Jacquard Card Stamping / Card Cutting

Card Stamping / Card Cutting at Shaw Lodge Mills

Donald Halstead, card-cutting, 1982 Donald Halstead, card-cutting, 1982

Card Stamping or Card Cutting is the process of punching holes in Jacquard cards.
The operator works a punching machine, following the designer's instructions which are set out on Point-Paper. This is a highly skilled art, and takes many years of practice to become proficient.

Operating the card stamping machines that were used at John Holdsworth & Company Limited can be likened to typing on a keyboard, held upside-down whilst riding a bicycle and blind-folded.

Key people who have worked in this section of the business have been Edward Crossley, Ernest Edmund Jennings, Bill Sharp, Donald Halstead, (who served the company 50 years) and David Bradley.

Punched Jacquard Card Punched Jacquard Card, June 2000


The department's records go back only to the year 1915. At this time Edward Crossley was head card stamper. He had two assistants, their names not known.

All card lacing and repeating was done by hand - cards were cut using the 'plate machine'.

Two sets of cards were cut for each loom - one for the back jacquard and one for the front jacquard. The jacquard system was changed between 1933 and 1940 so that most looms then only needed one set of cards.


Donald Halstead, having worked previously in the weaving shed, joined the card stamping department in 1946 as apprentice to Edward Crossley. Ernest Edmund Jennings was also involved at this time, preparing point-papers for the design department for the card stamping.

William (Bill) Sharpe was also a card stamper, with Sam Sharpe working as a labourer and Sylvia (last name unknown) as a card lacer and repairer. Neil Fearnley joined the team for a few years. Bill and Donald worked together in the deparment until 1978.

David Bradley,  April 2001 David Bradley operating card stamping machine
April 2001


In 1978, David Bradley joined the department as apprentice to Donald Halstead, who was his uncle.
David's father Derek Bradley was at the time responsible for the jacquards, harnesses and reeds used in the weaving operation.
David remained in the position of card stamper for John Holdsworth & Company Limited until the year 2005.


Computerisation of jacquard selection systems commenced during the late 1990s on most jacquard looms led to the reduced need for card stamping, and by the end of 2005 there was virtually no need for the card stamping process at all. Hence the card stamping department ceased functioning in December 2005.

© 2019 David W. Holdsworth  

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