Cours de Theorie pour le Tissage professée par P. Audibert.

[Lyon:] 1884

Folio (48 x 31.5 cm.). Manuscript in French, written in a large legible hand in black ink on paper. 244 pages, with many drawings and diagrams in colour, and samples of material. Contemporary half black morocco over cloth-covered boards (ends of spine and tips of corners a little worn, sides with several small holes in the cloth), spines with threads between the compartments, marbled endpapers, stationer’s label of J. Billion, Lyon. Signature of P. Audibert on title-page.

MANUSCRIPT on weaving complicated patterns using Jacquard’s punched card method. Contents: title in red and black; portrait of Jacquard after an engraving with red and black border; 6 pages of text followed by 66 pages of “Remettage” (diagrams of setting up the loom and threading the ward ends), some in red and black, with one full-page drawing of a loom; 62 pages , “Piquage” (sleying), with 3 full-page drawings in colour, 9 drawings of punched cards, and many diagrams with samples of material (some loose); 34 pages, “Lisage” (punching the cards), with full-page drawings, patterns and punched cards; 54 pages, “”Décomposition de Façonnés” (breakdown of the figured material), with one watercolour of a loom by Audibert, one full-page drawing in colour, and diagrams of patterns with samples of material (some loose); and 18 pages, “Gazes à fils” (gauze weaves), with 2 full-page coloured drawings, diagrams, and samples of material. On the penultimate page are mounted 4 ACTUAL PUNCHED CARDS, and on the last page are the names and signatures of the other pupils with whom Blanc took this course. This manuscript is an example of early programming with numerous diagrams of punched cards, coding, and the programming process which allowed the weft to pass under or over each warp yarn — a binary on/off process which made possible the automatic production of unlimited varieties of complex woven patterns. It also contains an illustration of the complete loom, and many samples of the fabrics created. Audibert was professor at the school of weaving in Lyon, historically an important centre of the weaving industry. In the early 19th century Joseph-Marie Jacquard of Lyon devised a revolutionary control for looms. Using punched cards to programme patterns, the loom was able to create woven fabrics without intervention from the weaver. The introduction of these looms caused riots against the replacement of people by machines. Despite that, the loom was very successful and its control method is widely recognised to be a precursor of the computer. With its use of punched cards, the “mill”, the “store” and binary logic, the loom contained many features still evident in modern-day computers. Jacquard’s punched cards were later modified and evolved into computing punched cards by Babbage and Herman Hollerith.


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