Howe invented the first practical sewing machine. Born in Spencer,
Massachusetts, he spent his childhood and early adult years in
Massachusetts. He became a skilled machinist, apprenticing in
a textile factory and then for a master mechanic. By April 1845,
Howe had created a practical sewing machine. In a public demonstration,
Howe's invention proved to be five times faster than the swiftest
was unsuccessful marketing his invention in the United States.
In 1846, he went to England and he sold the British rights for
the machine to William Thomas, a large manufacturer of corsets,
shoes, and umbrellas. Upon his return to the U.S., Howe found
that some manufacturers, including Isaac Singer, had already begun
to make and sell sewing machines similar to his. A five-year legal
battle ensued, lasting from 1849 to 1854. Finally his patent was
declared basic and he was awarded a royalty on every machine that
infringed his patent.
1865, he established the Howe Machine Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut,
and the machine that he produced there won the gold medal at the
Paris Exhibition of 1867.