Joseph Marie Charles Jacquard

(7 July 1752 – 7 August 1834)

Joseph Marie Charles Jacquard was born into a conservative catholic family in Lyon, France on 7 July 1752. His parents Jean Charles and Antoinette Rive had 9 children, although only Joseph and his sister Clemence survived to become adults.

Whilst he was born to the ‘Charles’ family his middle name Jacquard was used as a surname to differentiate this side of the family from the numerous other members of the Charles family. This was something typical of the age.

Joseph was born into a weaving family but remained largely uneducated until he became a teenager and his brother-in-law Jean-Marie Barret, a printer, taught him to read and write whilst also introducing Joseph into society.

Upon the deaths of his parents (mother in 1672 and father in 1772) Joseph inherited property, vineyards, a quarry and a weaving looms, enabling him to register his occupation as master weaver and silk merchant.

On 26 July 1778, Joseph married Claudine Boichon and together they had one child, a son, Jean Marie  born 19 April 1779. Both father and son went on to fight together in the Rhine campaign of 1795 where Jean Marie lost his life.

It was in the early 1800’s that Joseph changed the world of weaving with the Jacquard loom. This was first shown at an industrial exhibition in Paris in 1801. By 1812 there were allegedly over 11,000 looms in use throughout France. Sales really took after changes were made by Antoine Breton to the punched card mechanism in the latter half of the decade.

Living on a state pension and royalty from his invention, Joseph lived on until 7 August 1834 when he died at Oullins, Rhone,France.