A History of the Sewing Machine

The series of inventions and events that led to what we recognise today as theĀ Overlock sewing machine turned into an extremely important part of history. Here is an overview of several the inventors, their own gifts and we finally produced reality the dream of a machine which could take the labour out of sewing.

The first person to apply for a patent for a sewing machine was a British inventor named Thomas Saint at 1791, but his machine was not known to have ever been developed. The first real functioning sewing machine to be introduced as such to the entire world was in 1814 with an Austrian tailor Josef Madersperger, but no apparently working machine is thought to have come from his work.

In 1830 Barthlemy Thimonnier from France patented a functioning machine which was capable of sewing straight seams using a chain stitch. By 1841 he had a mill of these machines but it was allegedly sabotaged and burnt by French tailors, they were reported to have observed the existence of these machines as a threat to their tasks instead of the valuable work tool the sewing machine was. Thimonnier eventually came to England with a system and was apparently the first person to provide working machines available, in addition, he conducted a garment factory.

An American Walter Hunt devised the first lockstitch sewing machine in 1833. This system used 2 spools of thread with a eye pointed needle similar to machines of today, no matter how the machine needed resetting too frequently to be viable. The other American, John Greenough, produced a working machine in which the needle passed entirely through the fabric but was unable to create enough interest to produce the system for resale.

Elias Howe produced a machine much like that produced by Walter Hunt at 1845. There were a number of developments that made his system the most workable yet although he fought to gain financial backing. After attempting to sell his equipment in England he come back to the US to locate lots of folks had taken his thought and producing similar machines which apparently infringed his patent.

Isaac Merritt Singer was an engineer who chose to redesign the rotary sewing machine. His equipment used a flying distance instead of a rotary one; the needle was mounted vertically and included a presser foot to hold the fabric in place. It had a fixed arm to maintain the needle and included a basic tensioning system. Singer obtained an American patent for his machine in 1851he developed a foot pedal or treadle, for use with his machinery. Howe took Singer and a few others to court on patent breaches and was granted some compensation.

An interesting fact, if you find these things interesting, is that the first hire-purchase type payment scheme is reported to have first been brought about by Singer and an attorney named Edward Clark, and has been brought about so as to permit people to afford to purchase their own sewing machines. The success of this Singer sewing machines will be attributed more to the sales techniques used by Singer and Clark, rather than anything outstandingly different with their machines.

Through the years other partnerships and people introduced improvements and made more machines. There were over just a few squabbles over patents and threats to sue. Allen B Wilson and Nathaniel Wheeler made a more silent smoother machine under the Wheeler and Wilson Company manufacturing machines in the 1850s and 60s. As more individuals entered the design and creation of sewing machines’The Sewing Machine War’ came about as everyone tried to secure their own intellectual property, eventually, Singer, Howe, Wheeler and Wilson and Grove and Baker came together with their patents forming’The Sewing Machine Combination’ in 1856. This forced the other manufacturers to do things their way and pay a permit fee for the privilege.

Knitting machines were seen in 1877 in the form of a crochet machine, this was devised by a Joseph Merrow. This machine was in fact the first’overlock’ sewing machine and also The Merrow Machine Company still create overlock machines now.