From Its First Steps to Its Success in the Market
Author: Grace Cooper,James Zimmerhoff
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
The practical sewing machine is not the result of one man's genius, but rather the culmination of a century of thought, work, trials, failures, and partial successes of a long list of inventors. History is too quick to credit one or two men for an important invention and to forget the work that preceded and prodded each man to contribute his share. It is no discredit to Howe to state that he did not invent the sewing machine. Howe's work with the sewing machine was important, and he did patent certain improvements, but his work was one step along the way. It is for the reader to decide whether it was the turning point. Since the sewing machine has been considered by some as one of the most important inventions of 19th-century America, of equal importance to this story of the invention is the history of the sewing machine's development into a practical, popular commodity. Since many new companies blossomed overnight to manufacture this very salable item, a catalog list of more than one hundred and fifty of these 19th-century companies is included in this study. Still, the list is probably incomplete. Many of the companies remained in business a very short time or kept their activities a secret to avoid payment of royalties to patent holders. Evidence of these companies is difficult to find. It is hoped that additional information will come to light as a result of this initial attempt to list and date known companies. The dating of individual machines based on their serial numbers is also a difficult task. Individual company records of this type have not survived; however, using the commercial machines in the patent collection, for which we know one limiting date-the date the machine was deposited at the patent office-and using the records that have survived, an estimated date based on the serial number can be established for many of the better known machines.