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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution : and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Bridgeport,   pp. 434-439


Page 436

MANUFACTURES OF BD11MEPORT.
ing rooms, and finally to the assembling rooms, where they are put
together and tested.
In the second story of the main building the lighter parts of the
Sewing Machine are fabricated, and in the third story are the Plating,
Japanning, Inspecting, and Packing rooms.
Probably the most interesting of the many ingenious operations to be
witnessed in this manufactory is the manufacture of the shuttles and the
needles, which employ the second and third stories of the wing referred
to. A shuttle, with all its complexities, is made by three operations-
a feat that until recently was deemed to be an impossibility, and t6
describe it intelligibly we think remains an impossibility. The needles
are made from coils of steel wire, cut to the proper length. After this
wire has been softened it is turned in a lathe to nearly its proper shape,
and then the groove is formed on one side by means of a pair of steel
dies having grooves in them of the size of the required needle, with a
raised edge or rib in the centre. The embryo needle then passes
through another machine that stamps its size and number and date of the
patent. The eye is drilled by means of minute, highly tempered drills,
which, however, are as perfectly constructed as drills of the largest
size. Reamers as fine as a hair are used for polishing the eye, in the
use of which great expertness on the part of the operative is required.
The hardening of the needle, and the straightening by means of a slight
tap with the hammer, are also operations of great delicacy. In fact, all
the processes and all the machines in this department are curious and
interesting, and so original that experienced English needle makers are
said to be far less successful in acquiring the art than untrained Ameri-
cans. This Company manufacture needles not only for their own but
for other makers of Sewing Machines, and each needle is gauged and
separately inspected with extreme care.
The Howe Sewing Machine Company are now employing four hun-
dred hands and a Superintendent to whom they pay the extraordinary
salary of ten thousand dollars a year. This circumstance affords evi-
dence that the Company intend to spare no expense to secure the best
workmanship, and as they have the latest machinery and a President
who, as the originator, may naturally be supposed to take a pride in
showing how perfect his invention can be made, they present for their
machine extraordinary claims to public confidence.
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