Sewing, the art of attaching together objects with a needle and thread is not new to mankind. It dates back to prehistoric era. Archaeologists believe that almost 25000 years ago, during the last ice age, man used to sew together fur, hide, skin and bark for clothing using a needle and a thread.
They have discovered needles with eyes made from animal bones, ivory and antler. There are also records of wood and natural needles from the agave plant being used as needles by Native Americans.
The oldest known iron sewing needles came from the Celtic Hill fort at Manching, Germany and dated back to third century BC. Chinese archaeologists have also found a complete set of sewing needles and thimbles in the tomb of a minor official from the Han Dynasty (202 BC -220 AD). This is the oldest known thimble in the records of history. Thimble is a device that helps push needles through tough and resistant surfaces like animal skins and bark. It was first made from bone, wood and bark, and later made from leather, glass and porcelain. The thimble also became an ornament when people started studding it with precious stones and metals.
Sewing thread was initially made from sinew, catgut, veins and plant fiber as a single strand. Later they found that fibers from plant and animals could be spun together to make a stronger thread.
Our archives claim that the Egyptians spun together threads by using fibers from plants and wool and hair from domestic animals. They along with the Phoenicians developed methods of dyeing these threads with various colors using berries and other plant ingredients. Later, the Chinese and Japanese developed the process of spinning silk threads from the cocoons of silk worms.
For thousands of years sewing was done by hand. The invention of sewing machine brought a revolution into the sewing industry by making things easy for anyone to stitch and sew in minutes. Sewing machine needles came into this world as early as 1955. It was invented by a German inventor Karl Weisenthal. Since, he didn’t complete the machine he couldn’t get the credit for it. Later in 1790, British inventor Thomas Saint built and patented a complete workable sewing machine. However, Saint’s machine didn’t progress beyond its patent model stage and hence didn’t rise to fame.
It took another 40 years for a practical sewing machine to show up when a French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier devised and patented the machine in 1930.
This was the beginning of the sewing machine saga. In the years that followed many new additions and patents came by that created a new era in the stitching industry. Even though, the sewing machine took the industry by storm, hand sewing is still practiced by many around the world.
While sewing started off with clothing, it extended into other industries like sporting goods, shoe making, upholstery, book binding and sail making as well.
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