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/zhah-kar'/ A mechanical loom, invented by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in 1801, which used the holes punched in pasteboard punch cards (which see) to control the weaving of patterns in fabric. It was the first machine to use punch cards, although it did no computation based on them.
Jacquard loomAn automated loom that transformed the 19th century textile industry and became the inspiration for future calculating and tabulating machines. Developed by the French silk-weaver, Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834), it used punch cards to control its operation.
Although punch cards were used in earlier looms and music boxes, Jacquard's loom was a vast improvement and allowed complex patterns to be created swiftly. The loom was inspiration to Charles Babbage and, later, to Herman Hollerith who developed the first commercial punch card equipment.
|The Jacquard Loom|
|The binary principle embodied in the punched-card operation of the loom was inspiration for the data processing machines to come. (Image courtesy of The Computer History Museum, www.computerhistory.org)|