Jacquard's Web is the fascinating story of how Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented a loom that was to spark the beginning of today s information age. The astonishing new loom, invented in 1804, enabled the master weavers of Lyons to create their beautiful silk fabrics 25 times faster than had ever been possible before. This device used revolutionary punched cards to store instructions for weaving the required pattern or design. The loom proved an outstanding success, and these cards are now rightly viewed as the world s first computer programs. In this previously untold story, James Essinger brings to light a series of historical links that reveal the extraordinary relationship between the nineteenth-century world of weaving and today s computer age. Along the way, he introduces a cast of colourful, passionate and often eccentric characters. These include two of the most intriguing people in the history of science and technology: Charles Babbage, the great Victorian scientist and thinker, and the beautiful and witty Countess of Lovelace, Lord Byron s daughter, who played a crucial role in developing Babbage s work. The book also tells the stories of the other pioneers who helped transform the technology of the punched-card loom into the modern computer. People such as Herman Hollerith, the brilliant German-American inventor; Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM; and Howard Aiken, who built one of the world s very first computers. James Essinger concludes by bringing the story completely up-to-date with the latest developments in the World Wide Web and the fascinating phenomenon of artificial intelligence.
Hi everyone! Welcome to my author page on amazon!
My name is James Essinger and I write novels, non-fiction books, magazine articles and also I do some business writing. I also write novels and non-fiction books as a ghost-writer. In addition to this I have written a screenplay about Ada Lovelace called 'Ada's Thinking-Machine', and I am also involved with another writer and a composer in writing a musical about Ada.
I was born in the English Midlands city of Leicester in 1957 and went to Overdale Junior School, Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys and then Lincoln College, Oxford, where I studied English Language and Literature. I have an MA degree from Oxford University.
My surname is German. My late father Ted, who was born in 1922 and died in 2005, was born in Germany in a German Jewish family and came to the UK in July 1939, just six weeks before WW2 broke out. My grandfather Julius (my second Christian name is Julius) was killed in Auschwitz. My grandmother Rega and my uncle Uli also died during WW2. I am deeply sympathetic to the Jewish faith but my own religious position is essentially agnostic. I am a firm believer in the Law of Attraction.
I speak Finnish, French and German as well as English. From 1980 to 1983 I taught English in Finland in three nine-month contracts. I have been a freelance writer and public relations consultant since 1988.
I love writing, reading, chess, great music, cooking, socialising and also gardening though I don't have much time for that.
Writers I love include Shakespeare, Dickens, Conrad and George Orwell. My favourite Shakespeare play is 'As You Like It', my favourite Dickens works are 'A Christmas Carol' and 'Our Mutual Friend', and my favourite Conrad books are 'Heart of Darkness', 'Lord Jim' and 'Nostromo'.
Other books that have made a massive impact on me include DH Lawrence's 'Women in Love', William Styron's 'Sophie's Choice', Anthony Burgess's 'Earthly Powers', William Sutcliffe's 'Are You Experienced?' and Philip Kerr's 'A Philosophical Investigation'.
Movies I especially like include: 'Casablanca', 'Some Like It Hot', Mephisto', 'The Terminator', 'Les Visiteurs', 'Gladiator', 'Sideways' and the marvellous horror film 'Mama'. If I want a good laugh I like watching the movie 'Fat Slags' written by my friend William Osborne.
Poets whose work I love include John Keats, Lord Byron, Shelley, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Philip Larkin and my friend Valerie Cassar, whose recent collection 'Silence of Your Breath' is superb.
I am on Facebook and Twitter.
I am also the principal of Canterbury Literary Agency, which I founded in 2011. www.canterburyliteraryagency.com