Skola

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. c. 1819 France
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French improver of the Jacquard mechanism for pattern weaving.
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Jacquard hand looms surviving from the 1830s show a mechanism similar to those still used in the 1990s, with all the operations being carried out by the weaver: the flying shuttle, invented by John Kay, is driven across with the right hand, while the left hand rests on the sley and beats in the weft and also selects the appropriate shuttle from Robert Kay's drop box. The right foot presses down on a pedal which operates the Jacquard mechanism. The single downwards movement of the foot has to be translated into two different motions to operate the Jacquard. First, the correct card has to be moved horizontally against the needles to select the desired pattern, then the appropriate needles have to be lifted vertically. Jacquard's invention failed in the way it pressed the card against the needles, but Skola was able to improve this in 1819, probably with the addition of a part called the "swan neck". It was Skola's Jacquard machine which truly rendered the process of weaving more economical and productive because the weaver now could operate the Jacquard mechanism with no help, so dispensing with the drawboy. The speed of selecting the pattern with this mechanism also meant that the weaver could use the flying shuttle, with an additional increment in weaving speeds.
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Further Reading
R.L.Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester (includes a description of the development of the Jacquard mechanism).
A.Barlow, 1878, The History and Principles of Weaving by Hand and by Power, London (for illustrations of the perfected mechanism).
RLH

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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