1851 Grover and Baker's Patent Model of a Sewing Machine

Sewing Machine Patent Model
Patent No. 7,931, issued on February 11, 1851
William O. Grover and William E. Baker of Roxbury, Massachusetts
William O. Grover, a tailor working in Boston, believed that the sewing machine would transform the clothing industry. Seeing that the available sewing machines were not very practical, he began in 1849 to devise a different machine. He developed a new stitch that was made by interlocking two threads in a series of slipknots. Another Boston tailor, William E. Baker, shared Grover’s vision and became his partner in the project.
They received Patent No. 7,931 on February 11, 1851, for a double chain stitch made with two threads. The stitch was made using a vertical eye-pointed needle for the top thread and a horizontal needle for the under thread.
The Grover and Baker Sewing Machine Company was organized in 1851. Jacob Weatherill, mechanic, and Orlando B. Potter, lawyer, joined the firm. It was Potter who saw that the numerous lawsuits over patent rights were strangling the growth of the fledging sewing machine industry. In 1856, his work lead to the formation of the Sewing Machine Combination also called the Sewing Machine Trust. This organization consisted of three sewing machine manufacturers, I. M. Singer Co., Wheeler & Wilson Co., and the Grover & Baker Co., and the inventor, Elias Howe Jr., who all agreed to pool their important patents and stop patent litigation between them. This allowed them to move ahead with manufacturing and marketing of their own sewing machines and collecting license fees from other companies wanting to use their patents.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sewing machine patent model
model constructed
before 1851-02-11
patent date
Grover, William O.
Baker, William E.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 9 in x 12 in x 10 3/4 in; 22.86 cm x 30.48 cm x 27.305 cm
ID Number
catalog number
patent number
accession number
Patent Models
Patent Models
Patent Models, Sewing Machines
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Patent Models
Patent Models, Sewing Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Janssen, Barbara Suit. Patent Models Index
Publication title
The Sewing Machine: Its Invention and Development
Publication author
Cooper, Grace Rogers
Publication URL
Additional Media

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