The first machine in the home was the sewing
machine. At the time during the 1850's it was seen to be a miracle
that a machine could do such a fiddly task like sewing.
The first ever patent of a sewing machine was in 1790 by Thomas
Saint. It used a chain stitch that is popular in embroidery, this
way he could use a needle with a hook at the bottom on a single
thread. It is very doubtful if Saint ever built a machine because
when one was reproduced from the original plans several years
later it had to be heavily modified to work.
The first practical use of a sewing machine was seen in 1829,
after years of failure a French inventor named Barthelemy
Thimmoniér had perfected the chain stitch machine. By 1841 he had
his first patent and 80 machines sewing army clothes in a Paris
factory. He was later ruined when a mob of angry tailors fearing
their livelihood broke into the factory and destroyed all the
machines. Thimmoniér later died penniless.
Although the chain stitch machine did work reasonably well it was
not perfect. The stitch pulled apart very easily and was not very
neat. The Forerunner to today's machines was invented in America
by Walter Hunt in 1834. It used a lockstitch and was very
complicated compared to previous machines due to the need for two
threads. He did not patent his design at the time of invention and
when he tried later to obtain a patent he was not allowed, as he
had abandoned the project earlier.
In 1845 the lockstitch machine was perfected by an American named
Elias Howe. He patented his machine and took it to England where
he sold the patent rights. At first all machines looked and
functioned differently, but by the 20th century they all looked
alike mainly due to the market dominance of the Singer brand.
Isaac Merrit Singer was a American mechanic who loved the theatre
and in 1839 he sold a design for an excavator for $2000. With that
money he set up a theatre company, called The Merrit Players, that
went bankrupt after a few years. In 1851 he found an early sewing
machine, convinced he could do better he built his first prototype
in just eleven days. It was not a very original Design and Singer
was sued by Howe for infringing his patent. This entitled Howe to
royalties for all sewing machines built in the U.S. Singer was
Brilliant at selling his machines and with a lawyer named Clark he
set up the first ever hire purchase scheme. Another policy the
company had was to destroy any trade in received so they would
reduce the second hand market. By 1867 he was very rich and had 18
children to various wives and mistresses. Clark had persuaded him
to move to Torquay in England where he died in 1875 with 24
The only other major patents was in 1850 when the rotary bobbin
and the four motion feed was patented by the American inventor
Allen Benjamin Wilson. and the foot that holds the material down
was patented by Singer.
Although the Style of machine was perfected it was not until the
1920's that the electric motor was added. Previously they
experimented with steam, water and clockwork but most early
machines used the foot operated treadle. With Electricity they
really took off and decreased the cost and expanded the range of
"off the shelve" clothing stores, thus reducing the home machine
to just a hobby today.
John Logie Baird is often
considered the inventor of
Television his original design is
far different from the sets that first became popular. his
design was mechanical in part and only could display 30 lines.