Saturday, July 11, 2020

First American patent for a sewing machine

Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the quantum of manual sewing done in garment industries.

The first practical and widely used sewing machine was patented in France by Barthélemy Thimonnier, a French tailor, on July 17, 1830. The machine is made of wood and uses a barbed needle which passes downward through the cloth to grab the thread and pull it up to form a loop to be locked by the next loop.

On February 21, 1842 the first American patent was issued, to John Greenough, for an invention actually called a ‘sewing machine’. The model used a needle with two points and an eye in the middle. To make a stitch, the needle would completely pass through the material by means of a pair of pinchers on either side of the seam. The pinchers traveled on a rack and opened and closed automatically.

Greenough worked at the Patent Office from 1837 to 1841, supervising draftsmen who were restoring the patent drawings lost in the disastrous 1836 fire. Later he became an attorney working mostly on patent cases, and established a patent agency in New York City.

In 1873 Isaac M. Singer established his sewing machine factory on Newark bay. The factory was built on a 32-acre plot and once had a workforce of six thousand. In 1889, the machines run by electricity were designed with motors fixed in them.
First American patent for a sewing machine

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