Jacquard hand loom

c. 1910 in Lancashire and Bolton

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Jacquard hand loom, made by W. Archer, Bolton, c. 1910. Photographed on display in the Textiles gallery.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Jacquard hand loom, made by W. Archer, Bolton, around 1910.

This is a hand operated Jacquard loom. Students in Manchester used it to learn to weave. The punched cards at the top gave the loom instructions to weave a pattern. It meant weavers could create complicated designs easily, making beautiful, patterned fabrics more affordable.

The loom's punched cards are connected and form a continuous loop. The jacquard mechanism sits atop the loom and moves the cards along with each passing of weft thread through the warp threads. The cards are forced onto a set of pins. The pins go through the card where there are holes, and are stopped where there are not. This controls the lifting of the warp threads and weaves a pattern. The weaver controls the Jacquard mechanism with a foot operated lever.

The Jacquard machine was first developed by Joseph Jacquard in France in 1804-1805. The machine allows for great detail to be woven into the fabric with little human supervision.

The use of punched cards to store information was a precursor to modern computing. The first computers used a series of punched cards similar to those on a Jacquard loom to solve complex mathematical equations.

On display

Science and Industry Museum: Textiles Gallery

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Textile Industry
Object Number:
jacquard hand loom
  • tools and equipment
  • equipment

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