1852 - Otis Avery's Patent Model of a Sewing Machine

1852 - Otis Avery's Patent Model of a Sewing Machine

<< >>
Sewing Machine Patent Model
Patent No. 9,338, issued October 19, 1852
Otis Avery of Honesdale, Pennsylvania
Otis Avery was born in Bridgewater, New York, on August 19, 1808. He learned the watchmaker’s trade from his father John, a silversmith and watchmaker. Otis opened a watch repair shop in Bethany, Pennsylvania, in 1827.
Later, he studied dentistry under a Dr. Ambler in New Berlin, New York, and received a dental certificate of qualification in 1833. In 1850, he settled in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where he practiced dentistry until his death in 1904.
Avery was mechanically talented, making many of his own dental tools. He designed a self-cleaning cuspidor and devised improvements to a typesetting machine. On October 19, 1852, he received Patent No. 9,338 for improvements on a sewing machine. The chain stitch he used was enlarged on his patent drawing and he described it in the specification as “two threads having a double lock with each other, and in practice almost every alternate stitch may be cut or broken, and yet the material will not... ‘rip out.’” A common problem with the chain stitch was that it could easily be unraveled. His patent claims were for the working combination of needle-bars, spring-holders, and adjustable guides, which regulated the length of the stitch together with a weight for moving the cloth forward.
The catalogue for the 1853 New York Exhibition noted that three sewing machines were exhibited by the Avery Sewing Machine Co. of New York City. Each machine was adapted for sewing different materials, such as wool, muslin, linen, and leathers. He continued to improve his machine and received Patent No. 10,880, issued May 9, 1854, and Patent No. 22,007, issued November 9, 1856.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sewing machine patent model
Object Type
Patent Model
model constructed
before 1852-10-19
patent date
Avery, Otis
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 9 in x 13 in x 10 in; 22.86 cm x 33.02 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
catalog number
patent number
accession number
Patent Models
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Sewing Machines
Patent Models
Patent Models, Sewing Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object