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1850 Robinson's Patent Model of a Sewing Machine

1850 Robinson's Patent Model of a Sewing Machine

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Sewing Machine Patent Model
Patent No. 7,824, issued December 10, 1850
Frederick R. Robinson of Boston, Massachusetts
In his Annual Report to the Congress of Patents for 1850, Commissioner Thomas Ewbank stated that 995 patents were issued. One of those patents was to Frederick R. Robinson for improvements to sewing machines. Robinson’s patent was used commercially by the firm of Howard & Davis of Boston to manufacture sewing machines. In addition to using Robinson’s patent, the machines they built utilized improvements patented by Sylvester H. Roper of Worcester, Massachusetts (Patent No. 11,521 issued on August 15, 1854) and with additional improvements (Patent No. 16,026 issued on November 4, 1856). Howard & Davis were best known for their manufacture of high-grade clocks and watches, although they also built fire engines and precision balances.
As Robinson stated, “The object of my invention is to produce either what is generally termed ‘stitch and back stitch’ sewing, or ordinary stitching.” He notes that this is frequently called the running stitch or basting stitch. His specific patent claim was “The combination of two needles, two thread-guides, and a cloth-holder made to operate together... and... the improvement of making the needles with springs and applying mouth-pieces or pressers to them, and on each side of the flange of the base-plate...”
Scientific American, November 1, 1856, describes the machine based on the patents mentioned above as: “Robinson & Roper exhibit their new improved sewing machines, which appear to operate with great success. Two needles are employed, the points of which are furnished with hooks that alternately catch the thread and form the stitch. The finest kind of cotton thread or silk can be used.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
sewing machine patent model
Object Type
Patent Model
model constructed
before 1850-12-10
patent date
Robinson, Frederick R.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 22 in x 19 in x 15 in; 55.88 cm x 48.26 cm x 38.1 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
Patent Models
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Patent Models
Patent Models, Sewing Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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