OUR TOWN SEAL by Carol Masiello
Commonwealth's Acts of 1898, every municipality was required to design and use a
town seal. Uxbridge's seal harkens back to a time in Uxbridge's history, when
our abundant water power was the driving force for the town's major industry,
textile manufacturing. The mighty Blackstone River, dubbed the hardest working
river in America, is given the distinction as being the birthplace of the
Industrial Revolution. The three major rivers in town: West, Mumford and
Blackstone all powered looms and ensured Uxbridge's central role in this
The evolution of textile manufacturing in Uxbridge began in 1778 when Richard Mowry built hand looms for the growing cottage industry of weaving. In 1810 Benjamin Clapp built the first cotton mill in town and in 1811, Daniel Day built the first woolen mill. At this time the simple billy and jenny were used in textile manufacturing. In 1814, John and George Carpenter built a shop on the pond later called Shuttle Shop Pond and manufactured billies and jennies there. Textile manufacturing in town took the giant leap in 1820 when John Capron built the first satinet powered loom mill. As the decades went by, mills popped up on every river and brook in town and lent their names to the villages that grew up around them. With the mills' prosperity, new ethnic groups were introduced and enriched the town's culture. Uxbridge mills produced some of the finest cloth in this country and accomplished some "firsts" along the way. The first wash and wear fabric was woven here and "Uxbridge Blue" is the name given to the cloth designed for the very first Air Force uniform.
Some might consider the town's seal to be obsolete due to the fact that the mills are all closed and the looms spin no more. However, the loom's place on our town seal is a proud statement of the work ethic and ethnic diversity that help to make the heritage of the community so rich.
Here are some terms to help you better understand the loom and our heritage.
Warp - is the lengthwise thread of the cloth.
Woof/Weft - is the crosswise thread, (selvage to selvage) of the cloth.
Shuttle - throws the weft thread across the loom.
Loom - is the machine that spins the thread into cloth.
Jenny - is a spinning frame with several spindles, often used to make cotton filling.
Spindle - what the twisted thread is wound on.
Roving Machine - forms twisted wool thread into rove.
Rove - twisted wool before spun into yarn.
Billy - is part of a roving machine, often made cotton filling.
Cotton filling - weft spun with linen warp to make early cotton cloth. Later, cotton thread was used for both warp and weft.
Satinet - the warp is cotton thread and the weft is cotton filling.