Clothing & Accessories
Work, play, fashion, economic class, religious faith, even politics—all these aspects of American life and more are woven into clothing. The Museum cares for one of the nation's foremost collections of men's, women's, and children's garments and accessories—from wedding gowns and military uniforms to Halloween costumes and bathing suits.
The collections include work uniforms, academic gowns, clothing of presidents and first ladies, T-shirts bearing protest slogans, and a clean-room "bunny suit" from a manufacturer of computer microchips. Beyond garments, the collections encompass jewelry, handbags, hair dryers, dress forms, hatboxes, suitcases, salesmen's samples, and thousands of fashion prints, photographs, and original illustrations. The more than 30,000 artifacts here represent the changing appearance of Americans from the 1700s to the present day.
"Clothing & Accessories - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Sewing Machine Patent Model
- Patent No. 6439, issued May 8, 1849
- John Bachelder of Boston, Massachusetts
- John Bachelder of Boston, Massachusetts, submitted this sewing machine patent model for his Patent No. 6439, which was granted on May 8, 1849. Bachelder’s machine sewed with a chain-stitch. He did not claim this chain-stitch mechanism as it was patented earlier in February in 1849 by Charles Morey and Joseph B. Johnson of Massachusetts. Instead he focused on improving the cloth feed. On this model, Bachelder used a wide continuous leather belt inserted with sharp pins to hold the cloth and enable the leather belt to move the cloth forward as it was being sewn. After being stitched, the fabric would be disengaged from the points by a curved piece of metal. This was the first patent for a continuous sewing, intermittent feeding mechanism.
- Although Bachelder did not manufacture his sewing machine, his patent and later reissues of it were bought by I. M. Singer, and became one of the central patents to form the Sewing Machine Combination in 1856. 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 litigations between them. This allowed them to move ahead with manufacturing and marketing of their own sewing machine and collect license fees from other companies wanting to use their patents.
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1849-05-08
- patent date
- Bachelder, John
- ID Number
- catalog number
- patent number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center