Who Invented the Sewing Machine?

Few people will ever stop to think about how important the sewing machine has been to society. Before sewing machines were common, everything from a dress to a pair of shoes had to be hand stitched. Because hand stitching clothing items is such a tedious task, buying clothes was more expensive back in the day. After all, every dress, shirt or pair of pants had to be carefully made by hand.

Nowadays, industrial sewing machines make the production of clothes in factories an extremely fast process, while domestic machines make it possible for people to sew their own stylish clothes in the comfort of their own homes. But who invented the sewing machine and how did sewing machines develop through the years?

How Sewing Machines Changed the World

It’s not hard to see how sewing machines made mass production of clothing more accessible, but few people realize exactly how the accessibility of sewing machines changed the world as a whole.

For instance, the Wright brothers used a sewing machine to make a covering for the wings on the first airplane they ever built.

Furthermore, the common concept of buying things with an installment plan (instead of paying everything upfront as a lump sum) was also popularized when sewing machines became common household item in the 1800’s. This was largely because a sewing machine cost about $125, but the average American household earned about $500. What’s surprising about this part of history, is that people were financing sewing machines long before cars became popular!


So with the sewing machine’s notable impact on even seemingly unrelated fields like aviation and finance, the question of who invented sewing machines starts to seem ever more relevant.

The Story of Sewing Machines

Interestingly enough, there is no single one person who invented the sewing machine. Instead (like many other inventions) the sewing machine developed and changed throughout the years until it became like the machines we see today. Here’s a brief history of how sewing machines developed throughout time:

  • England, 1755: German engineer Charles Fredrick Wiesenthal patented a needle design that was meant for use in a machine. However, Wiesenthal didn’t go on to patent designs for a full machine, and so the development of sewing machines didn’t resume until a few decades later.
  • England, 1790: A cabinet maker named Thomas Saint designed the first sewing machine that would’ve been able to sew leather and canvas. However, this machine never became popular. The English cabinet maker never marketed his idea, and till today, there’s no evidence that he made a working model of the sewing machine he designed, even though he likely made one to use himself.
  • France, 1829: Bathélemy Thimmonier (a tailor by profession) designed the first sewing machine that would be practical to use. Thimmonier went on to start a clothing manufacturing company to make uniforms for the French military.
  • America, 1832: Walter Hunt modernizes previous sewing machine designs by inventing the first lockstitch sewing machine. The lockstitch is still used in modern sewing machines to this day.
  • England, 1844: English inventor, John Fisher combines sewing machine technologies from previous inventors into a single machine. This was arguably the first truly modern sewing machine.

Unfortunately Fisher never received full recognition for his invention. And in the 1950’s, Isaac Merrit Singer would go on to use Fisher’s sewing machine design without recognizing him as the inventor. Although there was a court case over this, Singer won because of problems with Fisher’s patent registration.

Isaac Singer became one of the richest men of his time by selling domestic sewing machines. Many of these original, old fashioned machines are still around today, and some are even in working order.

Even though Singer’s machines were mostly meant for household use, there was little else available for industrial use at the time. But as time went by, sewing machines changed more still, and nowadays there’s a very clear distinction between industrial and domestic sewing machines.

While domestic sewing machines are built for versatility, so sewers can do as much as possible on only one machine, industrial machines are built for speed and strength, but they lack the same versatility offered by their domestic counterparts. This specialization of industrial sewing machines helps clothing manufacturing companies to produce high quality items at a faster rate.

Nowadays industrial sewing machines are used in the manufacturing of everything from the interior of cars (like seat covers) to clothing, tents and shoes. When you look around you at everything that has stitching, it’s remarkable to realize how this collective invention of many inventors has changed our world.

Jack Sewing Machines

When Isaac Singer popularized his machine in the 1800’s, consumers had little choice over what kind of sewing machine to buy. Luckily this has changed, and today consumers are offered many choices when it comes to buying either domestic or industrial sewing machines.

Jack sewing machines are durable industrial sewing machines that work at a lightning fast pace. This ensures that your business can focus on producing as many products as you’re able to sell without the headache of sewing machines that aren’t reliable.

If you would like to know more about Jack sewing machines, feel free to contact us at C&C Enterprises. We sell a large variety of Jack industrial machines for every step in your manufacturing line.

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