The Bottom Line: Learn something new about sewing machines!
The Full Story:
- The earliest sewing needles were made of bone between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago.
- The first patent for a sewing machine is evidenced by a diagram, by the inventor Thomas Saint, and Englishman, in 1790, although there is a possibility that Charles Weisenthal, a German had already invented a machine 35 years earlier to go with a machine needle he had patented.
- The inventors Isaac Singer and Elias Howe from the United States, significantly improved the early designs of sewing machines in the 1840s and 1850s, and are often credited as the inventors of the appliance.
- Speaking of Howe, he also patented his “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure” seen by many as the first zipper in 1851, but he didn’t try to market it.
- Sewing machine production began in earnest in the 1850s, with the first saleable machines being those made by Isaac Singer, and they were used commercially.
- Why were these such a big deal? They cut down their sewing time from approximately 14 ½-hours by hand, to 1 hour using the machine.
- Sewing machines were first purchased by the general public in the 1860s – and by 1863, the Singer Manufacturing Company was selling 20,000 machines a year for home use.
- In 1863, during the American Civil War, Howe prided himself on the facts that more than a million soldiers were “clothed, kitted and covered by fabric sewn on machines using my inventions.”
- The first feasible electric sewing machine was invented in 1889, originally being powered by a bulky, outer motor, and by the early 1900s, they were a popular item in homes.