Joanny Barthélemy Jabouley

Joanny Barthélemy Jabouley is a French mechanic born in 1884 in Villeurbanne and inventor in 1928 of the first circular loom. He died in Lyon in 1965.


Joanny Barthélemy Jabouley

Joanny Jabouley

Born on September 29, 1884 in Lyon,  Midi Street (renamed Dedieu street) Charpennes district, grandson of a weaver inventor of a planet to shape velvet, son of a master tulist, he left school at twelve before his certificate of studies to become a textile mechanic, first as an apprentice at Johnson, builder of looms at the Charpennes. After five years of military service in the navy in Toulon, starting in 1904, he returned in 1909 to work with his brother Francis and his father Barthélemy Serve in the family workshop. He married Jeanne Marie Lavy on July 17th,1909 in Villeurbanne. They had four children (André, Germaine, Georges, Lucien). On the death of his parents, the workshop modernized under the name of Jabouley Brothers and became more prosperous. The First World War took him away from his studio for four years. But the postwar period brought about profound changes in clothing. Ruined by the significant decline in the demand for tulle in clothing, Joanny Jabouley lost his workshop found himself without resources, while his brother Francis Jabouley went alone into other productions that became the Dentelles Jabouley in Saint-André-le-Gaz (Isère).  He died on 9 March 1965 in Lyon, France.

Joanny Jabouley and Préfet Henri Longchambon (right)

Joanny Jabouley and Préfet Henri Longchambon (right)

It was by trying to construct a model of a loom for his eldest son, André, that came to him the idea of designing a craft allowing to put more than one frame at a time, which would allow an enormous gain of productivity. After several years of prototyping, and despite the skepticism surrounding him, he developed a rotary weaving machine with a rotating chain and helices. He succeeded in doing so in 1923. A year of additional work and the establishment of a "continuous loom company, Joanny Jabouley system" enabled him to design a new craft to lay six frames at a time. This prototype seduced the three Diederichs brothers, loom builders in Sainte-Colombe-les-Vienne. The machine was exhibited in 1927 at the Lyon Fair. The Chamber of Commerce of Lyons, however, only granted him a silver medal. It was also presented in Leipzig, Germany.

The first large craft of this type (3.4m in circumference) made it possible to obtain a better quality fabric at a speed of 240m of frame per minute, that is to say much higher than that of the conventional looms of the 'time. The circular comb of the loom is an endless comb, enabling, with rollers pushing the threads in one direction or the other, to realize the movement of taffeta. The key to the mechanism of Joanny Jabouley lies in the immobilization of the shuttles and in the rotation of the chain around them. The unwinding of the weft is effected by a needle rotating about the axis of the thread carrying spool, thus maintaining a constantly equal tension.

Joanny Jabouley's circular loom

Le métier à tisser rotatif de Joanny Jabouley

Advantages: smaller footprint, wider weaving, speed, reduced downtime, a single operator can operate several looms, ease to change for very different items, adapt to obtain fabrics that are not executable on the traditional looms.

Not finding in France an industrialist able and willing to pursue the development of the machine, he left around 1933 with his family to work in England, Spondon, next to Derby, and registered with Robert Yeadon a patent in 1935 with the US Patent Office. Robert Yeadon subsequently pursued development with Frank Corbyn Hale (US Patents US2101022A and US2080819A of 1937).

Back in France around 1935, he settled in Rochetaillée-sur-Saône.

Joanny Jabouley s'intéressa également à la mise au point de métiers à tisser silencieux, semi-circulaires et continu, sans navettes, ni battants (breveté S.G.D.G.). 

Jabouley Looms Documentation

The commercial documentation indicated:

Operating economy
With equal production, and on one side only, our new loom saves 80% of labor cost over the fastest inline loom. Semi rotary, very simple mechanically and using a relatively slow movement, it does not cause any wear, eliminates the down time and considerably reduces the costs of power (1/4 horse).

Capital saving
Thanks to its sale price, it achieves a significant saving of the capital employed (double loom).

Two looms are assembled to reduce work space; this allows the following dimensions for the two twinned and independent looms: Length 2.50m, Width 1.50m, Height 2.80.

