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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Saturday, July 7th, 1860

To day I arrived in Galveston about 6 o'clock A.M. & put up at the Tremont where I remained all day. expenses of $6.75. weather clear & warm.

CHARLESTON MERCURY, July 7, 1860, p. 4, c. 1. From the Journal of Commerce. Sewing Machines.-- Women are not yet wholly superseded, being useful in their appropriate place -- in fact absolutely indispensable. Yet the improvement attempted in the Sewing Machine has exerted an important influence upon her social state. Besides, this machine, though of but five years' existence, has effected great mechanical results. As an invention, it has arrived at a rare degree of success. Not a few, either from want of tact or energy, or on account of the worthlessness of their inventions, have entirely disappeared from the arena of trade, "leaving no trace behind" save the wreck of fortune.

The Sewing Machine is being introduced into general use, with a rapidity of which few have any conception. Hardship may result in some instances from the substitution of this instrument for hand labor, but is, no doubt, destined to confer a lasting benefit; its advantages are circumscribed to no particular class, and are unlimited in their application. With occasional slight modifications, with a view to more complete adaptation, the machine works its way among different classes of tradesmen. It promises permanent relief to the wearisome bondage of the sewing woman. Its celerity is incredible. Each one of Wheeler & Wilson's is calculated to do the work of ten ordinary sewers. Women's powers, whatever their cultivation, are unable to compete, either in rapidity, precision, or finish; from one to two thousand stitches per minute is not unusual. On shirt bosoms, the number per minute is about fifteen hundred; in cording and binding umbrellas, two thousand. Thousands of machines are sold for family sewing, several families often uniting in the purchase of a machine, and passing it around as needed; and among them are those of affluence and the highest respectability.

Sometimes a woman buys a machine for gaiter-work, for instance; hires female fitters in sufficient number to keep her constantly employed, and pays them $4 or $5 per week, often leaving a handsome profit. A woman has been known to make as high as $60 per week, with two fitters. Sewing Machines are getting to be extensively employed in making mantillas, hat and cap making, etc. Machinery has already done much to emancipate men from exhausting toil--has developed the industrial arts, and quickened the wheels of commerce--so that, instead of depriving the laborer of his means of support, he is only enabled to apply his powers to the greatest advantage.

Another subject worthy of notice is the great improvement which has taken place in the quality of sewing silk, twist, thread, &c., made necessary by the rapid and accurate movement of the Sewing Machine. We now produce thread in this country, which far exceeds any of foreign importation, in strength and evenness of texture. If the foreign and domestic are looped together and jerked asunder, the former, even of the best descriptions has been found to yield in the greatest number of instances.

The Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine has prepared tables, showing by actual experiment of four different workers, the time required to stitch each part of a garment by hand and with their Sewing Machine. The superiority of the work done by the Machine, and the healthfulness of the employment, are advantages quite as great as the saving of time. Subjoined is a summary of the several of the tables:

ItemTime By MachineTime By Hand
Gentlemen's Shirts1 hr. 16 mins.14 hrs. 26 mins.
Frock Coats2 hrs. 33 mins.16 hrs. 35 mins.
Satin Vests1 hr. 14 mins.7 hrs. 19 mins.
Linen Vests48 mins.5 hrs. 14 mins.
Cloth Pants51 mins.5 hrs. 10 mins.
Summer Pants33 mins.2 hrs. 50 mins.
Silk dress1 hr. 18 mins.10 hrs. 22 mins.
Merino Dress1 hr. 4 mins.8 hrs. 27 mins.
Calico Dress57 mins.6 hrs. 37 mins.
Chemise1 hrs. 1 mins.10 hrs. 34 mins.
Moreen Skirt35 mins.7 hrs. 28 mins.
Muslin Skirt30 mins.6 hrs. 1 min.
Drawers28 mins.4 hrs. 1 min.
Night Dress1 hr. 7 mins.10 hrs. 2 mins.
Silk Apron15 mins.4 hrs. 16 mins.
Plain Apron9 mins.1 hr. 26 mins.

Seams of considerable length are ordinarily sewed at the rate of a yard a minute. The Lock Stitch made by this machine is the only stitch that cannot be raveled, and that presents the same appearance upon each side of the seam. It is made with two threads, one upon each side of the fabric, and interlocked in the centre of it.

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