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In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) of Lyons, France made the first successful automatic drawloom by means of a series of instructions given to the threads by a punched card system. It was the first pattern loom to operate successfully on a mechanized basis.

In this type of loom, the patterns woven were controlled by the patterns of the holes in a set of punched cards strung together in the sequence in which they were to be used. This allowed the loom to produce complex patterns and pictures in silk and other materials. The loom operates in the same way that a player piano or a music bow does. A cord to a metal needle connects each warp yarn. A series of cards, one for each weft yarn, are punched with holes in a certain pattern of choice. The cards are the arranged in the sequence determined by the pattern and strung together to pass through the loom. As each card falls into its position, only those needles connected to the warp corresponding to the punched holes are allowed through. This raises those particular warps to create the shed, the area for the shuttle to pass through. Any combination of warp yarns can be raised. It all depends on the pattern selected. There is a new card for each movement of the shuttle. When all of the cards have been used, the sequence begins again. They run on a continuos loop.

This technique was so successful that by 1812, the punched card device was attached to 18,000 looms in Lyons. The Jacquard loom was a technological break- through. J. M. Jaquard even received a pension from Napolean for his invention.

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The Original Jacquard Loom 1804.
The Original Jacquard Loom 1804