Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752 - 1854)

Essay by amk1626College, UndergraduateA+, February 2004

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Joseph-Marie Jacquard, born in Lyons, France in 1752, was born into a family of weavers. The weaving profession at that time was a long and tedious process, often taking long periods of time to produce the fine woven fabrics. When his parents passed away, Joseph inherited the family weaving business. He set up a silk factory, which was unsuccessful because he spent his time trying to improve the process in use. The amount of time that was put into such a profession almost eliminated the profit of the fabric, so Joseph decided 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 draw boy. The draw boy 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, but was interrupted in 1789 by the French Revolution. The town of Lyon was destroyed in 1793 and he had to flee. Two years later he returned and immediately devoted his attention to his mechanizing experiments again. . The economy had broken down, but mainly because of this he found manufacturers to support him. He introduced many important improvements that earn him prizes and recognition.

He completed invention in 1801. He exhibited a loom for weaving figured silk. The weavers of Lyons, thinking their bread and butter endangered by the new machine, mobbed the inventor and destroyed his invention. In 1804 Jacquard was called to the "Conservatoire des arts et métiers" at Napoleon's request. Where he presented his invention and was awarded a medal and patent for his design. There he...