Jacquard's Web Up until 1804, a skilled silk weaver could only produce an inch of material per day. That year, Frenchman Joseph-Marie Jacquard devised a loom that… Jacquard's Web Up until 1804, a skilled silk weaver could only produce an inch of material per day. That year, Frenchman Joseph-Marie Jacquard devised a loom that… 2004-10-30 Nonfiction Oxford University Press
Book Review

Jacquard's Web (2004)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Oct 30, 2004; Writer: James Essinger; Genre: Nonfiction; Publisher: Oxford University Press

Up until 1804, a skilled silk weaver could only produce an inch of material per day. That year, Frenchman Joseph-Marie Jacquard devised a loom that could ''read'' a stack of perforated cards and generate patterns of amazing complexity 24 times faster than conventional looms. A grateful Napoleon Bonaparte awarded Jacquard a handsome pension. The loom caught the interest of Brit polymath Charles Babbage, who, some 30 years later, used punch cards for his never completed Analytical Engine, widely considered the precursor to modern computers. With wit and imagination, James Essinger has woven in Jacquard's Web a marvelous tapestry celebrating this rugs-to-riches story and the unlikely birth of the information age.

Originally posted Dec 03, 2004 Published in issue #795 Dec 03, 2004 Order article reprints
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