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into prominence the unpleasant fact, on which we did not dwell with much particularity at the time, that in the Russian war we by no means came off well in our attacks on Russian America. Mr. Whymper went out to these regions, having, thank God, a little superfluous energy which was then lying fallow.' He was appointed artist to a telegraph expedition. His special business was certainly no sinecure when he had to sketch with the temperature thirty degrees below zero. Between every five strokes of the pencil he had to run about and keep himself warm, once with the inconvenience of a frozen ear swollen up to the top of his head." Game would hang for a month and never

get high, and some of the stores became so much rock, to be broken up by the axe. The account of the natives, who refused to be called Christian Indians, and defined themselves as Whiskey Indians,' is one more indication how the noble savage must disappear before civilization and fire-water. Mr. Whymper has the merit of being the first writer who has given a distinct account of the wonderful river of Alaska. It is, in some places, a mile and a quarter broad, and is to be compared with the Mississippi. Mr. Whymper has also given some sketches of California, and of visits to the eastern coasts of Siberia and Kamtschatka.



Ta provincial town in Massachusetts, in the United States, there lived in 1844 a young artisan who found it no easy matter to support a wife and two or three little folks out of his weekly wages as a millwright or mechanical engineer. He had occupied his spare thoughts for three or four years on a scheme for a sewing machine, which might expedite the processes of sewing and stitching cloth, leather, and other materials. It was not domestic needlework, but large manufactures of clothing, that he had in his thoughts. Having no money to adventure, his experiments were all of a very humble kind, made in his own garret; but in the year abovenamed he felt convinced that he had conquered the main difficulties of his invention. He was right; and Elias Howe deserves to be ranked among the distinguished inventors of the present century. A fellow-townsman came to his aid at this juncture; the one provided brains, the other money; and between them they finished (in April, 1845) the first sewing machine. Howe knew afterwards, though not at the time, that many abortive attempts had been made in earlier years in the same direction, or proximately connected


with it. For instance, one patented machine was for ornamental tambouring, or loosely interlocking threads by the aid of an eye-pointed needle. Another was a machine for sewing gloves; clasping the glove firmly, and guiding a needle to and fro through it. A third was for a kind of tambour-stitching, with a crochet-hook; the machine punctured holes, and dragged up the thread through them. A fourth was a machine for sewing leather, with a double-pointed needle to carry the thread, and mechanical fingers to pull it each way alternately. A fifth, for embroidering patterns on net and lace, had a bobbin to carry one thread, a shuttle to carry another, and some very beautiful appliances for entwining one thread round the other. These were only a few among scores of patented inventions which can be traced back for something like a century; but there seems no reason to doubt that Howe's was the first machine for real sewing and stitching brought to an effective and practical issue.

In July, '45, the inventor and his colleague arrayed themselves in suits of garments, seamed and stitched by Howe himself-perhaps the best of all modes of showing

that tailoring could be done by the machine. From that time the era of the sewing machine virtually commenced, although many sorrowing days were destined to pass before the inventor became much the better for his ingenuity. From 1845 to 1850 were years of poverty and struggle to him. He took his machine to a clothing-factory at Boston, and there challenged five of the most dexterous needlewomen in sewing the inside seams of coat sleeves: the machine beat the five in celerity and in neatness. After this Howe and his partner patented the machine, and shared the ownership in certain proportions. Then began a series of personal and domestic sorrows. Failing to obtain immediate recognition in his own country, and being too poor to wait, he came to England. Here a manufacturing staymaker purchased from Howe the right to patent, to make, and to use the machine in England, and also engaged his services at a weekly salary. How it happened that he was in debt and difficulties, surrounded with sickness and poverty, in 1846, 1847, and 1848, it is for his biographers to narrate; but Elias Howe set foot again on his native shores in 1849 with just half a crown in his pocket. It was indeed hit or miss with him.

