The first Wheeler and Wilson sewing machine, 1866.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This machine is the true ancestor of the modern lock-stitch sewing machine, since it incorporates the rotating hook principle and four motion feed invented by Allen B Wilson (1824-1888). Although Wilson patented his inventions in 1851 and 1854 respectively, the first sewing machine was not made until 1866. In this machine the underthread is contained in a disc bobbin which fits loosely in a ring-shaped holder. Interlocking of the two threads occurs when the loops of the needle thread are caught and extended by the revolving hook and pased under the bobbin. The preser-foot has an inset glas plate which allows the seamstres to observe the seam at the point of stitching. The machine was treadle driven but the stand is not shown.