Grateful American® Foundation

Who received the first US patent for a sewing machine?

September 10th

Elias_Howe_portraitSeptember 10, 1846 — American inventor Elias Howe, Jr. (July 9, 1819 – October 3, 1867) today received U.S. Patent 4,750 for a sewing machine using a lockstitch design.

Contrary to popular belief, Howe was not the first to conceive of the idea of a sewing machine. Others came up with the idea, one as early as 1790, and some had patented their designs and produced working machines — in one case at least 80 of them.

However, Howe originated significant refinements to the design concepts of his predecessors. His machine contained the three essential features common to most modern machines: a needle with the eye at the point, a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to form the lock stitch, and an automatic feed.

Sources: wikipediaLeading American Inventors“A Brief History of the Sewing Machine”

Words of Wisdom

When the first inventor allows his discovery to slumber for eighteen years, with no probability of its ever being brought into useful activity, and when its only resurrected to supplant and strangle and invention which has been given to the public, and which has been made practically useful, all reasonable presumption should be in favor of the inventor who has been the means of conferring the real benefit upon the world.

— The Honorable Charles Mason, Commissioner of the Patent Office, in his decision and opinion offered on May 24, 1854 for the (Walter) Hunt vs. (Elias) Howe interference suit