How are your clothes made? How long did it take to make them? In the early 1800s, all clothes were made by hand. It took several days to make a pair of pants. Elias Howe wanted to change that.
Elias Howe was born in Massachusetts in 1819. At a young age, he had to work to help his family. When he was 16, Elias worked in a textile mill. He helped to make fabric. The fabric was made into clothes. Elias got married when he was 21. He and his wife had 3 children. Elias became sick. He could not work. His wife had to earn money for the family. She began sewing (by hand) at home. Elias watched as she worked. He watched how her hands moved. He wanted to invent a machine that moved in the same way.
Elias began to build his machine. He did not have much luck. His workshop burned down. He did get a machine built. It would cost $300. That was more than people had. Elias did not give up. He demonstrated his machine. It was faster than 5 people sewing. The sewing machine could make 250 stitches a minute. The needle moved side to side. On September 10, 1846, Elias Howe was given a patent. A patent is like a license.