Job Anthony Davis

Mr. Job Anthony Davis was born at Warren, R. L., in 1822 and was well know throughout the country as the inventor of the Davis Sewing Machine, the Rotary Shuttle Machine and the Wax Thread Machine.

In America, after Isaac Merritt Singer started to marketing his novelty practical sewing machine, lots of people began to be interested in sewing machines.

In 1860 Mr. Davis applied for his first sewing machine patent, he was residing in New York. The patent was for an improved method of operating the shuttles. At this time the vertical feed it was probably in the embryonic stage.

Between 1860 and 1866 he moved to Great Bend, Pennsylvania and in October 9, 1866 he applied for his second sewing machine patent. The baby was born.

The following description was in his Letters Patent US 58.614 /1866:

   My invention or improvements have relation to that class of sewing machines which make use of a “needle-feed”, so called and consists in the application and use of a device which acts as all assistant or helper to the needle and which keeps the fabric, while being sewed, smooth, and prevents its gathering or bunching as the feed is effected and which also holds the fabric and prevents it rising as the needle is withdrawn.


What he only needed was to start manufacturing this great sewing machine.

In 1866 Mr. Davis went to  Watertown. He made 3 new applications for Letters Patent for shuttles improvement.


He displayed his new sewing machine at the Woodruff house and it aroused the interest of brothers John and Joseph Sheldon. 

In February 1868 The Davis Company was organized at Watertown Jefferson County, N.Y., with a cash capital of $ 150.000, which capital stock was subsequently increased to $ 300.000.

In September 29, 1868 Mr. Davis made a new application for shuttles improvement.

On a Friday 23 April, 1869, a flood on the Black River, with unabated violence are swept away most of the factories in Watertown. The Davis Sewing Machine Company's furnace and machine shop was swept out, leaving that branch of the river a scene of ruin.

In 1870 Mr. Davis relocate his company in the Winslow Industrial Building on Factory Square. 

In 1875 the company erected a building of its own in Sewall’s Island near the finest water power on the river. The main building was two stories with attic. The office is one story and all building being of bricks. The company manufactured  $ 300.000 worth of machines, all of which found ready sale. The number of employees was 175. The assets of the company were about one million dollars. 


Job Anthony Davis died on Sunday January 31, 1886 at Wollaston, Mass.. During the past year Mr. Davis has been engaged in perfecting still another improved sewing machine, to which it may truly be said he gave his life. A man of great mental power, untiring energy and self sacrifice, he forgot himself in his beloved occupation. He contracted the disease (edema?) which caused his death. He was respected and loved by all who knew him in social and business circles. Mr Davis leaves a widow and one son, Mr Willard A. Davis, a graduate of Yale and a member of the Saffolk bar. 




The Encyclopedia of Antique Sewing Machines, 3rd Edition

Sewing Machine Gazette