The weaving room and weaving

The weaving room

The silk mill is today equipped with three hand looms for the production of patterned silk fabrics and a mechanical loom for the production of silk ribbons. The hand looms are placed in a framework for several looms. On top of the framework, the jacquard mechanism is placed, which controls the pattern of the fabric with the help of perforated cards (see also the jacquard technique). 


Woven fabrics consist of two thread systems, longitudinal warp and transverse weft. To tie the two thread systems together, the warp is divided so that certain threads are lifted and form a so-called shed. The weft thread is pushed through the shed with a shuttle and the boom then fixes the thread. When a new shed is opened, the previous element is bound at the same time. The simplest binding is a plain weave which, with the help of two pedals, lifts every other warp thread and thereby forms a simple checkerboard pattern. In the case of complicated patterns, many pedals are required which must be used in a certain order for the pattern to appear. When you do not have room for more pedals, help is needed. Lifting warp threads could in the 19th century in Sweden be the children's task.

The Jacquard technique

The jacquard looms are an early form of computer that already in the early 19th century facilitated the production of patterned fabrics. With the jacquard mechanics, invented by the Frenchman Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1805, only a single pedal is needed to produce advanced patterned fabrics.

The pattern is programmed in so-called punch cards. By pressing down on the pedal, the weaver feeds out a punch card, and the warp threads are lifted where there are holes. The punch cards sit together in long chains of hundreds of punch cards that form a pattern image, a so-called pattern report, which is then repeated.

Punch cards are created by transferring the image on a pattern sketch to a millimeter-squared paper. Each row of squares represents one weft and thus also one punch card. The holes are punch based on whether a box is filled or not. It is just like the language of computers, which is based on the binary number system with two numbers, 1 and 0, where 1 represents current on and 0 is current off. With different combinations of 1s and 0s, a programmer can control what a computer should perform.

The jacquard mechanics infuriated the skilled French weavers because their great professional skills were not in demand with the new technology. But the development could not be stopped and this type of programming was spread to other areas. Punch cards programmed computers until the 1970s when digital systems gradually took over.