Fact File about the Invention of the Sewing Machine: Date of Invention: 1846 *** Name of Inventor: Elias Howe *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1819 - 1867 *** Nationality of Inventor: American *** Historical Period: First US Industrial Revolution (1700 - 1860) *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the Inventor, Elias Howe, and the invention ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The Sewing Machine was invented by Elias Howe in 1846 during the First US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1700 - 1860)
and was a standout technological advancement of the era.
Fact 2: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Prior to the invention of the
Sewing Machine in 1846 the task of making shoes and clothing was a time
consuming and labor intensive task. The invention enabled ordinary people with
the means to buy a variety of cheap, fashionable clothes.
Fact 3: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Other inventors had made sewing
machines but the devices all used the chainstitch that used a single thread that
was easily unraveled. The Elias Howe sewing machine was different. His sewing
machine used two threads forming the lockstitch, a mechanical stitch made by the
sewing machine which firmly linked the two threads together.
Fact 4: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The inventor of the world's
first practical and successful sewing machine, Elias Howe, was born on July 9, 1819 in Spencer, Massachusetts, United States and died on October 3, 1867.
Fact 5: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The early years of Elias Howe were spent
on the family farm in Spencer, Massachusetts, United States where he was raised
on the family farm. Elias Howe received a basic education but was an extremely
Fact 5: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Following his education in 1835
his first job was as an apprentice in a textile mill in Spencer, Massachusetts
where he learnt the skills of a machinist.
Fact 6: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The textile mill closed in 1838
and Elias Howe moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts work for Ari Davies as a
mechanic with carding machinery that separated and straightened wool fibers.
Fact 7: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The customers of Ari Davies all
worked in the textile industry and before long Elias Howe realized that there
was a need for a machine that would sew quickly and efficiently. Elias Howe also
realized that such a machine would make him a very wealthy man.
Fact 8: Who invented the Sewing Machine? In 1841 Elias Howe married
Elizabeth Jennings Ames and settled into family life. The couple would have
three children, Jane, Simon and Julia.
Fact 9: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Elias Howe knew that his idea to
invent a practical Sewing Machine was a good one He developed his idea in 1843
when illness kept him from his job for days at a time.
Fact 10: Who invented the Sewing Machine? By April 1845, Elias Howe
invented his first machine that was used to sew all the seams of two woolen
suits for men’s clothing.
Fact 11: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Elias Howe made improvements to
his Sewing Machine and applied for and was issued with a United States patent,
No. 4,750, on September 10, 1846. The Elias Howe Sewing Machine worked, using
two threads with an automatic feed, a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to
form the lockstitch and a needle with an eye at the point
Fact 12: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The patent application for the
Elias Howe Sewing Machine described the use of the eye-pointed needle in
combination with a shuttle to form a lockstitch.
Fact 13: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The invention of the lockstitch Sewing Machine
was not the success that Elias Howe had hoped for. Not one U.S. manufacturer was
interested in his invention. In 1846 he traveled to England hoping and English
manufacturer would be interested in his Sewing Machine.
Fact 14: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Whilst he was in England Elias
Howe met William Thomas, a corset manufacturer and the owner of W. F. Thomas &
Co. 1 Cheapside, London. William Thomas purchased the British rights to Elias
Howe's patent for £250. In 1846 Elias Howe patented an "Automatic, Continuous
Clothing Closure" but the device, the forerunner of the
zipper, was never seriously marketed. Elias Howe worked with William Thomas until 1847 when he
decided to return to the United States.
Fact 15: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Upon his return to the United
States he was horrified to learn that his patent for the invention of the two
threaded lockstitch Sewing Machine had been infringed by Isaac Singer (1811 –
1875), the man who went on to establish the Singer Sewing Machine Company.
Fact 16: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Elias Howe battled against
Isaac Singer and was forced to defend his patent in a court case that lasted
from 1849 to 1854. After many years of legal tensions, Elias Howe won patent
protection in law courts and started to get compensation and royalties for his
Fact 17: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Elias Howe may have been the
first American inventor of the practical and successful sewing machine, but it
was Isaac Singer who made it it a household name.
Fact 18: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Elias Howe became one of the
richest men in America. Despite his great wealth Elias Howe enlisted as a
private in the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). Elias Howe survived the horrors
of the bloody conflict and returned home to his family at the end of the war.
Fact 19: Who invented the Sewing Machine? Elias Howe died at the age of
48 on October 3, 1867 in Brooklyn, New York. His invention of the sewing machine
had revolutionized the clothing and shoe making industry.
Fact 20: Who invented the Sewing Machine? The invention of the Sewing Machine
made a massive difference to the amount of time it took to make clothes. Prior
to his invention it took 14 hours 26 minutes to make a Gentleman's shirt by
hand, the Elias Howe sewing machine slashed the time to just 1 hour 16 minutes.
Impact: How did the Sewing Machine impact the world? The Elias Howe two
threaded lockstitch Sewing Machine resulted in increased sewing speed leading to
cheap production costs. It significantly decreased the time required to produce
an item of clothing which led to the availability of ready-made clothes. Because
clothing was low cost and could be easily replaced, it led to a rise in the
interest and desirability of fashion and millions of new jobs were created
across the world.