the Sewing Machine?
the history of the sewing machine immediately raises the question
of the identity of its inventor. Many argue over the name of the father
of the sewing machine. These "specialists" often tend to credit one
of their countrymen for the invention. Thus, most Anglo-Saxon encyclopaedias
name Walter Hunt and Elias Howe as inventors of the sewing machine.
In 1834, the former built a machine that used two spools and an eyed-needle
but could only sew a short seam. As for Howe, he created his first
prototype in 1846 in Massachusetts, United States. Still in the United
States, Morey & Johnson patented a chain stitch (one thread) sewing
machine in 1849. Isaac Merritt Singer comes into the history of the
sewing machine as late as in 1851, and only to improve Howe's invention.
Howe then sued him for patent infringement. Singer's innovations were
mainly on the marketing level - he devised the hire purchase system
and aggressive sales techniques; which allowed him to build his empire.
before them, a French tailor living in Amplepuis, Rhône (69),
France, had conceived a chain stitch machine capable of sewing 200
stitches per minute (a tailor sews about 30 stitches per minute).
As early as 1929 Barthélemy Thimonnier
had conceived the sewing machine he patented the following year,
in 1830. It was a continuous thread "Couseuse" (the same machine
as Morey and Johnson "re-invented" in 1849).
had tried before him, but vainly. Charles Weisenthal had patented
a needle designed for mecanical sewing but there was no mention
of a machine. Englishman Thomas Saint had patented a sewing machine
but had never built it. Moreover, in the 1880s, when it was attempted
to build a machine from the patent's drawings it was obvious that
it could not work without dramatic improvement.
John Admans Doge and John Knowles also tried to build a machine, but it
could only sew short length of fabric before laborious resetting was necessary.
Barthélémy Thimonnier is the
first man to have build and patented a sewing machine actually capable
of replacing hand sewing. Moreover, his machine was used to sew the French
troops' uniforms. In less than ten years, a factory equipped with eighty
machines was opened.
is doubtlessly the first to have conceived a sewing machine worthy of
the name, sold it and to have equipped a clothes workroom.
here to discover Thimonnier's invention
Have a look
at Singer's version
of the history of the invention of the sewing machine. It's commented!