1834 – Walter Hunt Invents First Lockstitch Sewing Machine
In 1834 (or 1833, according to some accounts
), prolific American inventor Walter Hunt created the first lockstitch sewing machine
. Hunt’s sewing machine is said to be the first that didn’t mimic the movements of the human hand– instead, it was a curved, eye-pointed needle machine that passed the thread through fabric in an arc motion. On the other side of the fabric, a loop was made while a second thread, carried by a shuttle, ran on a track and passed back through the loop. The lockstitch was born.
Though his design was brilliant, Hunt did not patent his machine. He worried
it would put seamstresses out of business and cause unemployment. That was a real concern in the sewing industry (see 1831 above), so his fears were not unfounded.
Hunt also invented the safety pin, a predecessor to the Winchester repeating rifle, road sweeping machinery, nail making machinery, and a safer household oil lamp, among other inventions.