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Sewing machine

A sewing machine is a mechanical device designed for sewing.

History of the sewing machine

On July 9, 1819, Elias Howe[?], inventor of the sewing machine, was born in Spencer[?], Massachusetts. After he lost his factory job in the Panic of 1837, Howe moved to Boston, where he found work in a machinist's shop. It was here that he began tinkering with the idea of inventing a mechanical sewing machine.

Eight years later, he demonstrated his machine to the public. At 250 stitches a minute, Howe's lockstitch mechanism outstitched five hand sewers with a reputation for speed. He patented the invention on September 10, 1846 which was well after John J. Greenough[?] patented his sewing machine (February 21, 1844).

For the next nine years Howe struggled, first to enlist interest in his machine, then to protect his patent from imitators. His lockstitch mechanism was adopted by others who were developing innovations of their own.

During this period, Isaac Singer invented the up-and-down motion mechanism, and Allen Wilson[?] developed a rotary hook shuttle. Howe fought a legal battle with these inventors to see that his rights in the invention were recognized, winning one of his suits in 1856. The three inventors pooled their patent rights in the Sewing Machine Combination[?], under which patent the sewing machine was successfully marketed for many years.

The first mechanical sewing machines were used in garment factory production lines. It was not until 1889 that a sewing machine for use in the home was designed and marketed. By 1905, the electrically-powered sewing machine was in wide use.

After successfully defending his right to a share in the profits of his invention, Howe saw his annual income jump from three hundred to more than two hundred thousand dollars a year. Between 1854 and 1867, Howe earned close to two million dollars from his invention. During the Civil War, he donated a portion of his wealth to equip an infantry regiment for the Union Army and served in the regiment as a private.

See also : home appliance.

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