Manufacture des Flandres – Musée du Jacquard – Jacquard Museum

Posted: October 29th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: museum or gallery, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Jacquard card puncher

For me, this place is simply awesome. The Musée du Jacquard in Roubaix, Northern France, is an exceptionally comprehensive museum. There were three of us in our mini tour group and we had our own guide who although not a weaver herself was wonderfully personable, knowledgeable and technically proficient in the use of the machines. The remarkable point of interest of this museum is that all of the looms are in working order and each loom is turned on and operated before your very eyes. The looms are arranged in chronological order so that you can also see the development of the Jacquard loom and the implementation of technology over the centuries. You start your tour with a short introduction to fibre, move onto earlier, simpler looms and work your way through to modern mechanised machines with rapier attachments, automated cutting and full width repeats.

The museum is situated in an old mill in Roubaix. This town has a very long and tumultuous history. Spanning several hundred years the turn of events has been extraordinary: multiple wars, occupation, abolition, fierce, fierce local competition with Lille, and an astounding population growth that rivaled most cities and towns in the rest of Europe. This museum is not to be missed if you are ‘into’ textiles or have an interest in industrial history. The sound of these looms throwing the weft thread, beating the cloth and changing the shafts is invigorating. It is an impressive collection and I’m thrilled that they are maintaining the looms and the history of Jacquard development.

The Jacquard loom was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801, the invention is the process and mechanised attachment that controls the loom. It made possible the process of weaving complex patterned cloth like damask and brocade. On a Jacquard loom there are hundreds and thousands of hooks that are attached to strings that hang from the overhead jacquard attachment. Early on, one hook held a number of warp ends (threads) resulting in a number of repeats across the width of the cloth. As technology improved they were able to have a single warp end per hook which resulted in an unrepeated image from selvedge to selvedge. A series of punched cards control these hooks by telling the mechanical head which hooks to lift or lower. Due to the sheer number of warp threads running through the loom it was very difficult to thread the loom but with the new card system, it only needed to be threaded once. If a different pattern was desired, the pattern cards were changed. When the warp ran out or a different coloured warp was required, the new threads were simply tied onto the threads already running through the loom. The invention of Jacquard dramatically increased the creative possibilities for decorative design.

If you are unfamiliar with traditional weaving, and would like to read on please see the Wikipedia entry on weaving and Jacquard weaving.

This post is very long with many images but I thought it best to include all of the photos for those of you who have a deep passion for textiles and weaving. Enjoy!

A partial view of the museum, an early Jacquard loom in the centre. Made of mostly wood with some metal parts it represents true textile innovation:

Jacquard loom

Beautifully shaped moving metal parts on a warper (a large devise used for measuring and applying even tension to the warp):

warper

Jacquard loom

A pattern card puncher. This machine is beautiful:

Jacquard pattern card puncher

A pattern card, each row represents one line in the pattern. Many cards are stitched together to create the full repeat:

Jacquard pattern card

The complicated pattern card punching machine:

Jacquard card puncher

The punched patterns, hundreds of these cards are needed to weave each textile pattern:

Jacquard pattern card puncher

Jacquard pattern card puncher

Jacquard pattern card puncher

A dobby loom, well worked over the centuries:

dobby loom

Details of the dobby loom:

dobby loom

A Jacquard loom:

Jacquard loom

A Jacquard loom:

Jacquard loom

A Jacquard loom:

Jacquard pattern card puncher

Cloth detail from loom:

cloth woven on Jacquard loom

A shuttle-less rapier loom, an alternate method for weaving the weft thread. The rapier system can be used on both Jacquard and dobby looms:

rapier loom

A Jacquard loom:

Jacquard loom

An extremely complex band or ribbon loom operated by a Jacquard attachment. An incredible machine, breathtaking:

Jacquard ribbon band loom

Jacquard ribbon band loom

Each ribbon or band can have a different coloured warp and multiple coloured weft threads but with the same pattern. This loom can weave 12 ribbons simultaneously:

Jacquard ribbon band loom

Jacquard ribbon band loom

Jacquard ribbon band loom

A pile rug on a vertical tapestry loom:

pile rug on vertical tapestry loom

A unique tapestry loom with different types of tapestry and pile carpets on show:

tapestry loom


The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel, Gent, Belgium

Posted: March 8th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I treated ourselves to an afternoon off and we spent it at MIAT, The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel in Gent. I was busting my side in anticipation. For years I learnt to weave, have my own looms and spent many hours weaving but I had never seen a jacquard loom in real life. I didn’t know for sure that the museum would have one on display but I thought surely they must. I was thrilled to find not one but three jacquard looms and literally floors of exciting weaving machinery and equipment.

The museum is housed in a huge brick building which, from the early 1800′s, housed the former Desmet-Guequier cotton mill. Some of the equipment in the museum belonged to the mill allowing visitors to see some unique equipment that they wouldn’t normally see, unless visiting a working mill of course. The building has huge floor to ceiling windows that let in an extraordinary amount of light and has high ceilings resulting in a beautiful, dynamic space. As visitors move through the building from the top floor to the bottom, the curators want them to feel as though they journey through time. This is done by successfully using huge life-size images to set the scene, time and place. The exhibit begins with early hand operated looms and moves through to steam operated machines and then on to high powered, electricity run mass production machines, some that are meters and meters wide. Not all looms, there are warpers, carders, combers and winders, a brilliant array of equipment to help visitors understand the evolution of woven cloth production.

We spent five hours milling around ooh-ing and ah-ing at every single piece of equipment, each of us constantly calling to the other to get over and look at something else.

Above, a tapestry loom.

Above, a very old, small jaquard loom. Magnificent!

Above, a piston from a steam engine which operates a drive shaft which in turn operates all of the weaving machinery.

Above, the drive shaft runs above all of the machinery and each machine is connected to it by way of a wheel and belt.

Above, along with giant over-sized prints on the walls, the museum uses dummies which give a brilliant sense of time and place. Some of the dummies are quite realistic!

Above and below, a braid loom that can weave multiple braids at once. All with the same pattern but using different coloured warp and weft.

Above, they also run classes and various educational programs alongside the exhibition including a functioning paper printing press workshop that has a vast array of presses in normal working order.

And I leave you with this final message …. be extra careful around industrial equipment! Oh dear …..