by James Essinger - £10.99 Oxford University Press (2004)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780192805782 | ISBN 10: 0192805789
Jacquard's Web tells one of the greatest untold stories of science: how Joseph-Marie Jacquard, a master silk-weaver in Napoleonic France, invented a loom that was to spark the beginning of today's information age.
The revolutionary Jacquard loom could create beautiful fabrics many times faster than had previously been possible, using a system of punch cards - now rightly viewed as the world's first computer programs - to store instructions for patterns and designs.
In this fascinating and engaging tale, James Essinger traces the 200-year-evolution of Jacquard's idea from the studios of eighteenth-century French weavers, through the Industrial Revolution, to the information revolution of the twentieth century and to the billions of desk-top computers we rely on around the world today.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)