Wednesday, July 18, 2012

First sewing machine Carter Carter County, Tennessee

Here's the story of what is believed to be the First sewing machine Carter County in Tennessee.

Today, we cannot imagine how this invention changed the lives of women.  Back in the day, people had large households with many people to clothe.  In many, if not most, families, a good deal of the family's clothing was made at home.  In addition, there was usually a great deal of mending to do, for people tended to have fewer garments and to extend their life through maintenance.  Add to that the making of curtains, blankets, quilts, handkerchiefs, table linens, and such.  The average woman of that time spent many hours with her needle in her hand.  Mechanized home sewing greatly cut down those hours. 

According to History Today, the American journalist and campaigner for women, Sarah Hale (1822-79), wrote in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1867 that to make the average shirt by hand required 20,620 stitches.  At a rate of thirty-five stitches a minute, a skilled hand-seamstress could fashion a shirt in ten to fourteen hours. Sewing machines moved at the pace of 3,000 stitches a minute.  This meant that  a seamstress could assemble a shirt in an hour with more consistently neat results.

Unfortunately, while the sewing machine was a labor saving machine for families, it is thought that it actually added to the work load of women and children who made their livings by sewing.  Along with the advent of the sewing machine came the beginnings of "sweat shops". 

This was just one of the many 19th century and early 20th century inventions that propelled Tennessee, the U.S., and the whole western world into a modern society.  

During my grandfathers' lives, for example, the following things came into wide use:  automobiles, planes, the nuclear bomb, space travel, penicillin, tractors, combines, radios, TV, old-time computers, electric lights, etc.  My grandparents, who were Tennesseans, started life in the horse and buggy age and ended life in the space age.

Amazing!

Enjoy!

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