Jacquard, Joseph Marie Charles, weaver and early ‘computer programmer’ (1752-1834). Handwritten receipt for rent, signed "J. C. Jacquard".

Oullins, 19. V. 1823.

19 x 11 cm, docketed in a contemporary hand on verso. Also signed by a certain Madame Fleury.


Jacquard spent his retirement in Oullins, just outside Lyon, where he died in 1834. "He played an important role in the development of the earliest programmable loom (the ‘Jacquard loom’), which in turn played an important role in the development of other programmable machines, such as computers" (Center for Computing History). Charles Babbage (1791-1871) would go on to adapt Jacquard’s programmable loom into his celebrated (but never completed) ‘Analytical Engine’, which ran on Jacquardian punch-cards.

The text reads: "Nous soussigniés avons recus de Monsieur Dombre la somme de Deux cents cinquante francs, pour le segond [sic] et dernier demi Terme, des Apartments que nous lui avons loués a Oullin, le tous conforme au Bail que nous avons passers Double a Lyon le 23 Septembre 1822" ("We the undersigned have received from Monsieur Dombre the sum of two hundred and fifty francs, for the second and last half-term, of the apartments which we rented to him in Oullin, all in accordance with the lease which we both signed in Lyon on 23 September 1822").

Jacquard autographs are formidably rare in the trade. The only recorded specimen, a 2½ page manuscript by Jacquard about his loom, commanded $26,400 at Christie's in 2005.