Horace Webster Hadley

Horace Webster Hadley, inventor, was born at Dummerston, Vermont, Sept. 10, 1835, son of Rufus and Joanna (Bemis) Hadley. In his youth. he was apprenticed to a machinist. While working at his trade he became interested in the sewing machine and designed a hand sewing machine which was patented in 1864 and was manufactured by him at Winchendon, Massachusetts. Entering the employ of William L. Grout, he devised a new feed movement for the Domestic Machine which he patented in 1867 and sold to the Domestic Co. for $100. It proved to be a most valuable invention and is a feature of all sewing machines of the present day. During 1871-81 he was engaged in the drug business at Ypsilanti, Michigan.


In 1881 Horace Webster Hadley became assistant superintendent of the New Home Sewing Machine Co. at Orange, Massachusetts  and ten years later (1891) he went to the National Sewing Machine 'Co., Belvidere, 111.,in a similar capacity.


While with the New Home Co. he invented an improved take up (patented June 18, 1881); a new shuttle known as the box shuttle (June 21, 1881); an automatic spooler (Aug. 28, 1882) ; a new method of supporting and driving a sewing machine shuttle, either the rotary or oscillating kind and a new rotary shuttle (January, 1889). He invented and patented a washing machine (December, 1880)  and an adjustable piano stool (Nov. 18, 1884), the latter still being us), known as the "Little Pixie," which was operated by hand. After manufacturing the "Little Pixie" for two years at Belvidere he sold the business to the American Co. of Rockford, 111. During the last ten years of his life he was perfecting  an embroidery machine. His chief recreation was in travel, music, reading  and to his friends he was known as a living encyclopedia. He was active in church and religious welfare work and once taught a large Sunday school class of voting men. He was a musician of more than ordinary talent, playing the violin with great skill, and possessing a pleasing baritone voice. He was a genial companion, kin to charitable  and studious. When his advanced for made it necessary for him to resign as assistant superintendent of the National Co. he refused to seek, the retirement which his many years of endeavor had earned for him and spent his last days at the toolmaker's bench in the company ‘s plant, literally dying in harness. He was married January, 1859, to Sedelia Louise, daughter of Christopher Boleyn of Hinsdale, N. H. and had one daughter, Lulu Maebelle, wife of Dr. Wells Hawkey of Belvidere, 111. He died at Belvidere Nov. 27, 1921.