. Recognized during his lifetime as the
inventor of all the basic machinery for carpet and tapestry
weaving, Bigelow continually improved his designs, and eventually
received 35 patents.
Bigelow also contributed to the advancement of scientific education. He
was a member of the1861 committee that was
instrumental in the founding of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. In addition, he published writings on economic
principles and was nominated, but not elected, for Senator to the United
Bigelow was born near Worcester, Massachusetts.