Monday, January 16, 2012

Sewing Machines

If you don’t know already…I love sewing machines!  I have a pretty decent collection of new and used machines ranging from 10-99 years old. 

You can’t use and see as many sewing machines as I have without beginning to think about how sewing machines got started. 

I did a little research and wanted to share a little info about how sewing machines came to be...

Prior to the sewing machine invention all sewing was done by hand.  This took a lot of time and kept pre-made clothes from being anywhere near affordable.   Small items such as double pointed needles were invented in attempts to speed up sewing, but it still wasn’t the breakthrough that was needed.

In 1846 Elias Howe invented and patented the first automatic sewing machine. 

Eight years later Isaac Singer patented the first home sewing machine. 

Singer was inspired by Howe’s machine, but as a trained engineer he made multiple improvements on the design.  Singer also invented the foot (or treadle) powered machine which further enhanced his clever design.  However, as you can imagine, Howe found out about Singer’s machines and started some legal trouble.  Several inventors ended up coming together to create the Sewing Machine Combination to share the patents. 

In 1889, machines began to turn electric.  The first electric machines had a small motor strapped to the side as though it wasn’t a real part of the design.  As more and more homes added electricity the motors became an integrated part of the sewing machine casing.

After learning all this it’s incredible how little sewing machines have changed in the last 100+ years…and really since 1854.  Improvements have been made, but the basics are all still the same. 

All of my machines have the same type of bobbin, they have variable stich sizes, they also all have feed dogs, presser feet, and foot/knee pedals.  Sure, higher end sewing machines have become a lot more technical and computerized.  However at the end of the day I would rather use a 50-60 year old sewing machine than anything else!

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