A Wonderful Late Nineteenth-Century Jacquard Weaving Manuscript
with 106 Fabric Samples Affixed
[TEXTILE MANUSCRIPT]. [BERGIER, M.]. Cours de theorie pour le tissage [Lectures on the Theory of Weaving]. Professe par J. Berjon. Fait par M. Bergier. [Lyon]: 1898.
Calligraphic manuscript in French on paper with numerous detailed illustrations of weaving patterns and looms and with 106 fabric samples affixed. Large folio (17 x 11 9/16 inches; 432 x 293 mm.). Written in black ink within a black ruled border, diagrams with additional color.  leaves, plus a final leaf blank except for rules. Most leaves with writing on both sides. Affixed to the verso of the title is a portrait of "A. Thiers/Président de la République Française/1872" woven in silk by Carquillat from the portrait Bruyas (measuring 10 7/16 x 8 1/2 inches; 266 x 216 mm.).
Bound in contemporary quarter green roan over green pebble-grain cloth boards. Spine with black sewing threads visible and with three green roan blocks ruled and lettered in gilt (from top to bottom: "Lyon/1898," "Théorie de Tissage," and "M B"). Marbled endpapers. A wonderful example, exceptionally fine and clean. Housed in a matching cloth slipcase. Together with a large oval piece of fabric (17 1/4 x 11 inches; 435 x 280 mm.).
This highly technical manuscript, which Bergier completed under Berjon, displays an incredible amount of detail and precision. It contains numerous diagrams of looms and of Jacquard punch cards, weaving pattern cards, and written instructions for setting up looms in order to weave a variety of patterns upon different textiles. Bergier details the composition (both patterned and plain) of various types of silks, taffetas, velvets, serges, damasks, etc., giving instructions on each method of weaving, and often showing the positioning of the silk strands, through the use of figurative and graphical diagrams. This is accompanied by an actual sample of the finished fabric.
The manuscript begins with a description of the textiles used in the manufacture of different fabrics, including silk, wool, cotton, linen, hemp, jute, and ramie ("Description sommaire des textiles les plus employés à la fabrication des tissus usuels)" and a discussion of the theory of fabric production ("Théorie de la fabrique"). It is then divided into seven chapters, each with a special title-page:
"Cartons d'armures"; "De composition des armures"ówith sixty-six swatches affixed; "Rapport de la mise encarte avec le lisage, le carton, la mecanique et le tissu" ; "Cartons de façonnés"ówith seven pattern cards affixed; "Empoutages"ówith nine pattern cards affixed; "De composition des façonnés" ówith twenty-seven fabric swatches and twenty-six pattern cards affixed; "Gazes anglaises"ówith thirteen fabric swatches and four pattern cards affixed.
Born into a Lyonnese family of weavers, Joseph Marie Jacquard (1752-1834 ) "was inspired by Vaucanson's punched-card loom to invent the Jacquard attachment, which caused any loom that used it to be called a Jacquard loom. The attachment was an automatic device that for the first time allowed a single operator to control from the loom all the movements involved in the production of complex woven patterns. The Jacquard loom reduced the amount of redundant manual labor that had previously been required in weaving, lowering labor and manufacturing costs and reducing physical hardship for the textile workers. It served as the catalyst for the technological revolution of the textile industry in the nineteenth century. Jacquard developed the idea for his invention in 1790, but because of the French Revolution did not exhibit it until 1801. Jacquard was granted a patent for his invention in 1803; in 1806 his loom was declared public property, and Jacquard was awarded a pension and royalties on each machine sold. Under the terms of Jacquard's pension he was required to introduce his technology to the textile industry of Lyons. During his first efforts, workers rioted out of fear of losing their jobs to the new technology, and at one point Jacquard had to flee for his life. However, he persevered and by the year 1812 there were eleven thousand Jacquard looms operating in France. By the time of Jacquard's death in 1834, twenty thousand Jacquard looms were installed in the Lyons region alone. Jacquard's invention made use of a punched-card system for storing and generating patterns. In the production of designs different cards were tied together by ribbons and hundreds of cards could be used in elaborate designs. Charles Babbage later incorporated punched-card technology as a method of data and program input in the design of his Analytical EngineÖFor use in the United States Census of 1890, Herman Hollerith developed electrical machines for tabulating data stored on punched cards. Hollerith's company eventually evolved into IBM. Punched-card tabulation remained a primary means of data processing until it was phased out around 1960" (Diana H. Hook and Jeremy M. Norman, Origins of Cyberspace: A Library on the History of Computing and Computer-Related Telecommunications, pp. 261-262).
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