Eric's Tags - jacquard

Portrait manufactured by Didier, Petit et Cie, woven in silk.

Publisher Information: 1839.

Jacquard, Joseph Marie (1752-1834). Portrait in silk of Joseph-Marie Jacquard after an original oil portrait by Claude Bonnefond, manufactured by Didier, Petit et Cie; woven by Michel-Marie Carquillat (1803–1884) in Lyon, France, 1839. The image, including caption and Carquillat’s name, taking credit for the weaving, is 55 x 34 cm.; the full piece of silk including blank margins is 85 x 66 cm. The visible portion of the image in the frame is 72 x 54.5 cm., and the frame measures 104 x 84 cm. Minor wear from folding barely visible in the image, but with the image in clear, unfaded and fresh condition. The weaving was professionally treated by a textile conservator, whose conservator’s report and images of before and after are available. Minor flaws visible in the large outer margins of the silk, not affecting the image. In a large and attractive archival frame.

This famous image, of which only a very few examples are known, was woven by machine using 24,000 Jacquard cards, each of which had over 1000 hole positions. The process of mis en carte, or converting the image details to punched cards for the Jacquard mechanism, for this exceptionally large and detailed image, would have taken several workers many months, as the woven image convincingly portrays superfine elements such as a translucent curtain over glass window panes. Once all the “programming” was completed, the process of weaving the image with its 24,000 punched cards would have taken more than eight hours, assuming that the weaver was working at the usual Jacquard loom speed of about forty-eight picks per minute, or about 2800 per hour. More than once this woven image was mistaken for an engraved image. The image was produced only to order, most likely in a small number of examples. Recorded examples are those at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Science Museum, London, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California, Musée de Tissus, Lyons.


Visual system for punched card reading in textile industry

The paper outlines a detailed process and system designed to convert physical Jacquard punched cards into digital code. This process not only preserves the intricate and historical weaving patterns encoded in these cards but also enables their use in modern, computer-controlled Jacquard looms. The system uses advanced image processing techniques to accurately read and digitize the patterns from old, often worn-out cards, thus ensuring that traditional designs can be seamlessly integrated into contemporary textile production workflows.


Project Jacquard

Project Jacquard is yet another project that Google ATAP is pumping out of the wood works. Project Jacquard is making it possible to turn our everyday clothing into another device.

It does so by weaving the newly created conductive yarns that were created in collaboration with Google ATAP's industrial partners. Jacquard yarn structure is a combination of thin metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, and silk. This makes the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom.

Thanks to the metallic alloys, the clothing can recognize things like touch and carry out gesture interactivity. The best part is that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between regular yarn produced today and Jacquard yarn.

Ivan Poupyrev, Project Jacquard's Founder, explains the thought process as to why they started Project Jacquard.

"What I find fascinating about textiles, is that the structure of textiles is the same as the structure of touch screens which we use in everyday mobile devices and tablets. That means, that if you just replace some of the threads in textiles with conductive threads, you should be able to weave a textile which can recognize a variety of simple touch gestures. Just like any normal touch panel you have in a mobile phone."

Well known Japanese Artist, Bio Designer, and now Developer and Partner Lead for Google ATAP Project Jacquard, Shiho Fukuhara explains how interested and excited the Designing world is to use the new material since it's very rare for something this different, yet simple, to come out.

Fukuhara says,"...It's something you are very familiar with, it's just textile."

"We work with textile designers from all over the world and it's really interesting to see what kind of possibilities we can have."

Carsten Schwesig, Design Lead at Project Jacquard, said, "software development and fashion design often don't exist in the same place. We're hoping to make it very simple for each of those parties to collaborate and we're hoping to provide both software and hardware knowledge and components to make those collaborations very easy."

It looks like Project Jacquard is taking the first step forward towards seamlessly integrating our clothing, furniture, and whatever else has textiles within it to become yet another tool in our nearfuture.

The questions now are how will we use this new step forward and are we ready to make the seemingly effortless switch to it.


A Science of Operations Machines, Logic and the Invention of Programming

"Hollerith later claimed to have got the idea of using punched cards from the
example of a system used for checking railway tickets, although his brother claimed
that the idea had come from the use of punched cards in the Jacquard loom, with
which Hollerith would have been familiar"


Giants of Computing pp 139–141

Hollerith took a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1882 and taught mechanical engineering. He remained interested in the problem of automating the tabulated census data and examined the workings of the Jacquard loom to see if it could assist. The main feature of the Jacquard loom that he considered applicable was its use of punched cards, as these were an efficient way of storing information. He also observed that it should be possible to punch information onto a card, as a conductor might do on a train. Hollerith conducted a number of experiments at the institute and initially employed a paper tape rather than cards. A pin could go through a hole in the tape and complete an electrical circuit, and Hollerith later replaced paper with cards as these offered a more effective solution.

