How Do You Tell a Bergman Loom Bench?

August 27, 2009

Elsewhere on my site, Susan Berlin asked the question, “How can you tell a bench that was made by Mr. Bergman?” I thought the answer deserved a post of its own.

First of all, there were at least two Mr. Bergmans making looms, Margaret Bergman’s husband John and her son Arthur, who eventually took over the family business. Other family members may have worked in their shop at other times, and the Bergmans may have had employees, so I can’t tell you anything about whether a bench was actually made by a Mr Bergman himself, or made in his workshop by someone else. If you know something about the Bergman workshop drop me a line; I would love to hear about it.

I realize this amount of detail sounds ponderous. As if I were discussing real Hepplewhite chairs or something. When in fact The Bench is just a very nice, sturdy little wooden bench with a hinged lid. Mine is from 1936. I know the Bergman looms started to be made out of different woods and had some alterations in design over the next 40 years they were made, so it could be that the later benches were different too. I suspect the basic proportions stayed the same, because the basic proportions of the looms stayed the same. The main feature of my own Bergman Loom bench is that it was made to straddle the 3″x3″ bar to which the treadles hinged at the front of the loom, and that it will also fit completely inside the loom when you’re not weaving (between the two wooden storage boxes for shuttles on the insides of the front “wings”).

So, I can’t tell you how to tell a bench made by Mr. Bergman in general, but I can tell you about mine. It is made of straight-grained fir, with an old looking brown-honey colored varnish, and the measurements in inches are as follows:

22 5/8 tall
35 wide x 11 1/4 deep seat
32 wide x 11 1/4 footprint


The mousehole cutouts in the side panels that form the legs:
5 1/2 wide x 9 5/8 tall

The compartment inside the bench:
30 3/8 x 9 1/4 x 3 1/2 deep



I’m showing the underside so you can see how it’s put together. Prism-shaped pieces of wood reinforce the construction at either end of the bench, as you can see next to the cat’s head.


6 Responses to “How Do You Tell a Bergman Loom Bench?”

  1. Dot Says:

    A handsome bench and a handsome cat!

    I like the lift up lid and storage space. It reminds me of traditional piano stools.

    BTW, none of my cats have ever chosen to sleep at floor level, except in winter when they will find the places in upstairs floors with heating pipes underneath! They feel safer off the ground and somewhere they can raise their head and see what’s going on. Howl looks like a very fine and happy cat, hope he’s settling in well, however, I’m sure that you buying a special chair for him indicates he couldn’t have a better home!

  2. Oh, I thought the cutout on the bench ends looked odd — I had completely missed the fact that they straddled that treadle bar. That’s useful information, Thanks!

    The string on the inside of the bench connecting the cover to the bench is also wonderful info — wish I had thought of it sooner.

  3. deborahbee Says:

    First lovely to hear from you and a return to Bergmans!!
    I love finding out about the loom and now its bench. My Bergman doesn’t have one. I have comandeered(is that how you spell it?) my husbands Hammond organ stool.He used to take it on gigs years ago but no longer, it is stored in my weaving room and takes up far too much space. Its the right height and has storage but is too wide to fit inside the loom.

    • trapunto Says:

      I think I’ve said it before, but you and your family have fascinating lives! I like the picture of you weaving on a repurposed Hammond organ bench as much as the thought of your husband touring with one: a sort of psychadelic music video, flashing back and forth from the moving shuttle to the hands on the keyboard. How’s the hip doing?

  4. Suzan Says:

    Hi Trapunto! Lovely bench. Has there been any time to actually weave? I’ve still got some towels on my loom that I haven’t finished threading. I could go up there today. Hmmmm.

  5. Sharon Says:

    My Bergman bench was jerry-rigged with rockers! An interesting idea but doesn’t do much to maintain its structural integrity. I will probably remove them.

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