Jacquard loomThe Jacquard loom is a mechanical loom, invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801, which used the holes punched in pasteboard punch cards to control the weaving of patterns in fabric. The loom enabled even the most amateur weavers to weave complex designs.
It was the first machine to use punch cards to control a sequence of operations. Although it did no computation based on them, it is considered an important step in the history of computing. The ability to change the pattern of the loom's weave by simply changing cards was an important conceptual precursor to the development of computer programming.
The term "Jacquard loom" is a misnomer. It is the "Jacquard head" that adapts to a great many dobbie looms such as the "Dornier" brand that allows the weaving machine to then create the intricate patterns.
Based on the FOLDOC entry