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Birth of Elias Howe

Posted in Anniversary, Science, Technology on Tuesday, 29 June 2010

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picture, sewing machine

The sewing machine. Illustration by Dan Escott

9 July is the anniversary of the birth of Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine. Born in Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1819, Howe worked as a mechanic specialising in the manufacture and repair of precision instruments. In 1846 he submitted a patent for a machine that would create a lockstitch from two threads.

Howe found it almost impossible to finance production of his invention and was almost penniless. His first significant earnings came from a law suit against Isaac Singer who was selling facsimiles of Howe’s machine. Howe was later able to set up a factory selling his machines and died, in 1867, a multi-millionaire.

More pictures of sewing machines can be found here. Many more pictures by artist Dan Escott can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

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