Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”. Tobias BIEHLER.
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”
Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”

Jacquard’s Loom & Punched Cards

Manuscript on paper entitled “Practische Anleitung für jede Zeichnung zur Jaquard-Maschine. Seiner Majestät dem Aller durchlauchtigsten Herrn Herrn König Otto von Griechenland in tiefster Ehrfurcht gewidmet. Von Tobias Biehler kais: königl: Hof Seidenzeugfabrikant und Officier des IIten Bürgerregiments in Wien.”

Fine calligraphic lithographed presentation title to Otto, King of Greece; manuscript dedication leaf; four leaves containing 48 gilt-edged mounted silk swatches; 83 manuscript leaves describing the machine & weaving techniques, with depictions of different weaving effects, 12 gilt-edged mounted silk swatches along with representations of the punched cards for each swatch, & five full-page diagrams of the Jacquard machine & the machine to produce the cards; and a final section of 46 weaving patterns, each drawn on thin card with grids, laid-down, many on large folding sheets (as large as 570 x 870 mm.), many with silk swatches & captions (one swatch not present, another never tipped-in). Large & thick oblong folio (275 x 432 mm.), orig. Austrian gilt-blocked forest green velvet over thick boards, white watered-silk endpapers. Dedication leaf: “Wien den 1sten August 1839. Tobias Biehler.”

Over the last 43 years, I have handled and seen many manuscript weaving guides, including a number about the Jacquard loom. The present manuscript is the finest, most detailed, and elaborate example I have encountered. I sold it more than 30 years ago to a private collector, and it has now, finally, come back to me.

This luxurious manuscript was prepared for presentation to Otto, King of Greece (1815-67, r. 1832-62), the second son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Members of the Bavarian royal family were deeply interested in developing industries for the lands over which they ruled. The manuscript was compiled by the Viennese silk manufacturer Tobias Biehler (1810-90), four years before his own improved Jacquard weaving machine was patented. At the third Austrian trade exhibition, held in 1845 in Vienna, Biehler exhibited his newly invented Jacquard weaving loom along with two portraits on silk, which had been produced by this machine. He became a rich man through his enterprise, and later became a municipal councilor and art collector, with a rich collection of miniatures, gems, and cameos.

Jacquard patented his loom in 1804, and it, along with its later improvements, including Biehler’s, transformed the textile industry in the 19th and 20th centuries through its use of punched cards, allowing weavers to realize both greater productivity and accuracy. Jacquard’s great breakthrough “was the notion of applying punched cards to the loom control system automatically so that the loom in effect continually feeds itself with the information it needs to carry out the next row of weaving.”–James Essinger, Jacquard’s Web. How a Hand-Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age (Oxford: O.U.P., 2004), p. 37, & see Appendix 3, “How the Jacquard loom worked,” with its accompanying diagrams.

Later, Jacquard’s punched cards were adopted by Charles Babbage to control the positions of small, narrow, circular metal rods that would govern the settings of cogwheels carrying out various functions in his calculating machine, the Analytical Engine. Punched cards continued to be the main medium for loading programs into computers and for inputting data until the mid-1970s.

This beautiful manuscript was obviously conceived to demonstrate the abilities of Biehler’s improvements to Jacquard’s loom. Following the beautifully lithographed title-page, which bears in the center the coat of arms of King Otto, and the leaf of manuscript dedication from Biehler, we find four leaves containing 48 gilt-edged mounted silk swatches, each of great complexity, demonstrating the various effects that could be achieved by Biehler’s Jacquard loom.

This is followed by 83 manuscript leaves, written on rectos only, describing Biehler’s loom, its construction, and use. This text is fascinating as it describes in great detail the workings of the loom and how to achieve various patterns of great complexity such as brocade, damask, and matelassé. Biehler describes all the components of his complicated loom and its construction, and provides numerous diagrams of the various weaves, etc. Also present are 12 leaves, each with a gilt-edged swatch of increasing complexity and a diagram of its actual Jacquard punched card. There are further depictions of other punched cards in this section.

Within this section are five highly detailed and precise full-page drawings of the Biehler’s Jacquard loom and the machine that produces the punched cards, accompanied by long descriptions in the text of each component. Early depictions of the machinery that manufactured the actual punched cards are rare.

The final section contain 46 leaves of colored weaving patterns, each drawn on thin card with grids, laid-down, many on large folding sheets (as large as 570 x 870 mm.). Many of these are accompanied by silk swatches showing the realized fabric.

Laid-in is a 3-page autograph manuscript, signed by Biehler and dated 1st August 1839, of his “Allgemeine Anmerkungen” (“General Remarks”).

In very fine condition, preserved in a box. There are a couple of stubs at the beginning of the manuscript, but nothing appears to be missing. In the final section, one swatch is not present and another was never tipped-in.

❧ Tomash & Williams Add5–“This large work is a description of how to set up a Jacquard loom. It begins with a description of the weaving process and the notation system used to describe a pattern. This is followed by an in-depth description of the Jacquard loom
with very detailed full-page diagrams of the mechanisms. The final, and largest, part of the work is a sampler of different weavings, including their initial design documents and patterns together with swatches from the actual cloth.”.

Price: $25,000.00

Item ID: 7559

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