Paradise Mill’s Jacquard Looms

Paradise Mill is a former silk mill in Macclesfield. It is now part of the town’s Silk Museum.  It holds 26 Jacquard Looms; possibly the largest collection of such looms in the world [unless Jacquard’s home town of Lyon has more].

Macclesfield was a silk processing town. One hundred and twenty mills and dye house were built in  there between 1740 and 1940.  There were 600 garreted houses [houses where the top floor had been fitted with extra large windows and was used as a workshop].

Macclesfield_Paradise_Street_Garreted houses

Paradise Mill was operated by the firm of Cartwright & Sheldon from 1912. The looms were restored in the early 1980s and the mill and museum opened to the public.  Tours of the mill are organised by the Silk Museum and conducted by a very knowledgeable guide. [The museum itself is well worth a visit. It has a lot of interesting exhibits and is very well presented.]

Jacquard Looms  transformed the silk industry. They are also considered an important part of the history of computing because they incorporate two important ideas.

1. The stored program concept – the program to operate a loom was stored separately from the machine  in a set of punched cards.

2. Punched cards – silk weaving programs were stored in punched cards. Punched cards were later used extensively to store programs and data both in punched card processing and in early electronic computing.

You can read more about this here.  Link

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 07

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 02

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 06

Machinery used for preparing yarn for weaving.

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 08

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 04

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 03

Paradise Mill Jacquard Loom 26

Card cutting machine

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 09

Tools for editing punched cards.

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 05

Machinery used for preparing yarn for weaving.

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 11

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 10

The mill managers office. Note the mechanical calculator to the right. The clutter on the desk includes a slide rule, postage scales and a cheque writing machine [front right]

Paradise Mill Jacquard Looms 12

Paradise Mill – the looms are on the top floor.

Link to post on Jacquard Card Stitcher

Link to post on Jacquard Card Duplicator

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