THE INSTITUTEThis month The Institute is focusing on how technology is transforming the garment industry. The electronic Jacquard loom was the first loom that automatically created complex textile patterns. This led to the mass production of cloth with intricate designs.
Joseph Marie Charles Jacquard of France was born into a family of weavers in 1752. He received no formal schooling but tinkered with ways to improve the mechanical textile looms of the day.
At that time, two people were needed on each loom. A skilled weaver and an assistant, or draw boy, chose by hand which warps (the lengthwise threads held under tension on the loom) to pull up so the weft (the thread inserted at right angles) could be pulled through the warps to create