The Jacquard machine was named after Joseph Marie Jacquard. Jacquard was born in Lyons, France, on the 7th of July, 1752. His parents were employed in the manufacture of silk fabrics. The first trade Jacquard learned was book-binding; type-founding and cutlery following successively. He was 20 years of age when his father died, leaving him a small house and hand-loom in the village of Cauzon, near Lyons. He commenced to invent different improvements in the line of weaving, but without other success than accumulating debt, compelling him to earn the living for himself and family, first in a plaster quarry at Bugey, near Lyons, afterwards by working at cutlery, type-founding and weaving in Lyons.
In 1792 he joined the Revolutionists, and after his return in the following year he and his son assisted in the defence of Lyons against the Army of the Convention, but left when his son was killed near him in battle.
Lyons Council offered him a room, for working on improvements for weaving at the “Palace of the Fine Arts,” with the condition that he should instruct scholars free of charge. During his stay there the Society of Arts, in London, offered a reward for a machine for making fishing nets. Jacquard succeeded in perfecting it, but had to travel under protection to Paris, where he had to show and explain his machine before the “Conservatorium of Arts and Trades.”