History of the sewing machine

11/09/2021

In 1755 a German named Charles Fredrick Wiesenthal patented a mechanical instrument that made sewing easier. It was something as simple as a needle with two ends and a buttonhole on the end. Enough to be considered the first sewing machine in history. 

Thirty-five years later, in 1790, an English-born cabinetmaker who went by the name of Thomas Saint, created a machine for sewing with a chain stitch. This contraption was ideal for sewing leather pieces and boat sails.

A little later, in 1834, the American inventor Walter Hunt, created the first closed stitch machine; but since he did not patent it at the time of its invention, when he tried later, his request was dismissed by default. While another American inventor, Elias Howe, developed a machine that had the same elements as Hunt's and did patent it in 1846. Despite the bad taste, three years later Hunt would go down in history for inventing the "safety pin." 

The truth is that, if we analyze the evolution of sewing with the magnifying glass of history, we will see that many tailors have joined the list of inventors by including small improvements in existing machines, as is the case of our protagonist of today, Isaac Merritt Singer. 

       Wisenthal                          Hunt                              Howe                                       Singer 

Orson C. Phelps ran a shop that manufactured sewing machines under license from John A. Lerow and repaired Lerow and Blodgett machines. While there, Phelps asked Singer to look at those sewing machines that are so difficult to use and produce. After looking at it, Isaac concluded that it would be more reliable if the movements of the shuttle were in a straight line, that is, from front to back instead of circular ... and it was clear to him. After 11 days of work and a cost of $ 40, in 1851 Isaac Merritt Singer patented and developed a machine that could sew 900 stitches per minute, a far cry from the 40 stitches per minute that a seasoned seamstress could produce. 

Its main characteristics were: obviously a straight shuttle, a suspension arm, a needle with an eye at the end closest to the fabric and a presser foot that held the stretched fabric on a horizontal support. This last detail made it easy to sew in any direction. Finally the machine was operated by means of a pedal. This was quite an innovation because until then it was done by hand using a simple crank. 

Some elements of this apparatus were clearly inspired by the machine that Elias Howe invented four years ago. He denounced him and won the trial but until it was held, Singer continued working and developing improvements such as a device for the tension of the thread that he patented in 1852. 

The point is, under the name I. M. Singer & Co., Isaac sold machines for $ 100 a unit. Its practicality for sewing and the ease with which it was adapted to domestic use, cemented the success of the company. Just two years after its invention, Singer opened a subsidiary, built a production facility in New York, and changed its corporate name to Singer Manufacturing Company. 

Today's sewing machines are true beams of technology, one of them is the best-selling electronic sewing machine on the market. The Singer Quantum Sylist 9960 is one of the most advanced you can find on the market. Its 600 types of stitch give rise to all kinds of projects. Utility stitches, flexible stitches, decorative stitches ... Adjustable stitch length up to 5 mm and its width up to 7 mm. We must add its 13 automatic buttonholes. 24 needle positions Its operation is carried out through its complete LCD console, which is a technological wonder. With 5 alphabets and memory functions among others, it has many quite interesting features to explain in this summary. 

The Singer Quantum Sylist 9960 is 43.5 x 20.5 x 30.5 cm in size and weighs 10 kg.

Sources: 

https://www.brandstocker.com/singer-y-el-origen-de-las-maquinas-de-sew/