The 50,000 objects in the textile collections fall into two main categories: raw fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and machines, tools, and other textile technology. Shawls, coverlets, samplers, laces, linens, synthetics, and other fabrics are part of the first group, along with the 400 quilts in the National Quilt Collection. Some of the Museum's most popular artifacts, such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the gowns of the first ladies, have an obvious textile connection.
The machinery and tools include spinning wheels, sewing machines, thimbles, needlework tools, looms, and an invention that changed the course of American agriculture and society. A model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, made by the inventor in the early 1800s, shows the workings of a machine that helped make cotton plantations profitable in the South and encouraged the spread of slavery.
"Textiles - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Sewing Machine Patent Model
- Patent No. 9,380, issued on November 2, 1852
- John G. Bradeen of Boston, Massachusetts
- John G. Bradeen notes in his patent specification that his sewing machine operates and forms a similar stitch to that of Frederick R. Roberson’s sewing machine of December 10, 1850 (Patent No. 7,824.) Roberson’s machine sewed with a running stitch or basting stitch.
- The mechanisms of Bradeen’s patent model are mostly made of brass and the model sits on a simple wooden box. He furnished six pages of drawings depicting his improvements, whereas most sewing machine inventors limited their submissions to fewer drawings. Bradeen claims for his improvements “two rotating draft-hooks . . . separate from the needle, in combination with the two needles and two threads-guides; . . . the arrangement of each needle and its thread-guide, respectively, on opposite sides of the cloth . . . and the combination of the rocking thread-lifter or its equivalent with the needle and presser . . . .”
- It is not known if any sewing machines were manufactured based on Bradeen’s patent.
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1852-11-02
- patent date
- Bradeen, John G.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- patent number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center