By Mary Bellis
In 1804, French silk weaver Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the Jacquard Loom that weaved complex designs. Jacquard invented a way of automatically controlling the warp and weft threads on a silk loom by recording patterns of holes in a string of cards.
According to Wikipedia*: Joseph Marie Jacquard was born at Lyon, France on the 7th of July 1752. On the death of his father, who was a working weaver, be inherited two looms, with which Joseph Marie Jacquard started business on his own account. Joseph Marie Jacquard did not, however, prosper, and was at last forced to become a limeburner at Bresse, while his wife supported herself at Lyon by plaiting straw.
In 1793, Joseph Marie Jacquard took part in the unsuccessful defense of Lyon against the troops of the Convention; but afterwards served in their ranks on the Rhóne and Loire. After seeing some active service, in which his young son was shot down at his side, Joseph Marie Jacquard again returned to Lyon.
There Joseph Marie Jacquard was employed in a factory, and use his spare time in constructing his improved loom, of which he had conceived the idea several years previously. In 1801, he exhibited his invention at the industrial exhibition at Paris; and in 1803 he was summoned to Paris to work for the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. A loom by Jacques de Vaucanson (17091782), deposited there, suggested various improvements in his own, which he gradually perfected to its final state.
Joseph Marie Jacquard's invention was fiercely opposed by the silk-weavers, who feared that its introduction, owing to the saving of labor, would deprive them of their livelihood. However, its advantages secured its general adoption, and by 1812 there were 11,000 looms in use in France. The loom was declared public property in 1806, and Jacquard was rewarded with a pension and a royalty on each machine.
Joseph Marie Jacquard died at Oullins (Rhóne) on the 7th of August 1834, and six years later a statue was erected to him at Lyon.
Industrial Revolution - Timeline of the Textile Industry