These ribbons were woven on a model of a Jacquard loom made by James Heywood of Coventry, Warwickshire, in 1870. The Jacquard loom, developed by the French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) in 1804, enables a loom to weave figured cloth. The warp (lengthways thread) is divided at each pick so that the weft (sideways thread) goes over or under the warp threads according to the pattern being woven. It was based on an earlier invention by the French mechanic Falcon in 1728. The punched card method which he used made posible the weaving of elaborate patterns for the first time because it enabled individual warp threads to be raised before the shuttle pased back and forth.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library