Eldest and Middlest received sewing machines from their dad for Christmas this year.
I had the pleasure of choosing them, and am very excited that my babies now have machines which should serve them well for years. My first sewing machine lasted 20 years, and was used to make everything from curtains to clothing for the kids to my first few quilts.
Sewing machines have been around in Europe since 1830, when according to inventors.about.com, a French tailor named Barthelemy Thimonnier invented a machine. It used only one thread and made a chain stitch similar to one created when embroidering. The first machine I used as a child was a hand-cranked Isaac Singer, which used the same method of sewing. One notable thing about Thimonnier is that his machine so enraged the other French tailors that they burned down his garment factory because they thought he would put them out of business.
Inventors.about.com also tells us that sewing machines went into mass production in the United States in the 1850s. Singer built the first commercially successful machine, and it was the first one to use a foot treadle instead of hand crank.
See Wednesday's paper for the full column.