Embroidery Machines

December 5, 2007

With the rapid advancement in technology for electric sewing machines a machine for every type of stitch was being born. It took several tries, however, to come up with a machine that could handle the task of embroidery.

Thomas Stone and James Henderson were granted a French patent in 1804 for “a machine that emulated hand sewing.” That same year a patent was granted to Scott John Duncan for an “embroidery machine with multiple needles.” The machines of all three men were unsuccessful and never came to being. It wasn’t until 1860, that Isaak Groebli combined previous hand looming techniques with existing sewing machine technology to create the first embroidery sewing machine.

The technology advanced greatly in 1911 when the Singer Sewing Company developed the first multi-head embroidery sewing machine with six heads and a pantograph attachment. It wasn’t until the 1950s that more advancements were introduced and technology continued to advance with computerization. During this decade, advancements in the sale of licensing rights and mass-merchandising opened up the market for factory-based embroidered items. Today embroidery sewing machines are used every day worldwide, some with up to thirty different heads, though most jobs require only the smaller machines.

Industrial sewing machines, like their domestic counterparts for the home seamstress, were created to simplify and speed up the otherwise labor-intensive hand stitching. Higher-end sewing machine models developed for the home often feature a hoop attachment and an embroider stitch mode. Crafters and seamstresses, who would use this feature, were frequently frustrated at having to constantly change out the different thread colors. Today’s advanced embroider sewing machines feature single or multi-heads for different spools of thread and are as easily available to the home seamstress as to the large garment factory. Many machine-embroidered items are created in small home-based businesses with affordable, easy-to-use, computer-operated embroidery sewing machines that do not require a lot of room. Specialized attachments allow for embroidery to be added to a variety of pre-manufactured products and fabrics, as well as the addition of sequins and other fancy enhancements.

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December 5, 2007

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