«Jacquard's Web» de James Essinger

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«Jacquard's Web» de James Essinger

In Jacquard's Web, James Essinger tells the story of some of the most brilliant inventors the world has ever known, in this fascinating account of how a hand-loom invented in Napoleonic France led to the development of the modern information age.

Essinger, a master story-teller, describes how Joseph-Marie Jacquard's loom enabled the silk-weavers of Lyons to weave fabrics 25 times faster than had previously been possible. The device used punched cards, which stored instructions for weaving whatever pattern or design was required. These cards can very reasonably be described as the world's first computer programs.

Indeed, Essinger shows through a series of remarkable and meticulously researched historical connections--connections never before investigated--that the Jacquard loom kick-started a process of scientific evolution which would lead directly to the development of the modern computer.

The book examines a wealth of extraordinary links between the nineteenth-century world of weaving and today's computer age: for example, modern computer graphics displays are based on exactly the same principles as those employed in Jacquard's special woven tableaux.

Jacquard's Web also introduces some of the most colorful and interesting characters in the history of science and technology: the modest but exceptionally dedicated Jacquard himself; the brilliant but temperamental Victorian polymath Charles Babbage, who dreamed of a cogwheel computer operated using Jacquard cards; and the imaginative and perceptive Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's only legitimate daughter.

Attractively illustrated and compellingly narrated, Jacquard's Web is an engaging and delightful volume. It is an impressive case of historical detective work, one that will leave the reader mesmerized..[1]


  1. The engraving that wasn't
  2. A better mousetrap
  3. The son of a master-weaver
  4. The Emperor's new clothes
  5. From weaving to computing
  6. The Difference Engine
  7. The Analytical Engine
  8. A question of faith and funding
  9. The lady who loved the Jacquard loom
  10. A crisis with the American Census
  11. The first Jacquard looms that wove information
  12. The birth of IBM
  13. The Thomas Watson phenomenon
  14. Howard Aiken dreams of a computer
  15. IBM and the Harvard Mark I
  16. Weaving at the speed of light
  17. The future

The author: James Essigner

James Essinger (born 5 September 1957) is a freelance writer and British author of numerous financial and business management books, but may be best known for his book about the evolution of English language and spelling, Spellbound: The Improbable Story of English Spelling[1] and his popular science book on the history of computing, Jacquard's Web.

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  1. Ficha «Jacquard's Web» en Goodreads