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.