sewing machine

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

sewing machine

sewing machine, device that stitches cloth and other materials. An attempt at mechanical sewing was made in England (1790) with a machine having a forked, automatic needle that made a single-thread chain. In 1830, B. Thimonnier, a French tailor, patented a wooden device with a hooked needle. In 1841 he used 80 of these machines to make uniforms for the French army. His factory was wrecked by a mob, but in 1848 he placed another machine on the market. A needle with an eye at its point that made a chain stitch was tried about the same time for glove making. Inventor Walter Hunt of New York City is said to have devised in 1832 a machine using an eye-pointed needle but failed to patent it. American inventor Elias Howe made the first successful machine (1846) using an eye-pointed needle and an intermittent feed. After perfecting various features and defending his patents, he made a fortune from his machine. Before 1850 all machines were operated by hand and the cloth was fed by various clumsy devices, such as a separately moved belt with projecting steel spikes. American inventor A. B. Wilson devised in 1850 an automatic feed and later perfected the four-motion feed, an essential feature of later machines. He also invented the rotary bobbin and hook. American inventor Isaac M. Singer, who is credited with the invention of the foot treadle and the yielding presser foot, finally coordinated previous attempts into the modern machine, gave it a commercial status, and began large-scale manufacturing. Two types of machines, the lockstitch and the chain-stitch, operate on the same principle; an eye-pointed needle, raised and lowered at great speed, pierces the material lying on a steel plate, casting a loop of thread on the underside of the seam. In the lockstitch machine a second thread, fed from a shuttle under the plate, passes through the loop and is interlocked with the upper thread as it is drawn tightly up by the rising needle. In the chain-stitch machine, which uses a single thread, the loop is held under the seam while the needle rises, the cloth is fed forward, and the needle descends again, engaging the loop and drawing it flat under the cloth. Both lockstitch and chain-stitch machines are made in two classes, domestic and industrial. Most domestic machines are the lockstitch type. Electrification and attachments for hemming, tucking, quilting, embroidering, making buttonholes, and similar operations have widened the applications of the household machine; the incorporation of microprocessor controls has allowed domestic machines to perform the kind of highly specialized jobs previously only available on large industrial machines. The sale of patterns and fabrics for domestic sewing remains a significant business. Power-driven, highly specialized machines for industrial use include many used in clothing manufacture, such as those for buttonholing and button sewing, seam finishing, and embroidery. Shoes, gloves, hats, books, upholstery, hosiery, tents, awnings, flags, and sails are sewn on specially devised machines.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

sewing machine
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.