Home Sewing Machines – Find new and used home and commercial sewing machines.’It is astonishing how, in a few years, the sewing machine has made such strides in popular favor, [going from] a mechanical wonder [to] a household necessity …’ – Scientific American 1859
In 1791, when Thomas Saint first patented the design for a sewing machine, he only imagined that it might one day be used on tough fabrics such as canvas and leather.Difficult to sew by hand, British Inventor Saint envisioned a machine that would be used sewing boots together.Though he may have considered these machines as industrial sewing machines, his designs were never built in to a working model and a later attempt to do so resulted in a sewing machine that didn’t sew at all.
The Brit may have been sore to learn that instead, in 1830 a French tailor by the name of Barthelemy Thimmonier patented and built what was deemed the first practical sewing machine.The new sewing machine sewed a straight chain stitch seam using a hooked needle that was suitable for many different fabrics. He built 80 of his commercial sewing machine and put them in to use in a factory sewing French Army uniforms in the 1840s. Angry French tailors, however, fearing the sew machine and its challenge to their socioeconomic position, destroyed the factory, leaving Thimmonier bankrupt and hiding in England.
Ignoring the fates of earlier sewing machines and their creators, American Walter Hunt set out to build a sew machine that did not attempt to recreate the work of hand sewing. Instead, it produced a lockstitch and was the first machine to do so.Hunt did not see value in his machine, however, and sold it off without acquiring a patent.
In 1845, Elias Howe sought and won patent on a sew machine built on the principals of Hunt`s design with some modification.When he couldn’t sell his invention, even after repeatedly winning speed testing, he traveled back to the old sewing machine home of England and attempted to sell there. He was unsuccessful and when he returned home to the United States, he found his patent being infringed upon. He ultimately won lawsuits that made in a $2 millionaire by the time the patent lapsed in the late 1860s.Saint, Thimmonier, Hunt, and Howe may have invented the new sewing machine, but Isaac Merritt Singer made it, well, sing. Singer`s design pulled from the ideas of all his predecessors as well as his own background as a mechanic (his background in theater had little to do with the invention). More can be found about the Singer sewing history on the Singer Sewing Machines