O’Regan, G. (2013). Herman Hollerith. In: Giants of Computing. Springer, London.



In the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, a veri-
table warehouse of machinery is on display. Here are a Jacquard loom
and Hollerith punched card machine, the Cray 7600 supercomputer and


Origins of a System

The weaving machine, which had come into universal use in the production of decorative fabrics, was a familiar and still fascinating contraption to those with even a passing knowledge of textiles. Hollerith was particularly familiar with the details of the Jacquard device, having previously investigated the device as part of an abortive weaving business venture.


1865 Punching in Bored teaching at MIT, Herman Hollerith left to launch the information age for the US Census.

While at MIT, Hollerith made what he would later call his “first crude experiments” on the census machine. Like the player-piano roll, his first approach involved punching holes in a long strip of paper, in this case with one row for each person.


Case Files: Herman Hollerith

Two incidents contributed to Hollerith's solution: conversations with Census Bureau colleague, Dr. John Shaw Billings, about count mechanization and the Jacquard loom card system, and observations of a railroad conductor punching riders' tickets for identification purposes.


Herman Hollerith,be%20used%20in%20census%20work.

References (hide)
Biography in Encyclopaedia Britannica.
G D Austrian, Herman Hollerith : forgotten giant of information processing (New York, 1982).
A G Debus (ed.), Herman Hollerith, World's Who's Who in Science (1968).
F Gareth Ashurst, Pioneers of computing (London, 1983), 77-90.
A Class, Introducing the past master of punch cards, Computing (1990), 16-17.
Herman Hollerith, Dictionary of American Biography Supp 1, 415-416.
Herman Hollerith, The New York Times (19 November, 1929).
Herman Hollerith, The Evening Star (Washington) (18 November, 1929).
F W Kistermann, The invention and development of the Hollerith punched card : in commemoration of the 130th anniversary of the birth of Herman Hollerith and for the 100th anniversary of large scale data processing, Annals of the history of computing 13 (1991), 245-259.
K S Reid-Green, The history of census tabulation, Scientific American 260 (1989), 78-83.


Hollerith: Inventor and Entrepreneur

It seems likely that he was also influenced by an automated
loom invented by the Frenchman, Joseph Marie Jacquard, about
eighty years earlier. Jacquard looms in Hollerith's time routinely
produced very intricate patterns guided by a sequence of thousands of punched cards, each with holes punched so as to specify
one step of the process. If not from other sources, he would surely
have learned about the Jacquard loom from a brother-in-law who
was involved in the silk-weaving business


Charles Foster Tillinghast Sr.

He graduated from the Mowry and Goff School in Providence in 1891 and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1895. After graduation, he was employed by the Textile-Finishing Machinery Company of Providence


Masterminds of Punched Card Data Processing: Herman Hollerith and John Billings

In 1882, Hollerith joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty, where he taught mechanical engineering for only one year; apparently, the thought of having to repeat teaching the same material the following year did not appeal to him. He was continuing to think about automating the census and first experimented with punched paper tape. The impossibility of reordering the information on the tape turned his thoughts to punched cards and solidified his ideas. He returned to Washington, DC and worked for a year as a patent examiner, gaining invaluable knowledge of the intricacies of that arcane art. He quickly applied this knowledge and filed a patent in 1884 for his method of automating the processing of census data.


Biographical Sketch of Herman Hollerith

When asked how he first had the idea of a census machine he would reply "chicken
salad" and then explain. When he first came to Washington he joined a boat club and
often rowed on the Potomac River. The club once had an evening entertainment at
which one of Dr. Billings' daughters, seeing father enjoying the chicken salad, invited
him to come to supper with them to have some of her mother's salad. It was at this
supper that Dr. Billings suggested the need for a machine to do the purely mechanical
work of tabulating population and similar statistics. Father talked the matter over
with Dr. Billings, who suggested using cards with the description of the individual
shown by notches in the edge of the card and a device something like a type-distributing
machine. Father went to Mr. Leland, who was in charge of the Population Division of
the Census Office, and asked to be taken on as a clerk to learn the nature of the job.
After studying the problem, father told Dr. Billings "to go in with him," but he was not
interested; his only wish was to see the problem solved


