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Machine for stitching material (such as cloth or leather), usually having a needle and shuttle to carry thread and powered by treadle or electricity. Invented by Elias Howe in 1846 and successfully manufactured by Howe and Isaac Merritt Singer, it became the first widely distributed mechanical home appliance and has also been an important industrial machine. Modern sewing machines are usually powered by an electric motor, but the foot-treadle machine is still in wide use in much of the world.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sewing machine, visit Britannica.com.
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