Original Singer sewing machine, 1854.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made by Singer, this machine is an improved single-thread chain-stitch machine. Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875) designed the first practical sewing machine in Boston, Masachusetts, United States in 1850, and in 1853 founded the Singer Manufacturing Company. Singer was sued by Elias Howe (1819-1867) for infringement of patent for his use of the Howe needle. However, despite having to pay compensation, this machine ensured succes for the Singer company. The machine was packed in a box, which also served as a stand.