Who Invented the Sewing Machine?

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Sewing is one of the oldest inventions in the world. Sewing needles have been found as far back as 17 500 BC. The sewing machine was invented in the industrial revolution, but there are many inventors and claims on who actually invented the sewing machine. There were many inventors and different types of sewing machine designs, stretching from the start and over the end of the industrial revolution. Even tho there were many inventors, only a few of them made sewing machines that were so easy to use that they would replace hand sewing. So who invented the sewing machine?




Barthélemy Thimonnier

Barthélemy Thimonnier the inventor of the sewing machine
Portrait of Barthélemy Thimonnier

The person who invented the first professional sewing machine design that was practical and widely used was the french tailor Barthélemy Thimonnier in 1829. Barthélemy Thimonnier partnered up with Auguste Ferrand, a mininging engineer. The design was patented in 1830 and they started a clothing manufacturing company. The company was short-lived after The patent got disputed by several companies. They never got around to fight the disputes as the factory burned down in 1835 and the factory declared bankruptcy.

The reason why his design is important is that it actually made using a sewing machine easier than hand sewing.


Fischer Vs. Singer

Isaac Merritt Singer
Isaac Merritt Singer

in 1844, the English inventor John Fischer combined all the previous sewing machine designs into one Sewing Machine.

In the same year, a very similar design was invited by Isaac Merrit Singer, and his partner Elias Howe. Even tho the invention started to take shape in 1844, the patent was not submitted until 1851.

Isaac Merrit Singer company is still in existence and it's one of the leading sewing machine brands in the world. Their patent was very similar to John Fischer's design and the patents have been disputed several times over the last 150 years. However, the Fischers design did not have the flywheel and the positioning of the fabric was first made to be vertically on the Singer and Howes design. These amongst many other revolutionary design elements made the Singer machine the first practical sewing machine for home use.




The electronic Sewing Machine:

There are still thousands of early Singer sewing machines out there. And many of them still work. The simple mechanical design made them indestructible. The first mass-produced electric sewing machines were invented in the 1970s. There have been reported patents around an electronic sewing machine since the 1920s. Who invented the first electronic sewing machine that actually worked is unknown.

There were many Sewing machine inventors.

All they did theirs to push the technology forward and sewing would not be where it is today if it weren't for them.