Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ahrens & Violette No. 00129

Ahrens & Violette loom, No. 00129

I hit the weaver's lottery!

I've owned four floor looms to date and have experience weaving with jack, counterbalance, and countermarch mechanisms--but I have none--zero, nill, nada, zilch--experience with a dobby loom. Of course, I know of them. I know people who own them. One has just never come across  my path. Until now.

Last month at a guild meeting, an AVL dobby loom was posted as a giveaway. It was free because it was missing key components--namely, the dobby bars. The loom belonged to Sara Henderson, a long-time member and librarian of the Jockey Hollow Weavers. Her family was prepared to put it on the curb and, in the meantime, was offering it free to anyone who would haul it away. 
Ahrens & Violette loom identification

I said yes. Then I went home wondered what I'd gotten myself into. And then I contacted AVL Looms. Bob Kruger responded immediately. Yes, the dobby bars could be purchased and the company sells parts to older looms. I felt a little better about the acquisition. But still, this loom was sight-unseen. I knew about the dobby bars, but what else was missing--or wrong? Still, I was excited at the prospect. 

Before we headed out to pick up the loom, we studied the manual, which is available online from AVL, and I asked members of AVL groups on Weavolution and Ravelry for advice. Following their suggestions, we assembled tools and prepared for a complicated disassembly. 

All round bests for my new-to-me loom

1. Condition. Overall, the Ahrens & Violette loom is in excellent shape. The well-made loom pre-dates the company's name change from Ahrens & Violette Looms Inc. to AVL Looms so is commonly known as a pre-AVL loom. 

AVL Loom's Bob Kruger estimates the loom was made between 1980 and 1982. The number, which is on the brass plate on the castle, identifies it as number 00129. 

2. Provenance. As suggested, the loom came from a school. Specifically, F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. The inventory label from the New York Board of Education is still attached to the castle. There is also a stamped number on the dobby base: 86400H, but I have no idea what that means. 

3. Transport. The Weavolution and Ravelry AVL communities were awesome and provided excellent suggestions for tools and how-to disassemble. Another best: We didn't have to! It fit (just) in the back of our Ford Ranger pickup with cabover.

4. Bench. One wasn't in the original photo so I expected to need one. I don't. The bench was in the bathroom. And it's a beauty!

5. Shuttle. In a box of leftover weaving tools that we left  with was a shuttle--and not just any shuttle. It is the original end-feed tensioned hand shuttle. It still has the Ahrens & Violette label and its inventory number, stamped on the bottom, is the same as that stamped on the loom, '20.'

Dobby bars, extra pegs and pirns

And the best of the best?

In the last 'look' for weaving bits before the estate clearance people came, Maurice found the dobby bars! They were in an Easter basket, along with an extra bag of pegs and two pirns for the shuttle. Up on a shelf, they'd been hiding in plain sight.

The challenging part now is figuring out the mechanism and returning the loom to working order. So far, each day brings at least one new 'Ah-ha' moment. And the clever man who discovered the dobby bars just keeps figuring out things. 

There is definitely more to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment