“improvements on a machine heretofore invented by me” — Large Cent Coin

Today, the Large Cent Coin remembers when Isaac M. Singer achieved a patent on August 12, 1851, for his improvements to his own invention.

From patent records:


United States Patent Office.

Isaac M. Singer, of New York, N. Y.

Improvement in Sewing-Machines.

Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 8,294, dated August 12, 1851.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, Isaac M. Singer, of the city, county, and State of New York, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in the Machine for Sewing Seams in Cloth and other Substances; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description thereof.

My present invention is of improvements on a machine heretofore invented by me and for which an application is now pending.

The first part of my present invention relates to the method of carrying the shuttle; and it consists in operating the shuttle by a driver, between the ends of which the shuttle lies with a slight play, so that when the driver acts on the back end of the shuttle to force it through the loop formed by the thread on the needle there is sufficient space between the forward end of the driver and the shuttle for the passage of the thread, and at the end of this motion the shuttle remains in a state of rest for an instant while the driver receives a slight back movement to permit the passage of the thread between the back end of the shuttle and the driver when the needle draws the stitch.

The second part of my present invention relates to the method of drawing the stitch by the shuttle; and it consists in giving to the shuttle, after the needle has been drawn out of the loop, a slight additional forward movement as the needle is completing its upward movement and at the time the feed motion is given to the cloth, by means of which there are three pulls given simultaneously—viz., the upward pull of the needle on the needle-thread, the feed motion of the cloth in one direction, and of the shuttle in the opposite direction—so that the two threads are drawn together to draw the stitch tight.

The third part of my invention relates to the method of controlling the thread during the downward motion of the needle by means of a friction-pad, which makes a slight pressure on the thread as the needle descends. The thread from the friction-bobbin must pass through a guide connected with the needle carrier, so that as the needle rises the thread shall be drawn tight to form the stitch, and from this it follows that as the needle descends, and with it the guide, the thread will form a loop above the cloth, which is liable to be caught or to be cut by the needle. With the view to obviate this in my previous invention, to which I have above referred, I carried the thread through a spring-guide, the tension of which took up the slack as the needle descended, and although this answered the purpose to a certain extent, yet, if there was not sufficient friction presented to the thread by the cloth, the moment, the needle began to rise the tension of the spring drew out the loop, so that the shuttle failed to pass through the loop, particularly when working rapidly, in which case the rebound of the spring was very apt to draw out the loop. The defects of the spring-guide are, however, entirely obviated by the employment of a friction-pad, which, being inert, presents sufficient resistance to the thread, as the needle descends, to prevent the making of slack above the cloth, and yet not sufficient to prevent the needle from drawing the thread through to make the loop below; and when the needle rises there is no tendency to draw out the loop, the friction pad simply holding the thread in place.

The fourth part of my present invention consists in placing the friction-bobbin, from which the thread is drawn by the needle, or an adjustable arm attached to the frame, so that its angle, relatively to the guide on the needle-carrier through which the thread passes, can be changed at will, so that by changing the position of the arm the motion of the needle-carrier will draw out more or less thread, as may be required. In my previous machine, to which reference has been made, the bobbin was carried by the needle-carrier, and hence the motion of the needle had to be equal to the length of thread required to form the loop, which was objectionable, as in many instances this range of motion was unnecessarily long for all other purposes; but by placing the bobbin on an adjustable arm and thence carrying a thread through a guide on the carrier, by simply shifting the position of the bobbin, the length of thread for forming the loop can be either longer or shorter than the range of motion of the needle. In this way I am enabled to construct the machine with a range of motion just sufficient to form the stitch, and then regulate the length of thread at pleasure for the loop.

And the last part of my invention relates to the method of feeding the cloth during the operation of sewing to determine the length of the stitches. Heretofore the cloth has either been slipped onto teeth arranged in a bar or on the periphery of a feeding-wheel, which is objectionable for the reason that the cloth is pierced by the numerous pins; and there was great difficulty of turning the cloth to sew curved seams when thus held by pins. To avoid these objections, the nature of this part of my invention consists in moving the cloth by the fiction-surface of a wheel, whose periphery is formed with very fine grooves, the edges of which are slightly serrated, against which surface the cloth is pressed by a spring plate or pad.

What I claim as my invention, and desire, to secure by Letters Patent, is —

1. Giving to the shuttle an additional forward motion after it has been stopped to close the loop, as described, for the purpose of drawing the stitch tight, when such additional motion is given at and in combination with the feed motion of the cloth in the reverse direction, and the final upward motion of the needle, as described, so that the two threads shall be drawn tight at the same time, as described.

2. Controlling the thread during the downward motion of the needle by the combination of a friction-pad to prevent the slack above the cloth, with the eye on the needle-carrier for drawing back the thread, for the purposes and in the manner substantially as described.

3. Placing the bobbin from which the needle is supplied with thread on an adjustable arm attached to the frame, substantially as described, when this is combined with the carrying of the said thread through an eye or guide attached to and moving with the needle-carrier, as described, whereby any desired length of thread can be given for the formation of the loop without varying the range of motion of the needle, as described.

Isaac M. Singer.


C. Auston Browne,
Wm. H. Bishop.


The Large Cent Coin shows with an advertisement, circa 1892, claiming “All Nations Use Singer Sewing Machines.”

Large Cent Coin