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from France and England, were brought in competition with it only to test its superiority. Its success was so distinguished as to disarm envy, and bring down generous cheers from the vanquished parties.” The “La Presse,” the most extensively circulated newspaper in France, on this occasion devoted no less than four columns to a minute historical sketch and description of the machine, in connection with an account of the extraordinary results of these trials.
At the Paris exhibitions of 1856-7, the first premiums were awarded to M'Cormick’s Reaper; and to the same was awarded the first premium of the United States Agricultural Society, in July, 1857, at a trial at Syracuse of about twenty of the most prominent reapers of the United States.
The rapidity with which the farmer can, by this machine, cut his grain, when in the proper state; has greatly stimulated production in our country. For grass-cutting it operates with equal advantage, proportional to the amount of that crop. M'Cormick?s Reaper may be said to be to the great West, what Whitney's cotton gin is to the South-a machine of incalculable advantages in developing the resources of the country. In the broad prairies of the West it has full scope for its triumphs; some four thousand of them being annually manufactured at Chicago, mainly for the use of the Western farmers.
ISAAC M. SINGER, AND THE SEWING MACHINE. The SEWING MACHINE does great honor to the inventive genius of our countrymen. This machine is not, however, the result of the ingenuity of one mind, but appears to have been brought to its present state of usefulness by the. sụccessive, inventions of many individuals, which, when properly combined has resulted in an invention, whose pecuniary benefits cannot be measured by millions, and which in the emancipation of the wives, mothers, and daugḥters of the land from a most unhealthy kind of labor, is destined to prove one of the greatest of human blessings.
The magnitude of this invention, can hardly be appreciated. It is estimated that in civilized countries more than one half of the adult portion of the human race are almost wholly employed in the use of the needle, and much of this sewing is of a kind which rapidly wears upon the system, producing premature disease and death. The sewing machine was precisely the invention most needed by the world.
The first sewing machine of which there is any account was of French invention, and was a tambour machine of simple contrivance, which was used for the purpose of ornamenting the backs of gloves, and marking cloths. It operated with one needle and a single thread, making what is commonly called the single chain stitch. This machine was not adapted to general purposes, the seam sewed by it could readily be raveled out, and therefore it never was much used.
The next machine or machines for sewing, for there were two or more of them, differing in form and arrangement, but alike in their essential principles of operation, were invented, constructed, exhibited, and sold by WALTER Hunt, of the City of New-York, in the years 1834 and 1835.
The next sewing machine in order, and the first upon which a patent was obtained in the United States, was invented by JOHN J. GREENOUGH, Esq His patent bears date February 1, 1842. Mr. Greenough's machine was made to sew with two threads, both of which were entirely passed through the cloth at every stitch; a mode of operation which in actual practice presents difficulties.
George R. CORLISS, of Greenwich, N. Y., was the inventor and patentee of the next sewing machine, his patent bearing date December 27, 1843. This was also a machine which sewed with two threads in a manner somewhat similar to that of Mr. Greenough, and was subject to the like objections.
On the 10th of September, 1846, letters patent were granted to Elias Howe, Jr., a machinist of Cambridge, Massachusetts. This machine had been invented the year previous. The prominent feature of this invention, was the combination of the needle and shuttle. In 1849, Lerow and Blodget obtained a patent on what is called the Rotary Sewing Machine. Owing to the defects of these various machines, they failed to come into general use, and the public became so repeatedly disappointed and deceived, that they were prepared to regard any mån as an imposter who should speak of offering a sewing machine, no matter how perfect it should be. But intellect was at work, overcoming the defects of these previous attempts, until at last ISAAC M. SINGER, a native of Pittstown, Rensellaer County, New York, invented a machine, which was so superior to all its predecessors as to convince the public of the practicability of the sewing machine, for general use : and this was just what. Fulton did for the steamboat.
In October, 1851, he exhibited his machine at the Fair of the American Institute, and was awarded a premium of the first class--a gold medal. Similar testimonials have been awarded to this invention at seven fairs in the various States. It has rarely happened that any great invention, under the most favorable circumstances, has made an equal progress with this, in so short a time. The machines are in most profitable use in all parts of the country, and the world, and for a great variety of purposes. They are capable of stitching the finest linen or heavy leather, and any kind or quality of materials between these extremes, and the work is strong and exceedingly beautiful. The Straight Needle Sewing Machine, has established its reputation as one of the most important labor-saving instruments ever devised.
