A Rigid-Heddle History
A predecessor of today's rigid-heddle looms was the box loom or tape loom, dating to ancient times and used for weaving narrow bands for straps and decorations on clothing. (The term tape loom can also refer to weaving with just a rigid heddle.)
In Norway, the cradle loom, has long been used to weave bands to decorate regional costumes. The looms are often beautifully decorated with carving or painted with traditional rosemaling. Box and tape looms were also commonly used in America through the 19th century. You can make your own inexpensive box loom for weaving or beading out of a sturdy cardboard box.