Skip to main content

Newcomb Loom Company Records

Identifier: 2015-03

Scope and Contents

This collection is made up of instructional materials pertaining to the looms produced by the company as well as some promotional items. Business documents include shipping receipts and two registries of ownership; one for Iowa customers and one for Indiana.

Listing of some of the materials: Instruction booklets for looms, letterhead and advertisements, binders of purchasers organized by city for Iowa & Indiana; 3 photographs taken in Pakistan of V-AID training.


  • Creation: 1900-1980
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1911 - 1911
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950s

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials are available for use in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center only.

Request permission before copying materials.

Personal digital cameras and scanners are allowed in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center on a case-by-case basis. The items that a researcher may want to scan or photograph must be examined and evaluated for physical condition, copyright issues, and donor restrictions by staff.

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Biographical / Historical

According to the "Journal of the Newcomb Looms Historical Society" and other resources, the Newcomb Loom Company was established in Davenport by Charles Newcomb in 1889. The looms themselves were manufactured in Tipton, Iowa (a small town about 40 miles northwest of Davenport); Davenport itself served as a distribution point. His original three models were the Little Daisy, the Number 3, and the Weaver's Friend. In 1899, he began production of the Weaver's Delight, which quickly became the company's most popular loom.

In 1900, Charles Newcomb resigned from the company to "enjoy the fruits of his labor" (he had patent rights on all four looms and was quite well-off by this time). William Stark appears to have purchased the company and acted as manager, while Charles Pasche became president of the corporation. In 1919, the company was bought by Frank Knierem.

The company published a newsletter, "The Weaver's Monthly," full of weaving tips, stories from weavers, and plenty of advertisements for weaving supplies and (of course) Newcomb Loom equipment: cutting boards, wide rug looms, and something called a Power Frayer. Newcomb offered many services to their customers, including a "second owner registry" for those who bought used looms; free assembly and instruction booklets were offered to registrants. The company would even send out a representative to help with loom assembly or provide advice on setting up a weaving business. These and other considerations led the company to peak profits in 1955.

Unfortunately, with the exception of a handcraft revival in the 1960s, the demand for large looms faded. In the early 1980s, high costs, low profits, and Frank Knierem's poor health led the family to close the company. Each customer received a note in thanks for their business. The loom pattern molds were sold off in 1983.


3 Box(es) (in 3 boxes, 1 folder of photographic prints.)

3 Box(es) (in 3 boxes. )

3 Photographic Prints (in 1 folder. )

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Range 33 Section 1 Range 44 Section 2 : Photo Box 1

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Physical Description

fair to good

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center Repository

321 Main Street
Davenport IA 52801-1490 United States

About the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center:

The Special Collections Department of the Davenport Public Library was established in 1982. In November of 1999, the newly renovated department opened to better serve its community and was renamed the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. The Center acquires, arranges, describes, preserves, and makes available local history and genealogical materials concentrating on those pertaining to Davenport, Scott County, and Eastern Iowa.

Books and other printed materials in the collection can be found using a Library Search. For additional digital resources, browse the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive. For more information about specific subjects relating to Scott County History, please browse the Research Guides.
Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center
Davenport Public Library
321 Main Street
Davenport IA 52801-1490
(563) 326-7902