historic sewing

Elias Howe: Inventer Of The Sewing Machine

Howe Suffers Poor Health & Moves in with Father

Elias Howe Jr., most often credited with inventing the first practical sewing machine, was born in Spencer, MA, 1819. Permanently lamed with a hereditary condition that handicapped him throughout his short life, he worked as best he could on his father's farm and attended school until age 16, when he apprenticed at a local textile mill. Two years later, when The Panic of 1837 hit, he lost his position and moved to nearby Lowell, where he apprenticed himself to machine shop owner Ari Davis.


Townspeople regarded Ari Davis as something of an ecc

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historic sewing

Women Judged Too Inept to Operate Sewing Machines

In July of 1845, inventor Elias Howe sewed the first two suits ever made on a sewing machine, one for himself and one for his business partner George Fishher.

Thirteen years passed, and several fledgling companies manufactured sewing machines designed exclusively for the garment industry. No labor-savings appliances existed in the American home, and the very concept of such a device remained completely unknown to the typical family.




In 1858, Isaac Singer, the first to realize he couldn't sell machines to an industry that obviously didn't want them, put his energies into producing the world's

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