Whilst on my recent travels to Australia I visited the National Wool Museum in Geelong, Melbourne, Australia which gives a good history of wool production and the wool trade in Australia. The museum is housed in the original Dennys Lascelles wool store which was built in 1872. The centre piece of the museum is a 100 year old operational carpet loom which uses the Jaquard punch-card system.
The museum also houses a number of other machines, including a 1960’s Komet Sock Knitting Machine, which is in good working order. It can produce one sock every seven minutes and finished socks are sold in the Museum shop.
After Australia I travelled to India where, in Cochin, I came across a loom which was used to make saris. I was told it takes one and a half hours to make 5 metres of fabric, which is the length of a sari.
Also, whilst in India I visited a house in Mumbai where Mahatma Gandhi once lived. In his bedroom there are a few small spinning wheels.
Gandhi brought the charkha spinning wheel into larger use with his teachings. He hoped the charkha would assist the people of India achieve self-sufficiency and independence, and so used the charkha as a symbol of the Indian independence movement and included it on earlier versions of the Flag of India.