Inventor. Born in Spencer, Massachusetts, he was a very mechanical minded youth best noted as the inventor of the modern day sewing machine. He spent his childhood and early adult years in Massachusetts where he worked on a farm, apprenticed in a textile factory. After mill closed in 1837, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to work as a mechanic with the Carding Machinery. In 1838, he apprenticed in the shop of Ari Davis, as a master mechanic in Cambridge, when he seized upon the idea of the sewing machine. Contrary to popular belief, Howe was not the first to conceive of the idea of a sewing machine, but he was the first to originate significant refinements to the design concepts of his predecessors and on September 10, 1846, he was awarded the first United States Patent number 4750 for a sewing machine. Despite his efforts to sell his machine, other entrepreneurs began manufacturing sewing machines and Howe was forced to defend his patent in a court case that lasted from 1849 to 1854. He won the dispute and earned considerable royalties from Singer plus others for sales of his invention. In 1851, he also recived a patent for an automatic, continuous clothing closure device. During the Civil War, he contributed much of the money he earned to providing equipment for the 17th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment of the Union Army and served as a Private in Company D, of the Regimental Postmaster Corps. After the war, he established the Howe Machine Company and was a multi-millionair at the time of his death at age 48 in Brooklyn, New York. In 2004, he was posthumously inducted into the United States National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith