October 5th 1858 Joseph E. Hendrick patented
his revolutionary sewing machine "shears"
in the USA. The basic concept of the machine is best explained
using Hendrick's own words:
nature of my invention consists in the application of sewing mechanism
to a device similar to shears, whereby the opening and shutting
of the shears performs the functions of sewing. Thereby a very
simple, portable, cheap, and efficient machine is constructed,
that can be used in the hand in a manner similar to shears, and
applied to the work instead of the work being applied to it; or
the said shears may be screwed to the table or other convenient
place or support and the cloth presented to the 'sewing-shears'."
simple chain stitch design incorporated a toothed wheel to feed
the cloth. The machines were made from brass, this being finished
in silver plate. The company of Nettleton & Raymond, Bristol,
Connecticut, are attributed as the manufacturers. Production of
the machine appears to have been very short-lived.
basic principle of scissors or shears type was revisited more
than 20 years later. W. F. Thompson's patent
saw the light of day in the UK on 21st October 1884.
A lockstitch mechanism was featured this time, a tiny boat shuttle
carried the lower thread, the whole being reciprocated in a radial
arc. Cloth feed was achieved by a walking presser foot. Production
machines were made from steel, this being nickel plated. Construction
was of a high quality, and manufacture lasted a number of years.
Extant examples are stamped "American
Hand Sewing Machine Co." There was no provision for a
table clamp with these machines, although high quality separate
bobbin winders were provided.