Social Science Micro ReviewVolume 2, Issue 4

Perforations to allow elec-trical contacts was not a new idea: the automatictelegraph, for example, operated similarly. Whatwas new was the coding of the data and the useof the contact for counting.Hollerith soon realized that the continuousstrips were impractical, since tabulating somespecific group required passing through a greatdeal of paper. (This is the same problem we havewith non-random access devices like magnetictape today.) He then struck on the idea of usingcards rather than continuous rolls of paper. It isnot clear where he got this idea and he neverclaimed to have invented the data card which eventoday bears his name. One anecdote suggests heobserved a railroad conductor punching pas-sengers’ profiles on a ticket. Indeed, among hispersonal effects was found a conductor’s punchstamped with a patent date of July 20, 1880.Another possibility is that he knew about theJacquard loom, since his brother-in-law and finan-cial backer was in the textile business. This de-vice, invented by a Frenchman, Joseph Marie Jac-quard, revolutionized the textile industry at thestart of the nineteenth century. It comprised a se-ries of cards with holes punched in them by whichweavers could pre-select warp threads to beraised or lowered, thereby creating intricate andrepeatable patterns. Simply, they could &dquo;pro-gram&dquo; the weaving process. Charles Babbage(1792-1871), considered by some the father ofmodern computing, also borrowed this notion ofthe Jacquard loom as the mechanism to inputquantities and instructions into his famous Ana-lytic Engine (Evans, 1981; Goldstine, 1972; at SAGE Publications on December 9, 2012ssc.sagepub.comDownloaded from 203Randell, 1975). In any event, the Hollerith Cardand Tabulating Machine caught on both in theUnited States and in Europe.The Hollerith System not only permanently af-fected the manner in which work was done; it alsoset the stage for some permanent changes in thenature of the work force. About thirty years earli-er Christopher Latham Sholes had invented thefirst workable writing machine. Initially, it wasused primarily by men for the &dquo;female mind hadbeen considered too flighty to master typing andthe female body too frail to operate heavymachines&dquo; (Austrian, 1982, pp. 70-71).


Origins of IBM (page 11)

Entrepreneurial Setbacks
Hollerith: Inventor and Entrepreneur 11
Shortly before filing his first patent application in 1884, Hollerith
requested a loan from his sister's husband to finance the development
of experimental equipment. It was not the first time the
two men had considered joint business opportunities. Their previous
discussions had involved possible improvements in silk-weaving
equipment used in his brother-in-law's business.



Then came the
census of 1880. As that vast process went on, month after month, entirely
by hand, Billings at some point recalled a prototype device that might, with
adaptation, meet the needs of tabulating census results. In a conversation with
a young engineer, Herman Hollerith, Billings said ". . there ought to be
some mechanical way of doing this job, something on the principle of the
Jacquard loom, whereby holes in a card regulate the pattern to be


Chapter 8. Billings, Hollerith, and the Census

The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann, 1993, pp. 65-71 (7 pages)

While the returns of the Tenth (1880) Census were being tabu-
lated at Washington, Billings was walking with a companion
through the office in which h ~ ~ n d r e d sof clerks were engaged in
laboriously transferring items of information from the schedules
to the record sheets by the slow and heartbreaking method of
hand tallying. As they were watching the clerks he said to his
companion, "There ought to be some lnechanical way of doing
this job, something on the principle of the Jacquard loom, whereby
lloles in a card regulate the pattern to be woven." The seed fell
on good ground. His companion was a talented young engineer in
the office who first convinced himself that the idea was practicable
and then that Billings had no desire to claim or use it.3

One Sunday evening at Dr. Billings' tea table, he said to me
there ought to be a machine for doing the purely mechanical
work of tabulating population and similar statistics. We talked
the matter over and I remember. . . h e thought of using cards
with the description of the individual shown by notches punched
in the edge of the card. . . . After studying the problem I went
back to Dr. Billings and said that I thought I could work out a
solution for the problem and asked him if he would go in with
me. The Doctor said h e was not interested any further than to
see some solution of the problem worked
In reading over various speeches and papers by Billings on the
subject it seems to the author clear that Hollerith was the real
implementor of Billings' basic idea. Dr. Raymond Pearl, who was
for many years one of the world leaders in biology and biostatistics
and who was professor of biology and public hygiene at Johns
Hopkins, analyzed the situation in 1938 and concluded that "In
all essentials the case seems clear. Billings was the originator, the
discoverer, who contributed that which lies at the core of every
scientific discovery, namely, an original idea that proved in the trial
to be sound and good; Hollerith built a machine that implemented
the idea in practical performance, the accomplishment here, as
always of the successful inventor."
It is difficult to say more about the allocation of credit than Pearl
did. We will have occasion to see other examples of the difficulties
of allocating credit among men all of whom are deeply immersed
in a common project. Let us then agree with Pearl that Billings had
the basic idea and that Hollerith implemented it.
More importantly let us consider what the system was and what
use was made of it. Hollerith, proceeding on Billings' suggestions,
used a system of holes in a punch card to represent various charac-
teristics such as male or female, black or white, native or foreign-
born, age, etc. H e first designed his system using a continuous
roll of paper instead of individual cards. The card or roll of paper
then ran under a set of contact brushes which completed an elec-
trical circuit if and only if a hole was present. The completed
circuits activated counters which advanced one position for each
'Truesdell, p. 31. Truesdell, p. 33.


