I checked out a whole slew of books about sewing machines from the library as of late, and I had to share this amazing squirrel sewing machine from The Sewing Machine: Its Invention & Development by Grace Rogers Cooper. This machine design was published in Sewing Machine News, vol. 7, no. 11, November 1885. Here’s what the book says about this machine:
The machine was designed in the shape of the ordinary gray squirrel so common throughout this country—an animal that is selected as a type of provident care and forethought, for its habits of frugality and for making provision for seasons of scarcity and want in times of plenty—and the different parts of the animal are each put to a useful purpose.
Here is how the different parts of the squirrel work on the machine:
• The moving power (the motor) is placed within its body.
• The needle stock is through its head.
• One of its fore feet guides the thread.
• The other fore foot holds down the cloth while being sewed*.
• The tip of its tail forms a support to hold the spool of thread.
So. freaking. Awesome. I think the best part about what the book said about this machine, though, is this:
Ellithrorp [the designer of this machine] planned to “place them in market at a price that will permit families and individuals that have heretofore been deterred from purchasing a machine by the excessive and exorbitant price charged for those now in use, to possess one.”
That’s incredible. This would have been a totally affordable machine back in 1885, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and want to give a high five to the inventor. No doubt if someone were to design and manufacture a sewing machine like this today, it would be considered a hot designer machine, and cost about an arm and a leg to buy one.
So while I first thought about using this blog post to beg the sewing machine manufacturers out there to design and sell something awesome like this, I decided to save my breath (er… my fingers? my keyboard?), because if they somehow listened to my plea, in the end, I have a feeling I wouldn’t be able to afford a kick-ass squirrel sewing machine anyway.