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Fascinating facts about the invention of the
Jacquard Loom by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in
1801.
JACQUARD LOOM
AT A GLANCE:
In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard, a silk-weaver, invented an improved textile loom. The Jacquard loom was the first machine to use punched card. These punched cards controlled the weaving, enabling an ordinary workman to produce the most beautiful patterns in a style previously accomplished only with patience, skill, and hard work.
 
Invention: Jacquard Loom in 1801
Function: noun /  a weaving loom named after its inventor
Definition: Jacquard's loom mechanism is controlled by recorded patterns of holes in a string of cards, and allows, what is now known as, the Jacquard weaving of intricate patterns.
Patent: The French government claimed the loom to be public property.
Inventor: Joseph Marie Jacquard
Criteria: First to invent. First practical. Entrepreneur.
Birth: July 7, 1752 in Lyon, France
Death: August 7, 1834 in Oullins, France
Nationality: French
Milestones:
CAPS: Jaquard, Joseph Marie Jacquard,  ARY,  loom, Jacquard, loom, weaving, computer, SIP, history, biography, inventor, invention, story, facts.
Joseph-Marie Jacquard, born in Lyons, France in 1752, was born into a family of weavers.  The weaving profession was a long and tedious process, often taking long periods of time to produce the fine woven fabrics of that era.  When his parents passed away, Joseph inherited the family weaving business.
The amount of time that was put into such a profession almost eliminated the profit of the fabric, so Joseph saw it fit to invent a loom that would design such patterns automatically. Previously, in order to make the intricate patterns of the fabric, there was a need for a drawboy, the least glamorous of any position in the weaving industry. 
The drawboy was to sit inside the loom and lift or move a number of threads according to the directions of the master weaver. After lifting or moving the threads, the shuttle pulled a thread through, showing only where the master weaver instructed.  Joseph began his invention, and was interrupted by the French Revolution, and then afterwards completed his invention in 1801.  He presented his invention in Paris in 1804, and was awarded a medal and patent for his design, however the French government claimed the loom to then be public property, giving Jacquard a slight royalty and a small pension. 
Jacquard’s invention helped not only the textile industry, but helped in the advance of technology.  The Jacquard loom not only cut back on the amount of human labor, but also allowed for patterns to now be stored on cards and to be utilized over and over again to achieve the same product.

The idea behind the Jacquard-loom was a system of punch cards and hooks.  The cards were made very thick and had rectangular holes punched in them.  The hooks and needles used in weaving were guided by these holes in the cardboard.  When the hooks came into contact with the card they were held stationary unless it encountered one of the punched holes.  Then the hook was able to pass through the hole with a needle inserting another thread, thus forming the desired pattern.  Intricate patterns were achieved by having many cards arranged one after the other and/or used repeatedly.

This idea of punch cards was revolutionary because it used the idea of a machine having the ability to follow an algorithm. These punch cards were innovative because the cards had the capability to store information on them. This ability to store information was what helped spark the computer revolution. Jacquard's punch card system proved to be such a useful idea that it was incorporated into the ideas of many computer scientists that followed.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INVENTIONS:
Joseph Marie Jacquard Biography   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Computing   from The Great Idea Finder  


ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Jacquard's Web: How A Hand-Loom Led To The Birth Of The Information Age
by James Essinger / Hardcover: 302 pages / Oxford University Press (October 30, 2004)
ISBN: 0192805770 In Jacquard's Web, James Essinger tells the story of some of the most brilliant inventors the world has ever known, in this fascinating account of how a hand-loom invented in Napoleonic France led to the development of the modern information age.
Computer Science: An Overview
by J. Glenn Brookshear (Preface) / Paperback - 609 pages 6th edition (1999) / Addison-Wesley Pub.
The sixth edition of this classic text for the breadth-first computer science course has
been thoroughly updated to discuss increasingly important trends such as networking,
object-oriented programming, and genetic algorithms.
Schaum's Outline of Computer Architecture
by  Nicholas, Ph.D. Carter / Paperback - 306 pages 1st edition (December 26, 2001) / McGraw-Hill
An ideal educational resource for the more than 70,000 undergraduate and
graduate students who, each year, enroll in computer architecture and related courses

Go To
by Steve Lohr / Hardcover - 275 pages 1st edition (October 16, 2001) / Basic Books
The Story of the Math Majors, Bridge Players, Engineers, Chess Wizards, Scientists and Iconoclasts who were the Hero Programmers of the Software Revolution. Exploring the strange and hazy days before nerds ruled the earth.

ON THE WEB:
Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752 - 1854)
Article by Erin Terkoski for Kalmazoo College
(URL: www.kzoo.edu/~k00et01/jacquard.html)
Encarta Encyclopedia
From the Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia.
(URL: encarta.msn.com/)

Jacquard's Punched Card
Story prsented by University of San Diego with photos from the Smithsonian exhibit.
(URL: history.acusd.edu/gen/recording/jacquard1.html)
Mechanical Aids to Computation and the Development of Algorithms
by Dunne,Dr. Paul E. Department of Computer Science at Liverpool University
(URL: www.csc.liv.ac.uk/~ped/teachadmin/histsci/htmlform/slides.html)
Punched Card Loom
In France, Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented an automatic loom using punched cards for the control of the patterns in the fabrics. From the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc.(1996).The Computer Society:
(URL: www.computer.org/50/history/1801.htm)

Biography of Joseph Marie Jacquard
His first invention was a loom for the weaving of nets, which he was led to make by reading in an English newspaper that a prize had been offered by the Society of Arts for such a machine. Jacquard made no attempt to obtain the prize, but the fact of his invention became known.
(URL: www.sacklunch.net/biography/J/JosephMarieJacquard_1.html)

Joseph Marie Jacquard at ThinkQuest
Teams of students and teachers are challenged to build websites on educational topics. These websites are published in the popular ThinkQuest Library and top-scoring teams win valuable prizes.
(URL: library.thinkquest.org/C0126120/jacquard.htm)


Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised october 26, 2006.
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