At this point began a double career in the history of the sewing machine: its progress in the United States, and its progress in the United Kingdom. Concerning the former, Elias Howe, soon after his return to America, fortunately found means to combat, in a court of law, an infringement of the American patent an interest in which he had managed to retain in spite of his poverty. He won. The tide turned in his favour; and he succeeded in establishing a system whereby he granted licenses, at a certain royalty or per-centage on each machine, to several sewingmachine manufacturing companies, which were one after another established. Fortune flowed in upon him, and Elias Howe lived to be a wealthy man-whether a 'millionaire,' as the Americans call him, depends probably on whether they

mean the possessor of a million dollars or of a million pounds sterling. The factories for making the machines were of prodigious size, employing several hundred men each; and the largeness of the annual produce testified to the earnestness with which our cousins over the water welcomed this aid to the seamstress and the tailor, the shoemaker and the saddler, the staymaker and the mantua-maker. It is known to those who have attended to the progress of mechanical invention in the United States, and to the legal proceedings relating to contested inventions, that Elias Howe had a narrow escape in regard to the validity of his patent. A poor mechanic, Walter Hunt, invented a kind of sewing machine to work with two needles and two threads, so far back as 1834, at a time when Howe was still a boy; but his machine was never developed in such a way as to become practically available. Howe was unquestionably the first inventor who elaborated a sewing machine through all its stages of progress, until it became a labour-saving instrument in the particular department of industry to which it relates. American journalists record that, during the late fratricidal war, Elias Howe 'raised and equipped a regiment in Connecticut, and presented every officer in it with a horse. He was elected its colonel; but being the most unwarlike of men, and totally ignorant of military affairs, he had the good sense to decline this honour: he enlisted in the regiment as a private, and served in that capacity until his health failed. Nothing prevented his serving to the end but the certainty that he could not support the exposure and fatigue. By way of amusing himself in a camp near Baltimore, he volunteered to be the postmaster of his regiment, and rode to Baltimore and back every day with the mail.'

Meanwhile the sewing machine was passing through a history of its own in England, though of a less exciting and grandiose character. The patent and the licence were so managed as to keep the trade within narrow limits until 1860. Quite

independently of other persons, Mr. Fisher, a young man engaged in the lace-trade at Nottingham, invented a kind of knotted or double-loop chain stitch of very complex character, something like that which is made by one or two of the sewing machines at the present day. In fact he invented two kinds. One of these was a looping-machine, having many curved or bow-shaped needles, each pierced with one eye near the point and another eye in the rear of the bend; these needles penetrated the cloth from below upwards, and were supplied with continuous threads from separate reels and bobbins; while two small pieces of apparatus, a looper and a hook, aided to produce a doublechain stitch of a beautiful embroidery-like character. The other was a shuttle machine, having a shuttle in combination with each bent needle; the shuttle traversed to and fro above the cloth, carrying either thread or cord; and the action was such as to produce a kind of lockstitch. They were both elegant machines, but through various causes did not become a commercial suc


The contractors for army-clothing, the manufacturers of boots and shoes at Stafford and Northampton, and other large firms, gradually employed the sewing machine; but the use of the machine in families, and by dressmakers and tailors, did not become extensive in England until 1860. In that year the English patent expired; the trade was thrown open; Thomas's machine was subjected to new improvements; the American machines became known to us; new inventors and makers came forth into light; and the sewing and stitching world gradually became learned about Wheeler and Wilson, Singer, Grover and Baker, the brothers Howe, Willcox and Gibbs, and other makers of these pretty things. What do we now see? Glittering shops in all the principal thoroughfares, studded with hand machines and treadle machines of varied and always beautiful construction; tailors and cloakmakers clicking away with machines

in making their seams and hems; shirt-makers and collar-makers supplying the shops with thousands of dozens of these articles, made by machine instead of by handneedle; dressmakers and mantlemakers doing the like with the silks and merinos entrusted to their care; glove-makers and stay-makers effecting by mechanical aid the peculiar stitches required in their work; boot and shoemakers, harness and accoutrement-makers, furnishing the best of practical evidence that some of the machines (though not all) will work upon leather as well as upon textile goods; titled matrons and honourable demoiselles, economical housewives and industrious daughters, alike employed upon this singularlyfacile mode of expediting needlework-such has been the growth of eight years in England; and it would be difficult to name another machine which has had an equally wide extension of use in the same time.

