Wheeler and Wilson automatic button-hole machine, 1890.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
As soon as the problems of ordinary sewing had been solved, machines were devised for special purposes. To sew a button-hole automatically the machine must sew, according to a built in programme, a succesion of stitches to outline the hole which is then cut in the cloth. This machine was made by the Wheeler and Wilson Manufacturing Company under patents dating from 1884 to 1889, and can sew at the rate of six button-holes a minute. The cover-plate of the switch-cam mechanism has been removed.