Herman hollerith: data processing pioneer

eing 19 years of age and a bachelor when he arrived in Washington to begin his new job, Hollerith became active in Georgetown social circles. He met Dr. John Shaw Billings at the Billings home one Sunday evening in 1880 through a supper invitation from Billings’ daughter. Although not trained as such, Billings was an cstablishcd expert in analyzing vital statistics, and the Census Bureau had appointed him Director of Vital Statistics for the 1880 census.2 That first encounter was the occlision for the famous but, ambiguously interpreted Billings-to-Hollerith transfer of the idea for a punched card machine to tabulate U. S. Census data. Interpreta- tions of Billings’ influence vary from “suggested the need for” to “suggested using cards with the description of the individual shown by notches in the edge of the card and a device something like a type distributing ma- chine.”

The material published in this sketch is extracted and edited from John Blodgett’s thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the Degree of Master of Science in Information Science at Drexel Insti-tute of Technology School of Lihrary Science, Phila., Pa., June, 1968. The original 234 pp. typescript is available on loan from the Drexel Library. Blodgett’s work began as a term paper and grew into a thesis because he gained access to hitherto withheld Hollerith family resourccs and was diligent enough to tap publicly available resources not previously consulted--to learn more of Hollerith’s personal story and to elucidate the controversial record of John Shaw Billing’s part in the development of the first punched card sorter.


The development of punch card tabulation in the Bureau of the Census (1965)

- 4 matching terms
...THE ORIGINATORS OF THE SYSTEM 31 7 a way of doing this job, something on the principle of the Jacquard; loom,? whereby holes in a card regulate the pattern to be woven.” The seed fell on good ground. His companion was a talented young engineer in the office who first convinced himself that the idea was practicable and then that Billings had no desire to claim or use it....

...I have since received a letter from the daughter of Dr. Billings, Mrs. K. B. Wilson, in which she writes “I do not remember hearing of Father's remarks to Herman Hollerith about these machines (the Jacquard; loom] being applied to census tabula- tions, but I do remember the first little wooden model which Herman Hollerith brought to our library many evenings while they were puzzling their brains over its adaptation.”...

...That the data collected by the census for each living person, or, in systems of death registration, for each decedent, might be recorded on a single card or slip by punching small holes in different parts of it, and that these cards might then be assorted and counted by mechanical means according to any selected groupings of these perforations, was first suggested by Dr. Billings in 1880. (Italics added.) with me. ? No reference is made in any of the available early (pre-1890) records to the Jacquard; loom as a prece- dent for the use of punched cards in the operation of machinery; but in a lecture given at the University of Pennsylvania in 1896, as recorded in a paper on file in the New York Public Library, Dr. Billings said "My original idea was to use a punched slip of paper as a guide to rods and labors (levers?), which would operate on the principle of the Jacquard; loom, but Mr. Hollerith has made use of the power of electricity." This indicates that Dr. Billings not only had in mind the general problem of machine tabulation (what it should do), but had given some thought to the mechanics of a possible solution. • Reported to the writer by James L....


Revisiting the jacquard loom: threads of history and current patterns in HCI

In the recent developments of human computer interaction, one central challenge has been to find and to explore alternatives to the legacy of the desktop computer paradigm for interaction design. To investigate this issue further we have conducted an analysis on a fascinating piece of machinery often referred to as one of the predecessors of the modern day computer, the Jacquard loom. In analysing the Jacquard loom we look at qualities in design and interaction from some different perspectives: how historical tools, crafts, and practices can inform interaction design, the role of physicality, materiality, and full-body interaction in order to rethink some current conceptions of interaction and design of computational devices.


Mistaken Ancestry: The Jacquard and the Computer

Mistaken Ancestry: The Jacquard and the Computer
Davis, Martin ; Davis, Virginia
Textile : the journal of cloth and culture, 2005-01, Vol.3 (1), p.76-87


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I'm an award-winning artist who's been innovating in Web3 since 2019. Prior to that I was a program manager at Twitter and consultant at Google, where I specialized in operationalizing service design and customer experience. Read more