Sewing Machine present at the Exhibition

958.  William Spackman     Victoria St. ,  Belfast

Sewing Machine and articles of clothing made by it.  

The Shuttle Lancashire Machine exhibited by William Spackman
The Shuttle Lancashire Machine exhibited by William Spackman


The sewing machine was first introduced into these countries in 1846, when a patent was obtained for the invention, which we derive from the other side of the Atlantic; but this first attempt was found to be too complicated for ordinary use. Several modifications were subsequently made, until in 1851 the Lancashire Sewing Machine Company was formed and short as is the time since the first patent was taken out, we are informed that so rapidly have subsequent improvements been made that the Company just named has thirteen patents, the machine in the Exhibition being founded on several of these patent.

In using the sewing machine, the cloth to be sewn is cut and basted as if for ordinary hand-sewing. It is then placed in a movable clamp under the needle, and is moved forward as the seam progresses. The direction of the seam is entirely at the command of the attendant, which in fact is the only matter to be looked to. The needle is fixed in a portion of the machine which moves up and down to make the stitches and it is provided with a groove on each side which the thread occupies, the eye being removed but a small distance from the point. The grooves secure the thread from being chafed or worn, as is the case with ordinary hand-sewing. The portion of the thread passed through the cloth is only sufficient to make the stitch. There is a small shuttle working horizontally below the cloth, in connexion with the upright needle and thread and after the needle passes through the cloth it rises sufficiently to allow the shuttle to pass through the loop thus formed and made above the eye, after which the needle is withdrawn, catching the thread from the shuttle and drawing it into the cloth. The two threads stand in the relation to each other of the links of a chain, in the centre of the cloth, while both sides present a similar appearance, the seam being like that of a saddler or shoemaker. By a simple contrivance the amount of tension may be regulated at pleasure; that is, the threads may be pulled firmly or slightly as desired. That irregularity in sewing, proceeding from the stitches not being placed in the same right line, and which is so objectionable both as regards the strength and appearance of the seam when stretched, is entirely avoided by machine-sewing.

The machine may be worked by the hand (a handle being turned round), or a band may be used wherever there is machinery in motion. It requires a space of a little over two square feet to stand on, and it may easily be carried about by one hand. The amount of work performed will depend on the speed at which it is driven and may vary from 500 to 1000 stitches per minute, from which data the powers of the machine may be easily estimated. The construction here described is that of the machine exhibited by Mr. Spackman, of Belfast, who is entitled to the credit of being the first to introduce it into Ireland. Various other modifications of it have been made, depending somewhat on the kind of work to be done and a glance at any of them at work cannot fail to convince the most sceptical that the problem of sewing by machinery has been solved. The comparatively high price at which the machines are sold and the formidable opposition which their use is sure to encounter from the workmen, will prevent their extension so rapidly as they deserve. They will, however, gradually make way despite of all opposition and ere long we may expect to find all the ordinary sewing executed by machinery.

The sewing machine is, in fact, one of the triumphs of the age and the excellence of its work is not more to be admired than its extreme simplicity when examined. It is, consequently, but little liable to go out of order. In one or two days an intelligent attendant can be taught to work it, and when set at work, the only attention required, as before observed, is to look after the direction of the seam.

The Irish Industrial Exhibition of 1853 Catalogue

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400A. Wm. Bartleet & Sons

Redditch, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, Manufacturers and Patentees.

Oval perfect eyed needles and sewing needles of every description, sail, jack, surgeons, tambour, crochet, netting needles, &c.; sea and river fish hooks of all kinds.  


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