THIMONNIER (1793-1857) I
: 1793 - 1832
has freed women from one of their servitudes
To tell the truth, the noble life of Thimonnier should be taught in schools.
Thimonnier was born on 19 August 1793 in L'Arbresle, Rhône (69),
France. The elder of seven he studies for a while at Saint jean seminary
in Lyon and in 1795 he takes the trade of tailor and sets up his business
in Amplepuis which he will leave after his wife's death. He marries a
embroideress in January 1822. thus, in 1823 he moves to the neighbourhood
of Saint-Etienne in a place named 'Les Forges'.
garments all day long, Thimonnier soon starts to think about sewing
with the help of a mecanical device. He had certainly noticed the
stitch used by the workwomen in the Lyon region to crochet - they
could make the stitches so fast and almost in a 'mecanical' way...
It was the chain stitch, the very stitch he uses for his mecanical
sewing. Thus, Thimonnier completes his "Couseuse",
that is his first sewing machine, in Valbenoite in 1829.
a tailor, even though he is smart enough to invent a sewing machine,
Thimonnier has problems to derive money from his invention alone,
so he associates with Aguste Ferrand, a tutor in the Ecole des Mines
in Saint-Etienne. he signs a private agreement in which he agrees
upon building a second "mecanical loom" while "Mr.
Ferrand agrees to make all drawings, reports and applications"
necessary for the patent "in both the contracting parties' names"
as well as "finding the sum of money necessary to the application
of the said patent". Note that the patent is to be "in both
the contracting parties' names" whereas Thimonnier is the actual
clever inventor of a machine capble of sewing 200 stitches per minute
(a tailor sew 30 in a minute).
Reconstruction of Thimonnier's workshop
at the at the Sewing Machine and Cycle
Museum in Amplepuis.
patent is issued on 17 July 1830. But Thimonnier had gone to Paris
before the patent was issued. Thanks to generous investors, he had
founded the first company whose "unique and special aim is to
exploit, in France and aboard, Thimonnier and Ferrand's invention
of the sewing machine and, eventuallty, of its by product". The
contrat was signed on 8 June 1830 and read that the company's "coporate
name will be Germain Petit and Co. The head office is set up
at 155 rue de Sèvres.
The first page of the patent
In the morning
of 20 January 1831 about 200 tailors ransacked the rue de Sèvres factory.
They destroyed eighty Couseuses and threw the pieces out through the windows.
They considered these machines that they nicknamed "arm-breakers",
as dangerous competitors.
Couseuse at the Sewing Machine
and Cycle Museum in Amplepuis
had to flee for his life. As he was the victim of thearts from the
tailors Thimonnier withdrew from the Company and left Paris. Before
him, another man from Lyon had beenn through the same ordeal - the
Canuts (Lyon's textile workers) had threatened Joseph Jacquard (1752-1834)
with throwing him into the Rhône river and had destroyed his first
Germain Petit and Co company broke up after one of the most important
investors, M. Beaunier. The very man who had created the first animal
haulaged railway between Saint Etienne and Andrézieux.