History of Leavers Lace

In 1804 near Nottingham in England, a young mechanic called John Heathcoat observed the movement of lace-maker’s fingers as she created her tulle. He started dreaming of a machine doing the same job. Four years later, the first centimeters of tulle were created using his invention and this marvelous tool was exported to France. This is why still today, these machines are found in the North of France, just on the other side of the English Channel.

Chantilly Lace craftswoman, Caudry 1890.Chantilly Lace craftswoman, Caudry 1890.

At that same time, the French mechanic, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, invented a weaving loom which follows perforated cards. Following the example of the street organ, the holesof the card correspond to the threads which elaborately weave one after the other, creating Jacquard fabrics. Thus Leavers looms are born: large machines weighing between ten and fifteen tons, twelve meters in length from which today still the finest and most delicate lace comes: the lace of Calais!

Métier à dentelles le plus ancien de CaudryThe oldest Leavers loom in Caudry, France.