An Unusual Loom
While many weavers may know of the unusual Nadeau Hand-Skil loom, but what about its history? Inevitably when a weaver—or most anyone for that matter—sees one for the first time they want to know not just how it works but why it came into being.
The loom was invented around 1950 by Elphege Nadeau in his attempt to revitalize handweaving. He wanted to create a loom that not only wove faster, but could weave any material into any fabric. His solution to all of this was the Hand-Skil loom, a loom that was operated completely by hand by turning a wheel with pins in it to move the shafts.
While the author of this 1953 newspaper article may have thougth the loom would replace "the cumbersome, space-filling old wooden looms," he was quite mistaken. The loom did land Nadeau in the pages of Popular Mechanics, The Saturday Evening Post, and newspapers around the coutnry, but it has since suffered the same fate as polyester leisure suits and the “Macarena” and mostly disappeared.
These looms do re-appear, once every so often, at festivals, antique shops, and various weaving forums, but they are now touted as near-forgotten oddities rather than the savior of handweaving.