PRIZE-WINNING WOVEN BOOK FEATURED AT THE 1889 PARIS WORLD’S FAIR
[Horae] Livre de Prières Tissé d’après les enluminures des manuscrits du XIVe au XVIe siècle
[Book of Prayers woven after illuminations in manuscripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth century]
In Latin and French, illustrated book on silk
Lyon, R. P. J. Hervier, designer; J.A. Henry, fabricator, for A. Roux, 1886-1887
This unorthodox Book of Prayers is entirely machine-woven of gray and black silk. Faced with coming up with a submission for the world’s fair of 1889, artisans in the textile capital of Lyons programed Jacquard looms with hundreds of punch-cards. So difficult was the project that this is the only woven book ever produced. Competition at the fair was unusually stiff – the main attraction was, after all, the Eiffel Tower! Not to mention Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. The woven book nevertheless won a Grand Prize. It is now renowned as a proto-type for the computer.