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Jacquard's Punched Card

Jacquard's Punched Card

Jacquard's Punched Card


Jacquard loom with punch cards ca. 1840
from Smithsonian NMAH
Jacquard loom with punch cards ca. 1840
from Smithsonian NMAH

exhibit caption: "Joseph Marie Jacquard's inspiration of 1804 revolutionized patterned textile waving. For the first time, fabrics with big, fancy designs could be woven automatically by one man working without assistants. Jacquard never obtained a patent for this device. His 1801 patent, issued for an improved drawloom, is often mistaken for the punched-card controlled device that bears his name. Working in Lyon, France, Jacquard had created his machine by combining two earlier French inventors' ideas: he applied Jean Falcon's chain of punched cards to the cylinder mechanism of Jacques Vaucanson. Then he mounted his device on top of a treadle-operated loom. This was the earliest use of punched cards programmed to contral a manufacturing process. Although he created his mechanism to aid the local silk industry, it was soon applied to cotton, wool, and linen weaving. It appeared in the United States about 1825 or 1826. William Horstmann, the owner of a Philadelphia firm, may have introduced it here for weaving coach laces. Erastus Bigelow was issued the first patent for a Jacquard power loom in 1842. He used the loom for ingrain carpet weaving."

Jacquard developed punch cards 1804
from Smithsonian NMAH
Jacquard developed punch cards 1804
from Smithsonian NMAH
Jacquard loom with punch cards ca. 1801
from Smithsonian NMAH


- 1999 by Steven E. Schoenherr. All rights reserved.
The photos on these pages are used with permission of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. They may not be reproduced or distributed without written permission of the NMAH.

digital photos taken June 21, 1999 by Schoenherr | Return to NMAH or Recording Technology History Notes | this page revised July 7, 1999
 
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