1849 - John Bachelder's Patent Model of a Sewing Machine

1849 - John Bachelder's Patent Model of a Sewing Machine

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
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
Object Name
sewing machine patent model
Object Type
Patent Model
model constructed
before 1849-05-08
patent date
Bachelder, John
place invented
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
leather (overall material)
overall: 13 in x 19 in x 15 in; 33.02 cm x 48.26 cm x 38.1 cm; wt. 50 lbs
ID Number
catalog number
patent number
accession number
Patent Models
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Clothing & Accessories
Patent Models, Sewing Machines
Industry & Manufacturing
Sewing Machines
Patent Models
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.


Hi, I just want to confirm if the red lines that appear in this Bachelder's Patent Model were in the original design. Thank you in advance for your response

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.