Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 23

Elias Howe - References in popular culture

usa machine patent

Inventor, born in Spencer, Massachusetts, USA. As a boy, he tinkered with the machinery in his father's sawmill, and in 1835 went to work as an apprentice in a Lowell, MA cotton mill. He later built and patented the world's first sewing machine (1846), but no US manufacturer was interested. With some success he attempted to introduce his machine to the English market, and on returning to the USA (1847) he found his patent had been infringed. After a five-year court fight his patent rights were restored (1854), and he subsequently earned a fortune from his invention, sometimes as much as $4000 a week. During the Civil War he served as a private in a New England regiment that he recruited and equipped.

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