Ever wondered how the sewing machine revolutionised? Or how much of an impact it had, not only on the textile industry, but also on home sewing?
In 1790, a Englishman by the name of Thomas Saint patented a design for the very first sewing machine invention, never advertising his design. The sewing machine was meant for leather and canvas. It was only eighty four years later in 1874 that sewing machine manufacturer William Newton discovered Thomas Saint’s drawings in the London Patent Office. However it was Austrian tailor Josef Madersperger who, in 1807, began developing the first sewing machine, presenting the first ever working sewing machine 7 years, later in 1814.
Throughout the 1800s, the sewing machine saw many improvements made by tailors and inventors patenting bigger and better designs.
In 1869 William Jones opened a licensed factory in Manchester, making it the largest factory in England exclusively producing first class sewing machines. It was clothing manufacturers who first made use of the sewing machine, using them to produce ready-to-wear clothes and shoes, something never done before. The sewing machine was so much faster than sewing by hand that a simple garment like a man’s shirt could be completed in about an hour, compared to the usual mending time of 14 ½ hours. The company was later renamed the Jones Sewing Machine Co.Ltd and then bought, almost 100 years later, in 1968, by a Japanese company named Brother Industries.
In the 1860’s people began purchasing sewing machines, with prices ranging from £6 to £15; the sewing machine was an affordable invention for the working middle class. In the home, the invention reduced the time it took to make clothes, allowing woman to spend more time as household managers, focusing on the more important things and lifting unwanted burdens from housewives. It wasn’t long before they became quite the trend and could be found in most homes, where women would spend most of their time sewing clothes for family, or trying out new patterns.
Manufacturers, too, saw the benefits, and were able to decrease the number of workers needed to produce the same amount of clothing, dropping costs by a large margin. Many other industries, such as upholsterers and drapers,benefitted from the use of sewing machines. Cotton orders rose tremendously, calling for greater cotton crops to be planted in many areas where there was no need for it before. This created jobs for many of the locals. Metal companies were used for machine parts in all shapes and form, and then there was the shipping far and wide of all the goods
Who knew an invention we take for granted each and every day had such an impact on the standards of life, not just for you and me, but for that of our ancestors generations and generations ago?