Since the first patent granted to I. M. Singer, for the sewing machine, on the 12th day of August, 1851, seventeen other distinct patents have been issued to him in the United States, upon the same subject. The same improvements have also been patented in several foreign countries.
Mr. Singer has, therefore, “the exclusive right to numerous mechanical devices, without the use of which no sewing machine can be made to operate to advantage;" and, where used by others, it is either by a contract with him or by an infringement of his legal rights.
Scarcely any invention is ever made without an infringement on the rights of the inventor. Persons unacquainted with patents are apt to suppose that if a man has a patent upon a device in a machine, he must there.. fore have the right to make and sell such machine. This is a great mistake. There are at this moment between one hundred and a hundred and fifty patents in this country on the sewing machine. These patents are, for the most part, for minor improvements of little practical importance, and the law is that no patentee of an improvement on a machine can use anything secured by a previous patent without the consent of the prior inventor. Hence it follows that it is now utterly impossible to make a sewing machine of any kind of any practical utility without directly infringing several subsisting patents, the validity of which cannot be questioned.
In the year 1855, Singer's sewing machine, received the prize, in the French National Exhibition, in Paris. These machines are now used by the French government, for the manufacture of the clothes of the French army and navy. A manufactory has been established in Paris, and the right to use his patents in France sold for 100,000 dollars. On the 6th of February, 1849, a patent was granted to. Charles Morey and Joseph B. Johnson, of Massachusetts, upon a machine which made a seam with a single thread by means of a needle and a hook, acting in combination, and for certain purposes, it is a very valuable invention.
Beside these are a largė, number of inventions, mostly worthless, or only very limited in the uses to which they can be applied. The four prominent sewing machines before the country, which can be used for a variety of purposes, are SINGER'S, WIIEELER and WILSON'S, Gpavun and BAKER’S, Hunt, WEBSTER & Co's. These four machines, beside being covered by various patents peculiar to each, are indebted to the prior invention of Howe for the needle used. For the right to use his patent ineedle, the four pay Mr. Howe more than $100,000 per annun.
The sewing machine has already been introduced to sich an extent that some calculation may be made of its effect as a social element. It was predicted that its use would bear with peculiar hardship upon the sewing girl, whose oppressed condition has long excited the sympathies of the philanthropic; but it is evident this has not been the result; and the strong prejudice which for several years resisted the introduction of the sewing/machine, has been gradually overcome. The following incident, which occurred about four years ago, is related by SINGER, and shows the nature of the resistance then experienced: “We were sitting in our office one pleasant afternoon, when a tall lady dressed in black entered, and with rapid step advanced to the sewing machine on exhibition. Are you,' she asked, "the inventor of this machine ? 'I am," was the reply. Then, she rejoined, with a fierce expression, “you ought to be hung ! Having delivered herself of this opinion, she abruptly left the office."
It was not anticipated that the price of hand labor would advance, as the machines were brought into operation. Yet such is the fact. It is undeniably true, that the wages of hand labor in the principal branches of industry in which sewing machines are most employed, has advanced nearly or quite fifty per cent., within the last four years. With all the aid to be derived from the machines, many manufacturers find it difficult to procure their work to be done. The truth is that the quantity of work increases with the capacity to perform it, and, consequently, the mechanic will never be unemployed because of the introduction of machinery, while in common with the whole community, he will be directly benefited by the cheapening of articles of necessity and luxury which he may wish to buy.
The sewing machine also stimulates various other branches of manufacture. Among those in connection with it worthy of notice, is the great improvement which has taken place in the quality of sewing silk, twist, thread, etc., made necessary by the rapid and accurate movement of the sewing machine. We now produce thread in this country, which far exceeds any of foreign importation, in strength and evenness of texture. If the foreign and domestic are looped together and jerked asunder, the former, even of the best descriptions, has been found to yield in the greatest number of instances. Several thread factories have been established to meet the increased demand.
We conclude this subject by quoting a few paragraphs from the pen of an intelligent writer upon the sewing machine, in its social and sanitary aspects.
