Jacquard hand loom

c. 1910 in Lancashire and Bolton

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Jacquard hand loom, made by W. Archer, Bolton, c. 1910.

This is a hand operated Jacquard loom. It uses a series of punched cards to make a pattern while weaving cloth. The cards are connected and form a continuous loop. The mechanism sits atop the loom and moves the cards along with each passing of weft thread through the warp threads (called a pick). The cards are forced onto a set of pins. The pins go through the card where there are holes, and are stopped where there are not. This controls the lifting of the warp threads and weaves a pattern. The weaver controls the Jacquard mechanism with a foot operated lever.

The Jacquard machine was first developed by Joseph Jacquard in France in 1804-1805. The machine allows for great detail to be woven into the fabric with little human supervision.

The use of punched cards to store information was a precursor to modern computing. The first computers used a series of punched cards similar to those on a Jacquard loom to solve complex mathematical equations.

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Science and Industry Museum: Textiles Gallery

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Textile Industry
Object Number:
  • tools and equipment
  • equipment
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