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Sewing Machine development history

Sewing Machine development history

Charles Fredrick Wiesenthal, a German-born engineer working in England was awarded the first British patent for a mechanical device to aid the art of sewing, in 1755. His invention consisted of a double pointed needle with an eye at one end.

In 1790, the English inventor Thomas Saint invented the first sewing machine design, but he did not successfully advertise or market his invention. His machine was meant to be used on leather and canvas material. It is likely that Saint had a working model but there is no evidence of one; he was a skilled cabinet maker and his device included many practically functional features: an overhanging arm, a feed mechanism (adequate for short lengths of leather), a vertical needle bar, and a looper.

The first Singer machine specially designed for family sewing was commonly known as "the Turtle Back" and was produced in 1856. It had a vibrating overhanging shaft, for actuating the needle-bar, and a reciprocating shuttle. Motion was given to the mechanism from the rocking treadle through a driving wheel carrying a broad leather belt capable of carrying much greater power than was required for its purpose.

Barthelemy Thimonnier(August 19, 1793 in L'Arbresle, Rhône - July 5, 1857 in Amplepuis), was a French inventor, who invented the first sewing machine that replicated sewing by hand.

In 1874, a sewing machine manufacturer, William Newton Wilson, found Saint's drawings in the London Patent Office, made adjustments to the looper, and built a working machine, currently owned by the London Science Museum.

Newton Wilson's zig-zag version of the "Princess of Wales" carried the marque "England's Queen". The mechanism for activating this feature was poorly engineered and prone to failure. In turn, this has resulted in few surviving examples.

The "Princess of Wales" was Newton Wilson's largest selling lockstitch model during the 1870s.The ornate castings proved very popular with the British Victorian middle classes


Produced in France during the 1870s, this splendid domestic lockstitch model was marketed with the "Pierre Bouche"

Theriault's Antique Doll Auctions Child's Size Cast Iron Sewing Machine - 6" (15 cm.) Heavy cast iron sewing machine with very ornate base,original black painted base with gilt stenciling. Late 19th century. Excellent condition.

A fine National Express chain stitch machine adorns this elegant pedestal style treadle. Newton Wilson widely advertised this particular stand as suitable for many of his machines throughout the 1870s.

Little Comfort. The photo shows one of several variants of this well known early 20th century miniature, produced by Smith & Egge, USA. The chain pulley gave an improved drive ratio as compared with the standard crank version.

Named the "Little Belle" and produced during the 1870's, this pretty miniature chain stitch machine features a forward-facing drive wheel. It is reasonable to assume that it must have been a relative commercial failure for very few examples have survived.

Britannia 1870s. The combination features a Wheeler & Wilson style head, mounted on a delightfully ornate tripod treadle of the company's own registered design. Today this model can be considered very rare


The Dorman Portable Lockstitch Machine was manufactured in Northampton, U.K. during the late 1880's. The machine itself is mainly fabricated from pressed steel. The heavy iron base (for stability) was an optional extra. This example features the rare and desirable pyramidal walnut cabinet.

Secor Fairy Sewing Machine, Bridgeport, Connecticut, c. 1885, the cast iron body marked Fairy, built-in adjustable "C" clamp with tightening screw, geared mechanism, and circular bedplate, ht. 8 in. Sold $1.353,00

Based at Park Works, Leeds, UK, during the 1870's, Arthur Nussey and Altham Pilling produced this now very collectable domestic lockstitch. Named "The Little Stranger", the machine makes use of W.Taylor's patented elliptical path shuttle motion. This avoids the stop-start disadvantage found on many boat shuttle machines.

Ehrenfelder, 1895

Produced by The Britannia Sewing machine Company, Colchester, England, this highly ornate treadle is one of the UK's most collectable combinations. The machine head is based on the commonly copied Wheeler Wilson rotary shuttle type. This model was manufactured for several years from the late 1860s.

Whight & Mann first offered the "Alberta" during the 1860s. Today, this very rare treadle can be considered one of the most desirable English combinations. A foldback full cover version was also marketed.



SGK20-8 AUTOMATIC REFUELING BAG CLOSER SEWING MACHINE is equipped with gear pump, especially suitable to working under the circumstances with a great deal of powder or strong caustic gas. The machine is professional equipment for closing all kinds of paper and plastic woven bags. It can be widely used in the department of chemical, fertilizer, building, material, mine, port and sore 

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