1857
1857

 AMERICAN  PATENTS

Chronological List of U.S. Sewing Machine Patent Models

There are more than seven hundred sewing machine patent models and a similar number of attachment models in the Smithsonian collections. Most of these machines were received in 1926 when the Patent Office disposed of its collection of hundreds of thousands of models. Prior to 1880, models had been required with the patent application; although the requirement was discontinued that year, patentees continued to furnish models for another decade or so. All models prior to 1836 were lost in a Patent Office fire of that year, but since the sewing-machine patent history dates from the 1840s, most of the historically important ones of this subject have been preserved.

These models form a valuable part of the record of the invention, supplementing the drawings and the text of the written specifications. The early sewing-machine models were made to order, either by the inventor or a commissioned model maker. As soon as sewing machines were produced commercially, it was less expensive for the patentee to use a commercial machine of the period, to which he added his change or improvement, than to have a complete model constructed to order. Some of the commercial machines used in this way are the only examples known to be in existence, and as such, are of more interest in establishing the history of the manufactured machine than for the minor patented changes.

During the period of the “Sewing Machine Combination”, many patentees attempted to invent and patent “the different machine”. This was either a radical change in style or an attempt to produce a far less-expensive type of machine. These machines were not always put into commercial production, but the patent models give an indication of the extent to which some inventors went to simplify or vary the mechanics of sewing machine.

The following list include those sewing machine patent models in the Smithsonian Institution collections.

   Year    Applications  Granted     Designs Reissues
 1842   761 517    
 1843   819 531 14  
1844 1.045 502 12  
1845 1.246 502 17  
1846 1.272 619 59  
1847 1.531 572 103-162 =  
1848 1.628 660 163-208 =  
1849 1.955 1.070    
1850 2.193 995    
1851 2.258 869    
1852 2.639 1.020    
1853 2.673 958   482 (?
1854 3.324 1.902    
1855 4.435 2.024    
1856 4.960 2.502    
1857 4.771 2.910    
1858 5.364 3.710    
1859 6.225 4.538    
1860 7.653 4.819    
1861 4.643 3.340    
1862 5.038 3.521    
1863 6.014 4.170    
1864 6.932 5.020    
1865 10.664 6.616    
1866 15.269 9.450    
1867 21.276 13.015    
1868 24.420 13.378    
1869 19.271 13.986    
1870 19.171 13.321    
1871 19.472 13.033    
1872 18.246 13.590    
1873 20.414 12.864    
1874 21.602 13.599    
1875 21.638 *16.288    
1876 21.425 *17.026    
1877 20.318 *13.619   568
1878 20.260 *12.935   509
1879 20.059 *12.725   488
1880        
1881        
1882        
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1884        
1885        
1886        
1887        
1888        
1889        
1890        
1891        
1892        
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1894        
1895        
1896        
1897        
1898        
1899        
1900        
1901        
1902     35.547  
1903     36.187  
1904     36.723  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Includes trade-marks and labels

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The records of the United States Patent Office indicate that a patent for a sewing machine was granted on March 10, 1826, to Henry Lye, a glove-maker. The specification and model of this patent were destroyed in 1836, at a fire which consumed the records of the Patent Office. Some years since, the writer of this article devoted several days to ascertain the construction of this Lye machine and succeeded in gaining information, from a person who had seen it, that it was simply a clamp in which gloves were held while being stitched. It was in no sense a sewing machine, but simply a work holder.

from 1876 International Exhibition Report

 

 

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