...Whenever women here take out their sewing machine and engage in making their own and their families' spring or winter wardrobes, no matter what make machine they use, the rufflers, hemmers, braiders and other accessories are products of the Greist Manufacturing Company. This industry is not one of those founded in New Haven. It was begun originally in Chicago by John Milton Greist in 1871. Mr. Greist was one of the earliest inventors of attachments for sewing machines. Prior to the time when he first begun manufacturing them, sewing machines could do little else than sew straight seams. All the ruffling, tucking, gathering and braiding that was so fashionable on women's garments in the mauve decade had to be sewed by hand. The machine was not then equipped with any labor- and time-saving devices as it is today. At that time, when a woman bought a sewing machine whatever attachments she wanted, she had to purchase extra. A machine did not come fully equipped. It was not until 1889 that sewing machines companies adopted the policy of selling the attachments with the machines under one price...

Westville: Tales from a Connecticut Hamlet   by Colin M. Caplan

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HEMMERS & BINDERS

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The first American patent for an attachment was for a binder, used to stitch a special binding edge to the fabric.

 

US 10.344                        Harry  Leonard  Sweet        December 20, 1853

...My invention, which I term a doubling guide...

 

Other related attachments followed; among these were the hemmer which was similar to the binder, but turned the edge of the same piece of fabric to itself as the stitching was performed.

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US 144.333                           John Milton Greist

Hemmers for Sewing Machine

My invention relates to sewing machine hemmers and it consists of an extensible hemmer with an inch-scale on the off edge, showing the precise width of the finished seam, the several parts being so constructed as to slide together without separating. The object of this invention is to improve hemming attachments for sewing machines of all varieties and consists in the employment of a flexible or folding support for the upper folded portion of the hem between the adjustable and fixed plates, as will be hereinafter explained; also, in the construction and novel arrangement of the parts, as hereinafter more fully described. 

November 4, 1873

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US 177.502                          Harry  C.  Goodrich                      

Improvements in Hemmers for Sewing Machines

May 16, 1876

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GUIDES

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Guides for stitching braid in any pattern, as directed by the movement of the goods below, were also developed; this was followed by the embroiderer, an elaborate form of braider.

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US 14.283

 

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US 14.322

 

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FOLDING AND TUCKING GAGES

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US 35.667                          Solomon  E.  Blake

Improvements in Folding and Tucking Gages

June 24, 1862

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BUTTON-HOLES ATTACHMENTS

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The first patent for a buttonhole attachment was US ? issued in 1856 to ? but the latter was not practical until improvements were made in the late 1860's.

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US 183.333      Friedrick Ernst Schmidt  &  John Siebels Freese

Improvements in Button-Hole Attachments for Sewing Machines

October 17, 1876

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US 184.239                          Thomas   Hagerty

Improvements in Button-Hole Attachments for Sewing Machines

Assignor to 1/3 of his Right to John B. Valdettaro and 1/3 to A. L. Wood

November 14, 1876

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SETTING AND THREADING NEEDLES

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US 34.407                           Hannah  D.  Conrad

Improvements in Needle Threaders and Setters for Sewing Machines

February 18, 1862

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FAN ATTACHMENT FOR SEWING MACHINES

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To keep the seamstress cool, inventors patented attachments for fanning a sewing machine operator, by an action derived from the treadle. The first American patent for fan attachment was:

US 36.537                           William T.  Spence

September 23, 1862

 

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US 115.255                          George Thompson

May 23, 1871

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US 124.406                         John  H.  Whitney

Fan for Sewing Machine

March 5, 1872 

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US 210.296                   James  Wright  Chambers

Fan for Sewing Machine

Assignor to Allan Ramsay Blacklock

November 26, 1878

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US 234.818                          Carson D.  Stewart

Fan for Sewing Machine

November 23, 1880

 

(Fig. 65). This fanning attachment was commercially available from James Morrison & Co. in the early 1870s (?); it sold for one dollar as stated in the advertising brochure from which this engraving was copied. Other inventors also patented similar implements. (www.gutenberg.org)

Fig. 65
Fig. 65

 

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MOTOR FOR SEWING MACHINES

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... In 1864, Mr. Hays purchased a property for the manufacturing of gloves in Gloversville, Fulton county, New York. He introduced many important improvements in the manufacture and in 1867 he introduced power to propel sewing machines, using a caloric engine ...

 

... The introduction of steam power as a means of propelling the sewing machines was accomplished in 1875 ...

While electric sewing machines did not become common until the 20th century, several 19th century inventors considered the possibility of attaching a type of motor to the machine. One patent who added an “electro motor” to a sewing machine was:

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1871

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US 118.537                            Solomon  Jones

Electro-Motors for Sewing Machine

Assignor to himself and E. D. Lawrence

August 29, 1871

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1865 Bartlett machine


 

 

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1878

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US 201.040                           Israel  E.  Myrick

Motor for Sewing Machine

Assignor of one-half his right to John F. Hollingsworth

The novelty of this invention consists of an arrangement of a pair of auxiliary, springs and certain wheels adapted to co-operate with main springs and a system of gearing, where by said system of gearing is re-enforced and its power increased and the winding up of the mechanism rendered more readily effective than that of ordinary motors of this class. The special purpose of the motor alluded to is for driving a sewing machine, which, however, is equally suitable for running other light machines. I am aware that motors consisting of gearing and springs have been known.

March 5, 1878

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TREADLE FOR SEWING MACHINES

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Who Invented the Sewing Machine

?

What I see is:

A Machine Operator

A Chair or Stool

A Machine with a Needle having a Perpendicular motion...almost!

And finally ... a Treadle

 

Barthelemy Thimonnier

 

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After 11 days and forty dollars in cost, Singer completed his invention: the world's first practical sewing machine. This machine had a straight eye-pointed needle and transverse shuttle, an overhanging arm, a table to support the cloth, a presser foot to hold the material against the upward stroke of the needle and a roughened feed wheel extending through a slot in the table. Motion was communicated to the needle arm and shuttle by means of gears.

Singer also conceived the idea of using a treadle similar to that of a spinning wheel; all other machines at the time used a hand crank to generate power.

 

The first Singer machines sold were intended to be set up on the packing cases in which they were transported; a rough wooden pitman connected the treadle to the geared balance wheel. A poster advertising the machine was pasted on the outside of the packing case, which thus constituted the first Singer Cabinet.

 

 

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US 124.857                            Leo  W.  Sapp

Sewing Machine Treadle

March 19, 1872

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1874
1874

 

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SEWING MACHINE CHAIR

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US 185.021                        Joshua  H.  Dymond             

Sewing Machine Chair

December 5, 1876

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US 204.724                              Max  Gritzner

Table and Chair for Sewing Machine

I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent, the combination of a sewing machine table and its side standards or supports with a movable chair constructed, substantially as shown and described, so that the latter may constitute, with the table, its side supports, and back, a perfect and ornamental case, in closing the driving mechanism, and capable of being locked up, substantially as shown and set forth. 

June 11, 1878

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US 210.487                          George  C.  Bovey

Sewing Chair

Assignor of One-half his Right to James  A.  Marsh

December 3, 1878

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SEWING CASES

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US 174.976             Robert  Philip  &  Louis  A.  Philip            

Sewing Cases

March 21, 1876

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The attachments that were developed during the latter part of the 19th century numbered in the thousands; many of these were superfluous. Most of the basic ones in use today were developed by the 1880s and remain almost unchanged. Even the recently popular home zigzag machine, an outgrowth of the buttonhole machine, was in commercial use by the 1870s.

www.gutenberg.org

1900
1900

 

 

 

 

 

www.gutenberg.org

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