A considerable number of patents have been granted this year which are not properly comprehended in any of the foregoing classes, some of which deserve notice. Patents have been granted for improvements in pulleys, combs, traps, fish-hooks, life-preservers, fire-escapes, brush machinery, machinery used in the manufacture of tobacco, &c., which do not require a particular description. Letters patent have been granted this year for an improved mode of conveying, cleaning and assorting coal. It is applicable only when the coal is found at a considerable elevation above the point to which it is to be conveyed. The coal is placed in an inclined conductor, having at proper points grates or openings for the escape of impurities and for the separation of different sizes of coal. A large quantity of water is then let into the conductor, which sweeps the mass along and the impurities escape through the above mentioned openings as the mass passes and the smaller coal drops through these grates. Letters patent have also been granted for an improved enunciator, for use in hotels, &c. One bell only is used and the machinery is compact and not easily deranged. The enunciators heretofore in use, with one bell, have been so constructed as to show the number of the room where the bell is rung; but each successive ring of the bell hides or drops the number previously shown, perhaps, before it has received attention. In the enunciator patented this year the ringing of the bell does not affect any number previously shown, but it constantly remains visible until the attendant drops or covers it. The simple turning of a crank hides all numbers previously shown. This enunciator for large hotels appears to possess advantages over those now in use.

A very beautiful and perfect sewing machine has been patented this year, which presents much originality and evinces great ingenuity.

The following extract from the patent sufficiently sets forth its characteristics; it cannot be here presented in all its details:

“In sewing a seam with my machine two threads are employed, one of which threads is carried through the cloth by means of a curved needle, the pointed end of which is to pass through said cloth; the needle used has the eye that is to receive the thread within a small distance, say an eighth of an inch, of its inner or pointed end. The other or outer end of the needle is held by an arm that vibrates on a pivot or joint pin and the curvature of the needle is such as to correspond with the length of the arm as its radius. When the thread is carried through the cloth, which may be done of stretched above the curved needle, something to the distance about three-fourths of an inch, the thread will be in the manner of a bowstring, leaving a small open space between the two. A small shuttle, carrying a bobbin filled with silk or thread, is then made to pass entirely through this open space, between the needle and the thread which it carries and when the shuttle is returned, which is done by means of a picker staff or shuttle-driver, the thread which was carried in by the needle is surrounded by that received from the shuttle and as the needle is drawn out, it forces that which was received from the shuttle into the body of the cloth and, as this operation is repeated, a seam is formed which has on each side of the cloth the same appearance as that given by stitching; with this peculiarity, that the thread shown on one side of the cloth is exclusively that which was given out by the needle and the thread seen on the other side is exclusively that which was given out by the shuttle. It will, therefore, be seen that a stitch is made at every back and forth movement of the shuttle. The two thicknesses of cloth that are to be sewed are held upon pointed wires, which project out from a metallic plate, like the teeth of a comb, but at a considerable distance from each other, say three-fourths of an inch, more or less; these pointed wires sustaining the cloth and answering the purpose of ordinary basting. The metallic plate from which these wires project has numerous holes through it, which answer the purpose of rack-teeth in enabling the plate to be moved forward, by means of a pinion, as the stitches are taken. The distance to which said plate is moved and consequently the length of the stitches, may be regulated at pleasure".

It is proper here to remark that several patents have heretofore been granted for sewing machines, but none of them operate in a similar manner, nor produce a similar result.

The inventor has not followed the footsteps of his predecessors, but has struck out a track of his own and it would be difficult, by any means heretofore known, to sew as fast or as well as can be done by this machine. I must here close my remarks upon the improvements developed at my desk during the current year. I have not referred to improvements patented in foreign countries, however prominent and important they may be, for the obvious reason that I have had ample occupation with those which have been patented here.

Respectfully submitted by W. P. N. Fitzgerald

Examiner of Patents




US 4.750                                Elias Jr.  Howe                               

 Eye-pointed needle in combination with shuttle for under thread, continuous thread from spools, lock-stitch, automatic feed the length of baster-plate.

curved needle & shuttle, lock-stitch sewing machine

Having thus fully described the manner in which I construct my machine for  sewing seams and shown the operation thereof, what I claim therein as new and desire to secure by letters patent, is first, the forming of the seam, by carrying a thread through the cloth by means of a curved needle on the end of a vibrating arm and the passing of a shuttle furnished with its bobbin, in the manner set forth, between the needle and the thread which it carries, under a combination and arrangement of parts substantially the same with that described.

I also claim the lifting of the thread that passes through the needle eye by means the lifting rod W, for the purpose of forming a loop of loose thread that is to be subsequently drawn in by the passage of the of shuttle, as herein fully described; said lifting rod being furnished with a lifting pin u and governed in its motions by the guide pieces and other devices, arranged and operating substantially as described.

I claim the holding of the thread that is given out by the shuttle so as to prevent its unwinding from the shuttle bobbin after the shuttle has passed through the loop, said thread being held by means of the lever or clipping piece q1, as herein made known or in any other manner that is substantially the same in its operation and result.

I claim the manner of arranging and combining the small lever m1, n1 with the sliding box M, in combination with the spring piece z, for the purpose of tightening the stitch as the needle is retracted, as described.

I claim the holding of the cloth to be sewn by the use of a baster plate, furnished with points for that purpose and with holes, enabling it to operate as a rack in the manner set forth, thereby carrying the cloth forward and dispensing altogether with the necessity of basting the parts together.

September 10, 1846




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Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1846