The invention of the sewing machine is considered one of the most valuable inventions in the world.
It is so because more than anything else, it freed women from sewing clothes with their hands. Hand stitching took a lot of time and effort to do.
This machine had a needle and thread attached to it that was able to sew or repair material (mostly cloth, but other types later on too).
The invention of the sewing machine in 1846 by Elias Howe, an American inventor, increased clothes production like never before, and freed women from hand stitching too.
Even though Howe got credit for inventing the sewing machine, actually the sewing machine existed even before he was born.
Many inventors starting from as early as 1790 when Thomas Saint of England made the first device that could be called a sewing machine that he used for stitching shoes and boots.
From then on till about the 1840s, for various reasons these many machines were never licensed or had some small problem that did not allow large scale clothes production.
Elias Howe’s invention was considered special because his machine had an eye pointed needle and shuffle, and he received a licence for his product, a first during that time.
The problem with his machine was that it could only sew straight and just a few stitches at a time. However, Howe’s machine got the ball rolling in sewing machine invention.
Isaac Merrit Singer, also an American like Howe, improved his idea and invented a truly practical sewing machine in 1850.
Even though it was rather big, and a bit difficult to operate, it operated on principles that are still used in sewing machines today.
The best part about his machine is that it was able to sew many stitches continuously, and sew in any direction not just straight.
Because of this rather collective history, no one person can realistically take credit for inventing the sewing machine. The sewing machine was the result of many great minds.
Singer and Howe battled for many years over the invention and improvement of the sewing machine.
Other inventors like Allen B. Wilson, John Bradshaw, and Nathaniel Wheeler contributed to the improvement of the sewing machine through the years by developing little gadgets.
In the middle of all this, with the sewing machine gaining so much fame, different companies started building sewing machines, which lead to law battles, that was called the ‘Sewing Machine War’.
In 1856 the major names in the sewing machine industry formed the ‘Sewing Machine Combination’. Singer and Howe were also involved in this.
As different types of stitches started, sewing machines were being developed that could sew these types of stitches.
Isaac Singer formed his own sewing company called the Singer Sewing Company, and they became the first to manufacture the electric sewing machine in 1889.
Sewing machines are of two types. Domestic sewing machines can be used at home and are small, electronically operated with limited function.
Industrial sewing machines are larger, usually electronically operated and can manufacture clothes very fast.
In the garment industry with so many breakthroughs, the types of sewing machines are uncountable. Some are specially modified, while others can do many things.
The sewing machine has helped many people, both rich and poor, to earn livelihoods through sewing. The fashion industry is based on good sewing.
Today, the clothes industry is able to meet the demands from customers because it is able to sew clothes fast.