Prominent among these are those designed for stitching button-holes ; among

which may be mentioned one which adapts the well-known Wheeler 6c Wilson

machine for this purpose, by giving to the bed-plate a slight shifting motion to

allow of sewing over the edge of the fabric, whilst a fixed button throu-h which

the needle passes, and a straight fixed guide near the needle, afford a space

between them for the passage of a flat cloth-holder having parallel sides and

semicircular ends, the cloth being affixed to pins on the upper surface of this

holder, and having a motion with its forward half, turning and returning. The

feed may be stopped at will when it is desired to strengthen or bar across the

square end of the button-hole.

Another carries a short thread, as in hand sewing, first through the cloth and

returning through the button-hole. The needle is blunt at one end ; its point is

uppermost, and it has two eyes in the middle. The range of motion of the ueedlearm is gradually lessened as the thread is consumed ; the cloth is fed by means

of an irregular gear, somewhat of a button-hole shape.

Another machine employs, in addition to the ordinary Wheeler & Wilson

bobbin for the lower thread, a similar bobbin to carry a cord or bar thread ; each

bobbin lies within the cavity of its own revolving hook, whose axes are both in

the same line ; one hook oscillates, the other revolves ; the threads are wound

upon the bobbins -in opposite directions. One hook catches the needle loop and

carries it over its bobbin and over the cord; the oscillating hook then seizes

this loop, carries it in the opposite direction and drops it over its bobbin. The

four-motion feed is used, but it has, in addition, a lateral and return motion.

In another machine a single thread is used for button-holing ; an inclined

looper beneath the table, with a crescent-shaped end, advances, rises, and carries

a loop above the table and over the edge of the cloth and over a tongue on the

cloth plate ; it then makes a quarter turn, that the needle may descend in the

notch of the looper and within the loop ; on its retreat it becomes free from the

loop, vv'hile the feed advances and pulfs the loop off the tongue; this allows

sufficient looseness of the stitch to allow it to be laid out flat in turning back the

goods, edge to edge, as in the sewing of carpets.

In another, in which three threads are used, a reciprocating hook manipulates

the loops in such a manner that the loop of the needle thread shall surround

that of the thread carrier, and that the shuttle thread shall pass through this

loop of the carrier.

Another machine, in which are used the usual perforating needle and, also, a

lower thread carrier, which takes its thread up and over the edge, of the cloth,

is so modified as to be easily converted into a lock-stitch machine. To effect

this the thread carrier is turned upon a pivot out of operative action, while a'

swinging shuttle carrier is placed in action, and the loop-spreader above the

cloth is locked to the needle bar, so as not to rotate as vvhen used in buttonholing,

Mr. Humphrey has also some improvements upon his machine patented in

1862, designed, among other things, to give the required increase of feed while

sewing around the eyelet or rounded part of the button hole.

Among the improvements designed for sewing with waxed thread upon

leather, &c., are the following :

Means for heating the wax and for waxing the thread, and also for heating

the metallic parts of this machine near which the waxed thread must pass ; improvements in positive take-up levers for the thread ; in the form of the shuttle

and of the needle

; in means for closing the uppers of shoes and gaiters, and for

other work on leather, where it is desirable that the line of the seam shall be

sunk below the surface of the material, thus dispensing with excessive tension

on the threads and avoiding the weakenir}g of the leather, as if the usual gi'oove

were cut

; in means for avoiding the liability of the goods to become stretched

and puckered, and thus preventing the hole punctured by the awl from getting

out of its true position for the needle to enter ; in dispensing with the usual

large cams, thus diminishing friction and noise, and in the use of automatically

lifting presser-feet ; in means for waxing the needle thread, not, however, until

after the thread has passed through the fabric, the shuttle thread receiving its

wax from the needle thread, the liquid wax beiag steadily and automatically

forced up from a reservoir mto a shallov^ concave in the shuttle race, a closed

door to the shuttle preventing any wax from entering, and a felt or cloth wiper,

saturated with benzine, clearing the shuttle of any adhering v/ax.

Another machine, for sewing the soles upon boots and shoes while the same

are turned inside out, has its platform, which sustains all the sewing mechanism,

centred upon the driving shaft, and so that it may be raised or lowered, by a

rack, to bring the operative mechanism into proper position relatively to the

channel in the shoe where the line of stitching is to be made; the table supportmg the work is also adjustable vertically. Another of this class automatically

registers the number: of shoes soled by it.

Several liovelties appear in machines for making and stitcliing ruffles, one of

which, whilst feeding the cloth in the ordinary manner, passes it, also, through

an auxiliary device secured to the table ; a wheel m this device is rotated by

the passage of the cloth, and it gives a greater velocity than its own to another

wheel, which thus gathers the lower piece of cloth ; adjustable hinged spring

plates press the cloth upon these wheels, and when the operator does not wish

to ruffle, this pressure is relieved by means of thumb-screws.

. A box-plaiting apparatus is also connected with a sewing machine, so that in

the finished goods, plaited upon the sewing-machine table, there shall be in

each single plait two stitches, and in each double fold or box plait four stitches.

From among the other peculiar features observable in sewing machines may

be further enumerated the following :

Locating the shuttle-race above the table, and supporting it on the needle-arm

bracket; giving to the shuttle a grooved tongue for its whole length, which supports it in a dovetailed groove in which it travels ; employing a blast of air to

open and properly deflect the loop of the needle-thread, for tlie shuttle to enter;

giving to a feeding wheel a forward and backward movement, in addition to the

usual rotary movement ; the wheel is locked during its forward movement,

thus acting as an ordinary feeding dog, but in its backward movement,

instead of falling like a feeding dog, it rotates on its axis, and the surface

of the wheer rolls on the under surface of the cloth without moving it;

changing the line of direction of a four-motion feed to any line within the

range of ninety degrees, by the mere turning of a circular plate in the table

through which the feed-dog works; compensating for the wear on its bearings

of the revolving looping hook by means of a split bushing, compressible by an

adjusting screw; driving the machine faster or slower, or stopping it altogether,

while the driving power continues the same; making on a Wheeler & Wilson

machine either a simple chain stitch or a chain stitch interlaced with a locking

thread ; adapting a Wheeler & Wilson machine to the making of the Grover &

Baker stitch, as well as the lock stitch ; also to the making of a three-threaded

stitch, being' the lock stitch and Grover & Baker stitch combined; providing

means whereby the varying thickness of goods passing under the presser foot

shall cause the needle to rise to corresponding elevations, while it shall not fail

ta descend uniformly to the same point, that its loop may be properly taken by

the shuttle or looper; so arranging the crank motions for operating the needle

and shuttle, as that the reciprocations of the mechanism shall counterbalance

each other, all the primary actuating devices for all the motions (except the

needle-arm) being brought into a compact group, and attached to a single piece

of casting.