Those who attempt to classify all the diverse sewing machines, by grouping them according to the mode of action which chiefly prevails, have no easy task; seeing that some of the machines obstinately refuse to belong to any group in particular, because they partake of the nature of several. Mr. Alexander, C.E., who has studied this subject minutely, arranges sewing machines simply into two classes those which employ one thread, and those which employ two. Professor Willis, of Cambridge, a high authority in all that concerns the philosophy of machines and machinery, prefers a classification in four groups, which he briefly characterizes as follows:(1) The needle passes completely through the stuff, as in hand needlework, producing a stitch the same in principle as that produced in the familiar homely way. (2) A chainstitch or crochet-stitch is produced, by a crochet-needle terminating in a hook; the needle is grasped at the other end, and the hook pushed through the stuff so as to catch hold of the thread below; being then withdrawn, the needle brings with it a small loop of the thread; the hook, retaining this loop, is re

passed through the stuff at a short distance in advance of the former passage, catches a new loop, and is again withdrawn, bringing with it the second loop, which thus passes through the first. (3) A mail-bag stitch (lock-stitch ?) is produced by the employment of two threads in a peculiar way. A vertical needle, with an up-and-down motion, has an eye near the point; it descends through the cloth, and forms a loop below it; a shuttle with a horizontal motion passes through this loop, carrying with it its own thread; the needle then passes upwards, but the loop is retained by the shuttlethread; the cloth advances through the space of a stitch, and the needle again advances to make a fresh loop

the work being secured by the lower thread passing through the loop. This is a very beautiful but complicated action, the miniaturə shuttle introducing a kind of weaving into the process. (4) A chainstitch is produced by the interlacing of two threads; the main purpose is, to prevent the unravelling to which this stitch is subject, and yet to avoid the use of a shuttle: seeing that some inventors object to the shuttle, on the ground that, as it can carry only a small quantity of thread at a time, the operations must be stopped at short intervals to supply the shuttle with fresh thread.

A more natural classification, which has the merit of being exhaustive, is:-(1) Machines that form the stitch by passing a loop through the cloth; and (2) machines that form the stitch by passing the end of the thread through the cloth, or rather what amounts to that.

The characteristic feature of the first class is, that their work is capable of being ravelled: of the second, that their work is incapable of being ravelled. The work of the former is of the nature of a knitted fabric: the work of the latter of a woven fabric. Some of the machines of the first class employ one thread, some two threads: the machines of the second class require two threads; for the end of the thread cannot be actually thrust through the cloth, but the end of the under thread is

passed through a loop of the upper thread, which is let down through the cloth for that purpose. Machines of the first class use the thread direct from the reel; with machines of the second class the under thread must be re-wound on a tiny bobbin, small enough to be carried in a shuttle of some sort through the loop. Further than this, classification only misleads; for of either class some of the machines are good, some indifferent, and some positively bad.

These comparisons are not very easy to understand, on the part of persons to whom mechanical details are rather deterrent. But in truth, the sewing machine cannot be made intelligible by mere textual description. Ten minutes' watching of a worker engaged with each of the various kinds will do more than any amount of reading to show an intelligent observer how it is that one machine makes a tighter stitch, one involves less trouble with the threads, one does a greater variety of work, one makes less noise, one is less liable to derangement through complexity of parts-than another.

