When was the First Weaving Loom Invented?

A weaving loom allows a person (weaver) to interlace two different sets of yarn or thread. The threads are interlaced at right-angles to create cloth. Weaving looms can be hand operated or machine operated, although nowadays, most fabric is created on machine weaving looms, except those fabrics created by home weavers or artisans. It is unclear when the weaving loom was first invented but what is known is that it has been part of human society for thousands of years.

There is some solid evidence that weaving looms were part of civilizations that existed in the Paleolithic era (this is the era where humankind invented stone tools). Certainly, it was around in the Neolithic era (10,200 BC, when humans started farming). A scrap of textile was found that researchers believe dates back to 5000 BC.http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/jacquard.htm

It’s interesting to point out that flax was the fiber most often used by Egyptian weavers at this time, but other civilizations relied on wool for making cloth, except in China and Southeast Asia, where they were already weaving silk from silkworms. By the biblical times, all major civilizations were using weaving looms. Initially, these looms were large and required three people to operate (two would do the shed and one person did the filling).

In many civilizations, most weavers were slaves or children. Islamic Golden Age of Weaving The Islamic Golden Age saw the addition of pedals to weaving looms. The pedals operated the heddles. This pedal loom was used across East Africa, Syria, and Iran. By 1177, this type of weaving loom was adopted by Spanish weavers and from there, it was introduced to the rest of Europe. Mechanized Weaving In the 1700s many inventors and industrialists tried to mechanize the weaving loom. This was done with varying degrees of success and it wasn’t until the early 1800s that power-weaving became common. This took weaving out of the home, where artist would hand-weave and turned it into a mechanized process that was done at factories.

Once the weaving loom became semi-automatic in the mid-1800s, the art of weaving was all but lost and it became a process completed in factories on steam-powered machines. Although weaving was now done on large machines, intricate designs still had to be completed by hand but this art too was taken over by machines with the invention of the Jacquard weaving loom in France.

A Jacquard weaving loom is a piece of equipment that is used to weave clothing or other textiles with a complicated design. It created complicated fabric designs with the use of punch cards. The weaving loom was invented by Joseph-Marie Jacquard at the beginning of the 19th century. Jacquard was a Frenchman and he was born to a family of weavers. Fabric woven on a Jacquard loom is typically called jacquard fabric.

weaving loom

Joseph-Marie Jacquard’s mechanical loom tremendously simplified the process of weaving complex patterns like damask and brocade and essentially negated the need for skilled weavers. Although he is given credit for creating this weaving loom, he based the Jacquard loom on the inventions of other Frenchmen: Jean Baptiste Falcon, Basile Bouchon, and Jacques Vaucanson.

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