Joseph-Marie Jacquard

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Joseph-Marie Jacquard

Joseph-Marie Jacquard (actually Joseph-Marie Charles called Jacquard; * July 7, 1752 in Lyon ; † August 7, 1834 in Oullins ) was a French inventor who made a decisive contribution to the industrial revolution through his further development of the (programmable) loom .


Joseph-Marie Jacquard was born on July 7, 1752, the son of a weaver in Lyon. He was the fifth of nine children born to his father, Jean Charles (called Jaquard) and his mother, Antoinette Rive. Only Joseph-Marie and his sister Clémence (born 1747) reached adulthood. His father owned a workshop with several looms and his mother worked as a pattern reader in a silk factory. Even as a child, Jacquard had to work in his father's workshop. Like many Weber's sons, he was unable to attend school, but at the age of 13 he learned to read and write from his brother-in-law, a cultured man.

The young Jacquard learned the trade of a bookbinder . Nevertheless, after the death of his parents (mother in 1762, father in 1772), he inherited their workshop and began to mechanize pattern weaving technology there. However, his first attempts were unsuccessful and Jacquard became increasingly impoverished. In 1778 he married the rich widow Claudine Boichon, with whom he had a son, whom they named Jean-Marie after his father.

The punch card control of the jacquard machine

In 1789 the French Revolution broke out. In 1793, Jaquard and his son Jean-Marie took part in the unsuccessful defense of Lyon - Lyon and Jacquard's workshop were destroyed. Subsequently, father and son fled together, took on false names and joined the Armée révolutionnaire française . In 1797 Jean-Marie was killed in battle and Joseph-Marie returned to Lyon in 1798. The economy fell through the revolution and Jacquard found a few textile manufacturers who financially supported his attempts to further develop the looms. Some important improvements to the production process and the looms gave him a good reputation and an appointment to the "Conservatoire des arts et métiers" by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1804. There Jacquard discovered the dismantled remains of Vaucanson's loom and reconstructed them. Finally, he combined its control technology with the techniques of Austrian pattern looms .

The jacquard pattern loom

The jacquard loom

The most important improvement of Jacquard's pattern loom over all its predecessors was that it replaced the cam roller on Austrian looms with the endless principle of punched card control. This allowed endless patterns of any complexity to be produced mechanically.

The punch card contained information about the pattern to be woven. More precisely, the cards were connected to one another to form long punched strips. They were scanned with needles; a hole meant thread lifting, no hole thread lowering. These two pieces of information were sufficient to produce large-scale samples. Jacquard control is an early application of digital technology .

This loom was the first "programmable" machine, the control of which could be permanently deactivated (after the machine had been converted for a different pattern) and used again later. It is a cornerstone of today's automation . The jacquard loom removed the last obstacle to full automation of the weaving mill: the cost-effective changeover of patterns when producing alternating weave patterns on the same machine.

Napoléon was enthusiastic about Jacquard's control system and awarded him a lifelong pension as a reward . In 1806 Napoléon tried to enforce the new looms by government decree, but encountered bitter resistance from the guilds , who felt threatened by the increasing automation in the textile industry . Jacquard has been attacked and taken to court several times. However, after the English textile mills started using jacquard looms, the technique was also able to establish itself in France.

In 1810, Jacquard was honored with the Legion of Honor Cross. In 1812 there were about 18,000 jacquard looms in France.

Joseph-Marie Jaquard died on August 7, 1834 in Oullins (Rhône).

In the weaving museum in Bramsche near Osnabrück and in the House of Silk Culture in Krefeld , jacquard looms are shown in operation. A functioning jacquard machine (control unit) is also on display in the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn, in the TIM (Textile Industry Museum) in Augsburg, in the Museum for Early Industrialization in Wuppertal and in the Textile Museum in Zell im Wiesental.

Even today, in the former upholstery fabric weaving mill Cammann & Co. , today Cammann Gobelin Manufactory in Braunsdorf near Chemnitz , jacquard fabrics are made on 60-year-old Chemnitz Schönherr looms with punched cards based on the principle of Joseph-Marie Jacquard.


  • Almut Bohnsack: The jacquard loom. Deutsches Museum, Munich 1993.

Web links

Commons : Joseph-Marie Jacquard  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Archive link ( Memento of the original from December 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. House of silk culture  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Cammann Gobelin Manufactory. Retrieved April 2, 2019 .