Tag Archives: sewing history

Sewing Machine and the Invention of Chain Stitching

Sewing is an art of stitching of cloth, leather and furs as well as other materials. Needle and thread are widely involved in this ancient art. From the Paleolithic age of history of mankind the use of sewing could be seen as an art to predate the plaiting of cloth. It was around at the time of 30,000 B.C. It was used mainly for clothing and for other household furnishing. Sails, bellows, banners and skin boats are also produced with the help of this art called sewing. Some other useful items are also shaped out from flexible materials for instance leather and canvas. Sewing is also universally used in industrial world and for this purpose it is done by sewing machine.

A sewing machine has a complex set of arms and gears. It slices cotton through the layers of the cloth and semi-securely interlocks the yarn. The sewing machine can usually compose a great range of plain and decorative stitches. Chain stitch was used in the older stage of the history of sewing machine.

Early history of chain stitching

Before a machine was invented in practice, hand was usually used for sewing. In the early age of embroidery the needle was not used for joining stitches but for decorative purpose. In that time the needle was changed to create a fine steel hook. In Portugal it was called ‘agulha’, in Spain it was called ‘aguja’ and ‘crochet’ in France. The invention of chain stitch was formed by those earlier types of stitching. In the formula of chain stitching the needle was partly pushed through withdrawn and fabric and a loop of thread was left. The successive stitch would move through the first ring of stitching by creating another loop for the next one, which eventually forms the shape of a chain. Hence the name of the stitching has become chain stitching.

The first man who is known for his attempt at a mechanical gadget for sewing was Charles Weisenthal. He worked in England and was given British Patent No. 701 in the year of 1755. The patent was given for a double pointed needle with the eye at the single end. Thomas Saint was awarded British Patent No. 1764 in the year of 1790. His devise had the overhead arm for the needle and a outline of tensioning system. It was to develop into a general feature of later machines.

Various attempts had been taken and also awarded for receiving patents between the times of 1795-1830, but none of them were used to any degree of success. Barthelemy Thimonnier was the major inventor who did not try to duplicate the human hand stitch but looked for a path of verdict a stitch that could be produced quickly and also easily by the machine. He was awarded the French Patent in the year of 1830.

In the Thimonnier’s design the cloth was carried on a hollow and a horizontal fixed arm with a hole on the topside. The needle was anticipated through at the lowest part of its stroke. A hook was located inside the fixed arm and it was partly rotated at each stroke in order to envelop the thread around the needle at each of the stroke. Then the needle passed the thread back through the upward motion of the material of its stroke. The chain stitch is formed by it and helped to hold the cloth together. The Thimonnier’s machine was motorized by the way of a foot pedal. In this way the method of chain stitching was invented.