Elias Howe, Jr. and his Sewing Machines

  Elias Howe is considered the father of the Sewing Machine. On September 10, 1846, he was awarded the first United States patent for a sewing machine using a lockstitch design. His machine contained the three essential features: a needle with the eye at the point, a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to form the lockstitch, and an automatic feed. Elias Howe was born in Spencer, Massachusetts and spent much of his early inventive years in Cambridge. Between 1849 and 1854, he defended his patents for his invention against Isaac Singer in the famous "Sewing Machine War".

After his service in the Civil War, Elias Howe established the Howe Machine Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut in1865. Unfortunately, his new found success was short-lived, Howe dies in 1867. His brother Amasa continued the company's success through the 1880s.

Connecticut was the home of the greatest Sewing Machine manufacturers in those early years. Howe, Wheeler & Wilson, Weed and Singer are the most recognizable. Singer and Howe were both based in Bridgeport during the last two quarters of the Nineteenth Century. All of these companies were excellent at marketing, circulating booklets and tradecards prior to magazine advertising. This piece of ephemera is treasured today because it provides us with a romanticized glimpse of the life of sewers and quiltmakers in the late Nineteenth Century.

This booklet was published in 1882. "The Howe Alphabet" is an endearing poem to market the company's sewing machines. I included a PDF file to download and print the entire booklet, if you wish. ENJOY!

PDF File with the entire booklet. The only other one I  have ever seen is in the collection of the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.  Enjoy!  Feel free to use the poems and images but please give credit to this web site as a source.

Howe1.pdf Howe1.pdf
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 This Howe Sewing Machine booklet from published in 1876 and was distributed at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Here is the front and the back covers.  The back cover shows is the Howe Sewing Machine displays at the Centennial.           The thumb nails show the rest of the pages.

 This is the PDF for the entire booklet.                       Feel free to download it for a closer look.

HOWE1876.pdf HOWE1876.pdf
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