Weaving early computer jacquard loom

History: Weaving and the first computer?

Did you know that weaving is closely associated with the invention of the computer?

Damask weaving had always been carried out on a drawloom.  This was a complicated and time-consuming process that involved a weaver and a drawboy.  In 1801 a Frenchman, Jean Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) designed and built a new type of loom.  This used a series of punched cards that controlled the relative position of the warp and weft threads for each passage of the shuttle.  This revolutionary new invention allowed patterns to be woven ‘automatically’ and repeatedly.  The jacquard mechanism was, in effect, a primitive computer  Indeed, Charles Babbage later adapted Jacquard’s punch-card system to produce a calculating machine, a forerunner to today’s computer and computer programmes.

Check out some weaving on our Jacquard looms in our Weaving Workshop:

You can see live weaving on our Jacquard looms every day in our Weaving Workshop.  One of the most famous damask weaving companies was Coulsons’, Lisburn.

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