1846: Elias Howe patents the first practical sewing machine and threads his way into the fabric of history. French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier patented a device in 1830 that mechanized the typical hand-sewing motions to create a simple chain stitch. He planned to mass-produce uniforms for the French army. His competition had different ideas. About 200 tailors rioted on the morning of Jan. 20, 1831, ransacking Thimonnier’s factory, destroying 80 sewing machines and throwing the pieces out the windows. The inventor fled for his life. Thimonnier conceived of a machine that could sew a backstitch (which would be more durable), but resolutely spent the next two decades trying to perfect various permutations of his original machine and its unreliable chain stitch...
Antique Sewing Machine Owners Group