Frederick R. Robinson
Frederick R. Robinson of Boston, Massachusetts
In his Annual Report to the Congress of Patents for 1850, Commissioner Thomas Ewbank stated that 995 patents were issued. One of those patents was to Frederick R. Robinson for improvements to sewing machines. Robinson’s patent was used commercially by the firm of Howard & Davis of Boston to manufacture sewing machines.
In addition to using Robinson’s patent, the machines they built utilized improvements patented by Sylvester H. Roper of Worcester, Massachusetts (U.S. 11.531 issued on August 15, 1854) and with additional improvements (U.S. 16.026 issued on November 4, 1856). Howard & Davis were best known for their manufacture of high-grade clocks and watches, although they also built fire engines and precision balances.
As Robinson stated, “The object of my invention is to produce either what is generally termed ‘stitch and back stitch’ sewing, or ordinary stitching.” He notes that this is frequently called the running stitch or basting stitch. His specific patent claim was “The combination of two needles, two thread-guides, and a cloth-holder made to operate together . . . and . . . the improvement of making the needles with springs and applying mouth-pieces or pressers to them, and on each side of the flange of the base-plate . . .”
Scientific American, (November 1, 1856), on the occasion of the Great Exhibition of the American Institute at the Crystal Palace of New York, describes the machine based on the patents mentioned above as "Robinson & Roper".