Sewing machine

Barthélemy Thimonnier1830

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers
Paris, France

After moving to Saint-Étienne in 1825, despite having no training in mechanics, Thimonnier worked relentlessly on the construction of a sewing machine, unaware of the patents already filed for similar machines in England and the United States. His first machine, completed late in 1828, chain-stitched with a hook, like embroiderers. Supported by a tutor at the École des Mines in Saint-Étienne, he devised his machine and registered a patent in 1830. Thimonnier presented his invention with the aid of a working scale model, which may be the one on display in the Musée des Arts et Métiers. He was appointed head of the mechanical construction workshop in Paris, the first in the world, but had to face an adverse social environment: a few months after the July Revolution, workers hostile to the mechanisation of work ransacked the workshop. This was the first in a long series of disappointments for Thimonnier who, despite several patents, never managed to earn a living from his invention.


  • Title: Sewing machine
  • Creator: Barthélemy Thimonnier
  • Date: 1830
  • Date Created: 1830
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: Scale model
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Contributor: Author: Lionel Dufaux. English translation: David Wharry
  • Inventory number: Inv. 07955
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Pascal Faligot

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