The History of Sewing

The History of Sewing by Groz-Beckert®

 

30.000 BC:

Man starts to make clothes out of animal skins and fur parts. Fish bones or bone fragments serve as needle. These "needles" have a hole (needle eye) in order to pull the thread through. Leather strips, tendons, intestines or bast are used as sewing thread.

7000 BC:

For the first time, needles made out of metal (copper) are used.

1400:

The first steel needle is produced by a needle maker in Nuremberg.

1755:

Charles Weisenthal invents the 2-pointed needle with the eye in the middle between the two points. The needle was developed to penetrate the fabric by means of a pair of mechanical fingers. A complete sewing machine, however, was not invented at that time.

1790:

Thomas Saint invents a kind of chain stitch machine for the manufacturing of shoes using a hook needle and an awl. Many basic properties of this machine can still be found in today's sewing machines.

1810 n. Chr.:

Balthasar Krems creates a machine for sewing hats and caps. This machine works with a needle with the eye close to the point. This needle was the breakthrough for the invention and further development of sewing machines.

1814:

Josef Madersberger invents the first machine that can make a seam. It is used for sewing straw hats.

1832:

Walter Hunt invents a machine using a needle with the eye at the point. This needle interacts with a shuttle carrying a second thread. It produces an interlock stitch similar to the stitch of today's lockstitch machines.

1845:

Elias Howe invents a sewing machine producing a stitch similar to that of Hunt's machine. However, the fabric is held vertically here. Howe applies for a patent for this machine together with a shuttle and a needle having a groove and the eye at the point. This lockstitch machine can make straight seams only.

1851:

Isaac Merritt Singer invents the first really functioning sewing machine.

19th century:

During this century, there is a number of inventions in the area of sewing machines. Many companies still known today were founded at that time: Singer, Pfaff, Adler, Opel, Dürkopp etc. However, the manufacturing of clothes and shoes is still carried out in small workshops.

20th century:

The industrial production of clothing begins. For the first time, sewing machines are driven by a belt. Since 1935, the machines are also driven by electric motors.

1950:

Sewing machines get additional functions like needle up position, foot lifter, reverse stitching and thread cutting.

1960:

The development of sewing automats begins.

1980:

Electronic functional elements like servo motors are introduced.

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