Today we celebrate the sewing machine!
As quilters, sewers, or just plain fabric lovers, where would we be without this amazing tool?
(Well, we'd still stitching by hand, which is great too, but...)
From the early days of improving stitch efficiency to today's high tech options of computerized long arm quilting machines and embroidery machines, the sewing machine has changed this art form forever.
Did you know that the history of the sewing machine contains more twists and turns than you might imagine? Keep reading for a brief summary of some interesting facts (you'll be prepared for any sewing machine trivia thrown at you at your next guild meeting!):
When was the sewing machine first invented?
An Englishman named Thomas Saint invented and patented the first sewing machine design for leather and canvas in 1790, but no evidence remains that he created a working model, and attempts to recreate his design were unsuccessful.
French inventor Barthelemy Thimonnier patented a sewing machine that replicated hand sewing in 1830, and planned to use it to make uniforms for French soldiers--the first machine-based clothing manufacturer in the world. Click here to read more, including why the factory was burned down before he ever started.
Why do we celebrate on September 10?
In 1846, Elias Howe received a U.S. patent for his sewing machine design on this date.
Read more about his design, including a story about how he came up with the idea of placing the needle eye near the tip based on a dream that included a savage king, warriors, and death threats (seriously!), here.
Howe's sewing machine included three key features we still use today:
- a needle with the eye at the point,
- a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to form the lock stitch, and
- an automatic feed.
You can read more of the history of sewing machines here, from the International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society.
Have you hugged your sewing machine today?!