One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mechanism attached to a loom for weaving small patterns similar to but simpler than those produced by a Jacquard loom.
Late 19th century: perhaps an application of the given name Dobbie, from Dob (alteration of the given name Rob). The usage is probably an extension of the earlier sense ‘benevolent elf’ (who performed household tasks secretly).
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