Main Features
Our first series of looms for taffeta movements is made without a comb-beating and without a shuttle, the material therefore undergoes no friction and no fatigue, which allows for almost no breakage. No more shuttles, no more stops for frame changes, this one being outside, the tightening of the weft, progressive and mechanical, gives an embuvage, a flexibility and a grain to the fabric which one cannot obtain on the current looms.
We will then build looms to weave twill, and with independent weft movements, allowing the weaving of Scottish fabrics with a large number of colors.


United States Patent Office :
US1968041A 31 July 1934 "Apparatus for textile operations".
US2002091A 21 May 1935 "Guiding or spacing of yarns in warp form".
US2080775A 03 August 1935 "Shedding mechanism for circular looms".
US2055604A 29 September 1936 "Stop-motion for circular looms".

Canadian Intellectual Property Office :
CA283590 "Circular loom for weaving / le métier à tisser continu "Système J. Jabouley" (Société à Responsabilité Limitée) 25 September 1928.

Bibliography et Sources

"Mr. JABOULEY (from Rochetaillée-sur-Saône) has developed a WEAVING TRIM WITHOUT SWING OR SHUTTLE ... and which works without any noise",
("M. JABOULEY (de Rochetaillée-sur-Saône) a mis au point UN METIER A TISSER SANS BATTANT NI NAVETTE... et qui fonctionne sans aucun bruit"),
Newspaper L'espoir, Monday 02 January 1950, pages 1 et 4, by Etienne Massardier.

"A new era is opening up for weaving: I saw the first silent and shuttle-free weaving machine rolling in. Following Jacquard, the name of Joanny Jabouley will soon be known around the world, from our special correspondent on May 16th at Rochetaillée,
("Une ère nouvelle s'ouvre pour le tissage : j'ai vu marcher la première machine à tisser silencieuse et sans navette. A la suite de Jacquard, le nom de Joanny Jabouley sera bientôt connu dans le monde entier". De notre envoyé spécial le 16 Mai à Rochetaillée"),
Newspaper Le Progrès de Lyon, 16 May 1949, by Jean Bouvard.

"Historical turn in the textile: The Lyonnais JABOULEY realizes in Fontaines-sur-Saône, the first silent looms"
("Tournant historique dans le textile : Le Lyonnais JABOULEY réalise à Fontaines-sur-Saône, les premiers métiers à tisser silencieux"),
Newspaper La République de Lyon, Thursday 12 May 1949, pages 1 et 2, by Noël Echevet.

"THistorical turn in the textile: The Lyonner JABOULEY builds in Fontaines-sur-Saône the first silent looms. In a few days, they will work in St-André-le-Gaz".
"Tournant historique dans le textile : Le Lyonnais JABOULEY réalise à Fontaines-sur-Saône les premiers métiers à tisser silencieux. Dans quelques jours ils fonctionneront à St-André-le-Gaz". 
Newspaper Le Progrès de Lyon, Thursday 12 May 1949, pages 1 et 2, by Noël Echevet.

"About the circular loom, the invention of Joanny Jabouley,"
"A propos du métier à tisser circulaire, l'invention de Joanny Jabouley"), 
Newspaper Le Progrès de Lyon, 04 April 1948

"The Jabouley-Diederichs weaving loom"
("La rotative à tisser Jabouley-Diederichs"),
By Dr. Clément Sahuc. Imprimeries Réunies, Lyon, 1931, 44 pages. Mark D1697 at the Historical Museum of Fabrics and Decorative Arts (Musée Historique des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs) of Lyon, France.

"A new Jacquard"
("Un nouveau Jacquard"), 
Newspaper Le Progrès de Lyon, 15 March 1928.

"The new rotary loom of Lyon mechanic Joanny Jabouley"
("Le nouveau métier rotatif du mécanicien lyonnais Joanny Jabouley"),
L'illustré de Paris-France-Colonies, Easter 1928.

Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole

Musée Historique des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs de Lyon - 34 rue de la Charité - F-69002 Lyon, France - 

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 Last update : 20200510 12:00