“We have from examination a most thorough conviction of the advantages of sewing machines for family use, and for sewing generally in all its varieties. They sew every kind of material, working equally well upon silk, linen, woollen, and cotton goods ; seaming, quilting, gathering, hemming, etc., with a strength and beauty superior to any hand work. They are elegant in model and finish, simple and thorough in construction, quiet and rapid in operation ; easily managed; and make a firm and durable seam equally beautiful upon each side, with great economy of thread. The speed averages about twelve hundred stitches. per minute, though it may be run at double thiş. In manufacturing skirts where about ten stitches to the inch are made, one thousand yards of straight sewing is an average day's work of ten hours. It is sometimes run as high as one hundred and fifty yards per hour. Fifty dozens of shirt collars, or six dozens of shirt bosoms are a day's work. They are estimated to do the work of twelve seamstresses. The wages of a good operator at family sewing, are, we believe, two dollars per day. They have done much to elevate and extend the sphere of female industry. The uses of the needle have been multiplied. Processes now executed by machines have been heretofore performed by various implements. The cheapening of manufactures has so much increased their consumption, that not only are the interests of humanity subserved, but avenues of employment have been opened to female industry heretofore occupied by men. It is, however, rather from a professional and sanitary point of view that we purpose to consider them particularly.
The physical evils resulting from the use of the needle are of modern date; the few and simple robes of ancestral times, taxed but slightly the wives and daughters of those days. . It is in this period of increased manufacture of fabrics, that the burden has fallen so heavily upon woman: and resulted in such frightful consequences to health, virtue and happiness. We are inclined to analyze these phenomena rather than dismiss them with vague expressions.
The attitude in hand sewing is unhealthful. There is always more or less stooping of the head and shoulders, tending to retard circulation, respiration, digestion, and produce curvature of the spine. The erect position is the healthy one. The head should be raised and the shoulders thrown back to give the lungs full play. The frequent long drawn breath of the seanistress, evinces the cramping and confinement of the lungs. Health cannot be expected without free respiration. The life-giving element is in the atmosphere, and without it in due abundance disease must supervene.
Again, the stillness required for hand sewing is destructive to health. The hands and arms alone move; the body and lower limbs are motionless, which tend to paralysis. Confinement in the stocks would be hardly more barbarous. Strength and robustness muist come from exercise. This confined attitude is in violation of correct theories of healthy physical development--the instincts of nature. Those accustomed to șit writing for hours, day after day, can form some idea of the exhausting nature of this work.
The minute attention required, and the strain upon the cyes, are not the least evils resulting from hand sewing Attention cannot be intermitted and have the work go on. The eye must be fixed, in order to measure the stitch. The fineness of the needle and thread, the various colored fabrics, and the precision that good work requires, tas the eyesight more than any other business. We must reflect, too, that this labor is demanded under most unfavorable circumstances : dim lights, dark and close rooms--day and night for years. Nothing could be better devised for ruining health. What wonder that needle women are pale, nervous, and care worn; or that our women generally look old at an early age !
THE ATLANTIC SUB-MARINE TELEGRAPH. The whole nation having been recently electrified by the tidings of the successful laying of the Atlantic cable, a few paragraphis-upon that enterprise is inserted here as a matter of history too vital to be omitted in an article of this nature. While it is true that the cable has failed remain of any practical benefit as a mediumt, of communication, yet the great fact remains demonstrated, that it was successfully laid between the two continents, and telegraphic communication actually sent through it across the broad Atlantic: The first actual working' sub-marine telegraph was an American achieve
In the year 1846, Colonel Samuel Colt laid a sub-marine telegraph from New York to Long Island, thence to Coney Island, near the entrance of New York Bay, to obtain early marine news, which worked, for a time, .satisfactorily. The first permanent sub-marine telegraph was not laid until five years after, and is that from Dover to Calais, connecting England with France : it is twenty-five miles in length.
The discovery of the properties of gutta percha, which were unknown a few years since, has alone rendered possible the Atlantic telegraph. This gum is the only substance known which will form such a coating around the wire as to perfectly insulate it that is, by its non-conducting qualities, entirely prevent the escape of electricity. This fact was discovered in 1848, by Samuel T. Armstrong, of New York.
The Atlantic cable weighs 1800 pounds to the mile, and cost something over a million of dollars. Its center is composed of a twisted cord of seven fine copper wires, coated with gutta percha, forming a small rope, three