Patent Model For A Sewing Machine, Patent No. 9,041 (Watertown, Connecticut, USA), June 15, 1852
Rapid advances in mechanized spinning and weaving dramatically lowered the cost of fabric in mid-nineteenth century America. These inexpensive textiles placed new pressure on women to produce an ever-abundant supply of clothes, kitchen linens, drapes and pillows for her home. And so as industry mechanized, so, too, did the American home, and by the 1870s, the sewing machine had become the center of U.S. domestic life. Among the earliest inventors was cabinetmaker Allen B. Wilson, who formed Wheeler and Wilson in 1851, one of the earliest manufacturers of domestic sewing machines. This lightweight Wilson design (Patent No. 9,041, granted June 15, 1852) used two bobbins to complete full stiches on either side of the fabric, a revolutionary concept for the time. A highly ornamented four-motion feed example such as this would have become the center of the Victorian home, proudly displayed to proclaim one’s ability to afford a lavish device.
It is credited
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Cat. T06055.
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Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 12.7 x 16.5 x 30.5 cm (5 in. x 6 1/2 in. x 12 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.