The history of the sewing machine
The first news we have about the basic sewing machine is in the year 1755, when the german inventor Karl Friedrich Wiesenthal was the first person to have the idea of a mechinical sewing system. In 1790 an Englishman Thomas Saint made something very similar but it started with a different concept, his machine used the more complicated chain stitching process.
Even if Germany and England were the countries where the first prototypes of something able to sew mechanically were built, we are still far away from the concept of the modern sewing machine. The first fully functioning machine was invented in 1829 by a french tailor, Barthélemy Thimonnier; his machine used a hooked needle and one thread creating a chain stitch, like Thomas Saint’s project. In 1830, with the help of the engineer Auguste Ferrand who did the technical drawings Thimonnier opened the first machined based clothing manufacturing company after gaining the successful patent.
In 1832 Walter Hunt, an American inventor created the first lockstitch sewing machine, but he didn’t bother to patent it because he was worried it would cause mass unemployment. In 1844 the English inventor John Fisher designed the first machine which combined all the former ideas; this project was later improved on and built by Isaac Merritt Singer and Elias Howe, who also invented the zip closure.
(Elias Howe project)(Elias Howe)
In this period a small production of sewing machines started; in 1851 Singer invented the first machine with a horizontal arm and a pressure foot this is a system that keeps the fabric stable under the needle. These sewing machines were hand operated and they were quite difficult to use, for this reason the foot pedal was introduced later to free the hands. Many years later, the Singer company built the first machine with an electric motor and in 1975 it produced the first electronic machine in the world (Athena 2000).
(Isaac Merritt Singer) (Singer machine)
In 1862 in Germany, Georg Michael Pfaff a brass instrument maker, finally managed to construct his first sewing machine. After seeing one at a fair many years earlier being completely fascinated by this new object, he decided to stop production of the musical instruments and dedicate himself entirely to this new project.
(Georg Michael Pfaff)(Pfaff machine)
Sewing machines in Italy
In Italy the first company that produced machines in this sector was Filotecnica Salmoiraghi in 1877. This distinguished brand is well known for the great quality of its products and also for its numerous innovations. For example it was the first company to produce a machine that could make buttonholes. Around 1920 another Italian company Virginio Rimoldi di Milano started to make the first sergers. These machines could cut the fabric whilist sewing; this was a new step for the industrial garment production, in fact, this new machine whilist decreasing the production time was also more accurate.
The best known brand, which is in fact still active today in the sewing sector, is without a doubt Necchi. Vittorio Necchi, wanted to make a domestic sewing machine using for production his familys steel works in Pavia. He started with the model “BD” and then followed up with the innovative “BU” a machine which was able to zig-zag; making it, in 1939, one of the first machines capable of embroidery. Finally the “BF” and in 1950 the“Supernova” machines which are still today at the technological forefront. In 1956, the “Mirella” designed by Marcello Nizzoli, in addition to winning various awards for its technical qualities was placed in the MOMA museum in New York for its innovative design.
Sewing machines nowdays
Today, the modern machines, differ only in the use of electronics and a few pneumatically operated details which help to speed up the productivity. In our company we use a lot of modern machines but also many dated machines which have the ability to sew at the highest quality.