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Setting aside all minute details, however, a few points of comparison may be mentioned. Howe's first machine had a curved needle, attached to the end of a vibrating lever, combined with a little shuttle moving to and fro horizontally; the eye of the needle was near the point; and the needle had grooves along the sides, in which the thread lay, to facilitate the passage through the cloth. In his later and improved machine he introduced a more effective feed' motion for shifting the cloth a proper distance after each stitch. One form of the Howe is specially intended for stitching the legs and uppers' of boots and shoes. Singer introduced a straight needle carried by a slide, instead of a curved needle attached to a vibrating lever arm; and the machine became well-adapted for strong and heavy manufacturing purposes. Thomas, in like manner, held chiefly in view the introduction of such improvements as would be valuable in working upon

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stout goods. Grover and Baker, to save the time which is consumed in shuttle machines by winding thread on the spools, invented a beautiful knot or knotted stitch (deservedly named after the firm), produced by two threads, without any shuttle; and also a feed motion different from any before known, and very effective. Wheeler and Wilson, while retaining the shuttle, sought to avoid the rattling noise which it produces while travelling to and fro; they invented a kind of stationary shuttle; the needle-thread is locked into the shuttle-thread, not by driving the shuttle through the loop, but by passing the loop itself under the shuttle-an end achieved by a most ingenious and delicate bit of mechanism. Willcox and Gibbs may be noticed presently, as this machine stands apart from the others in various interesting particulars, and being also the principal among those which work with one thread. The reader will see, from the foregoing sketch, that the chief sewing machines present many points of difference, classify them how we may-two threads, a needle, and a vibrating shuttle; two threads, a needle, and a stationary shuttle; two threads and two needles, without any shuttle; one thread and one needle, without a shuttle-inventors may ring the changes in various ways with these elements; and they have practically done so, with a very admirable display of ingenuity.

Any industrious housewife, any fair damsel, who would seek to know the positive or relative merits of a sewing machine, as testified by the maker's account of it, would have a most bewildering task before her. As well might she ask Professor Holloway and Professor Morison to tell her which of them sells the best pills. Every sewing-machine maker declares positively that his invention is the one to which public attention ought most steadily to be directed. One of them states that 'much dust is intentionally thrown into the eyes of the public by manufacturers selling but one class of machine, who misrepresent the stitches produced by others.' Doubtless there is

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a good deal of dust thrown in this world of ours; and some of it does unquestionably blind our eyes, mental as well as bodily. The same mentor adds that the difficulty felt by intending purchasers is increased by the so-called explanations which are given as to the merits of the different stitches.' True again; for it is no easy task to describe such matters clearly. The 'Thomas,' claiming to be the first sewing machine ever patented in Europe, affects to look down upon all the others: points to its employment in the army clothing establishments, and in great factories wherein cloth and leather are stitched up for various purposes; tells of the steam power to work two or three hundred machines at once, and of the millions of things that are made every year by its agency. The Howe,' the real American original, represented in slightly-varied forms by three or four companies in London, has naturally much to say in its own favour as the pioneer in this wonderful new branch of industry. The 'Grover and Baker' claims to be simple and durable, to sew from ordinary spools without rewinding, to sew all sorts of fabric equally well, to fasten its own seams at both ends without chance of ravelling, and to embroider instead of sew without any other change than in the selection of the thread. The 'Willcox and Gibbs' asks a question,' What do you want in a sewing machine?' and then supplies the answer: 'You want a machine easy to learn, easy to work, easy to change from one kind of work to another, easy to keep in order, simple in its mechanism, noiseless, so well made as to seldom require repair, able to do all kinds of work equally well, and to make a strong and beautiful stitch that will bear washing, ironing, and wear;' and the possession of these qualities is thereupon claimed. The Wheeler and Wilson,' a member of the lock-stitch battalion, requires you to believe that the real lock-stitch-with two threads interlocked-produces an elastic seam that will not unravel, presents exactly the same appearance on both surfaces, and must necessarily be

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