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Find Out About the History of the Sewing Machine


The History of Sewing Machines

The sewing machine has proven itself to be an invaluable invention in various and businesses. Textile factories and clothing production lines are but two of the industries that have long relied on the unparalleled speed and accuracy of sewing machines. Large businesses understand how frequently these machines are used for much more than you may think – from the materials and clothes we wear, to the embroidery accessories that individuals fashion.

These machines have become so ubiquitous in our daily lives that it’s easy to forget this type of machinery once did not exist. This begs the question, when, who and why was the sewing machine invented?

As a leading supplier of industrial embroidery machines, we have researched the origin of this great invention; here’s a history of the sewing machine.

What Inspired this Creation?

Before the creation of the sewing machine, everything was produced and stitched by hand. As a business, you can imagine how long the process would take to manually create stock. Without machinery to help, the efforts would be provided solely by the individual.

With businesses growing and an increase in stock needed, a faster and more efficient method was needed – enter the sewing machine.

The Sewing Machine’s First Design

The origin of the sewing machine dates back to the 18th century, when, in 1790, an Englishman named Thomas Saint drew up detailed designs for the first machine of its kind, in his attempt to create a device that could stitch leather.

Thomas Saint decided to patent his design as an entire new method of making shoes, boots, spatterdashes and clogs. However, no one knows if Saint actually built any of these designs; but in 1874 a gentleman named William Newton Wilson found the patent for Thomas Saint’s machine. The original drawings were in such good condition, Wilson was able to build the sewing machine, proving that it did in fact work.

The Failed Attempts

With all inventions, the first attempt is never the final. It takes numerous tests, retrials and changes to produce what the inventor envisioned. This was certainly the case with the sewing machine. Here’s a look at some of the unsuccessful attempts to create this famous invention:

  • In 1810, a German inventor named Balthasar Krems invented an automatic sewing machine. However, in the end this design did not work.
  • In 1814, an Austrian tailor named Josef Madersperger claimed he had invented a successful sewing machine; although his persistence was clear through his many attempted designs, all of them failed.
  • In 1818, two Americans named John Adams Doge and John Knowles, designed the first American sewing machine. However, the machine only sewed minor bits of fabric before it malfunctioned.


Who Was Elias Howe?

In America, Walter Hunt, a famous inventor began to build his own sewing machine in 1832. His simple design consisted of a machine which used two needles. However, he abandoned his design in 1838. During this same time, Elias Howe was working on his own sewing machine design.

In 1846, Howe patented his machine which was almost the exact replica of Hunt’s design. After a series of unfortunate life events, Howe pawned his machines and patent papers in London. After witnessing the popularity of sewing machines that were copied from his designs, Howe began taking other inventors to court, where he won all of his patent lawsuits.

Without the sewing machine, the textile industry would look incredibly different to how we know it today – they allow for the mass production of quality merchandise, allowing businesses to work faster and more efficiently, meeting demands of consumers. 

At Stocks, we offer a huge variety of industrial sewing machines from leading manufacturers, offering you the most efficient solutions. With our experience, we can help you find the ideal industrial sewing machine for your business. To find out more, get in touch with us today.