Bloch, Jacob

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. 1888
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European inventor of a machine for cutting layers of cloth.
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In mass production of garments, layers of cloth are laid out on top of each other and multiples of each different part are cut out at the same time. The first portable cutting machine was invented by Joseph Bloch in 1888. It was operated from a DC electricity supply and had a circular knife, which was difficult to use when cutting round curves. Therefore the cloth had to be raised on curves so that it would reach the furthest part of the circular blade. In the same year in the USA, G.P.Eastman produced a vertically reciprocating cutting machine with a straight blade.
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Further Reading
C.Singer (ed.), 1978, A History of Technology, Vol. VI, Oxford: Clarendon Press (describes Bloch's invention).
I.McNeil (ed.), 1990, An Encyclopaedia of the History of Technology, London: Routledge, pp. 850–2 (provides a brief description of the making-up trade).
D.Sinclair, "The current climate for research and development in the European-clothing industry with particular reference to single ply cutting", unpublished MSc thesis, Salford University (discusses developments in garment production).
RLH

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

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