James Henry Northrop

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James Henry Northrop
James H Northrop.jpg
Born (1856-05-08)May 8, 1856
Keighley, West Yorkshire
Died December 12, 1940(1940-12-12) (aged 84)
Santa Ana, California
Occupation inventor

James Henry Northrop, (8 May 1856 – 12 December 1940) was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, where he worked in the textile industry. He emigrated to Boston, MA, in the USA in 1881. By 1898, working in Hopedale, Massachusetts for George Draper and Sons he had filed several hundred patents some of which were used in the Northrop Loom. He retired at 42. He died in Santa Ana, California on 12 December 1940, at 84.

Working life[edit]

A Draper loom showing a Northrop filling-changing battery (the cylinder of pirns) in Bamberg, South Carolina

He started his working life in England, where he was a mechanic and factory foreman before emigrating to Massachusetts in 1881.

He moved to Hopedale, Massachusetts to work for George Draper and Sons. Here he invented the Northrop spooler guide. He unsuccessfully tried to be a chicken farmer. And it was there he worked on his shuttle-charger for Mr Otis Draper,who saw a model of the device on March 5, 1889. Draper was also developing the Rhoades shuttle-charger. Northrop was given a loom to test his idea. By May 20 he had concluded that his first idea was not practical, and had thought of another idea, On July 5, the completed loom was running, and as it seemed to have more advantages than the Rhoades loom. The Northrop device was given a mill trial in October 1889 at the Seaconnett Mills in Fall River. More looms were constructed.

Meanwhile he invented a self-threading shuttle and shuttle spring jaws to hold a bobbin by means of rings on the butt. This paved the way to his filling-changing battery of 1891, the basic feature of the Northrop Loom.

The development of a workable warp stop motion by other members of the Draper organization and marketing of the first Northrop looms in 1894 the textile industry achieved new levels of production. By 1900, Draper had sold over 60,000 Northrop looms, They were shipping 1500 a month, were employing 2500 men and enlarging their works to increase that output. [1]

Personal life[edit]

He married to Emily Driver of Keighley, Yorkshire and had 5 daughters. The Northrop loom sold well, so he was able to retire at the age of 42. He bought a fruit farm in Santa Ana, California where he grew dates and spent his time fishing. [1]


  1. ^ a b "Cotton Chats". 1940. Archived from the original on 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 

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