Howe, Elias

Howe, Elias

biographical name

(born July 9, 1819, Spencer, Mass., U.S.—died Oct. 3, 1867, Brooklyn, N.Y.) U.S. inventor. A nephew of William Howe, he began work as a mechanic. In 1846 he was granted a patent for the first practical sewing machine. It attracted little attention, and he moved to England and worked to perfect his machine for use with leather and similar materials. When he returned the next year, he found that sewing machines were being widely made and sold; he finally established his patent rights in 1854. His invention soon revolutionized the garment industry. See also Isaac Merritt Singer.

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