Sewing Machine Research
ISMACS International
International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society


and Developments of Particular Interest
and Brief Elna History
and Stitches Created by Elna

This information provided to ISMACS courtesy Elna USA

Early contributors to the invention of the sewing machine included Barthelemy Thimonnier, 1829, (chain stitch), Elias Howe, 1845, (double lock stitch), and John Kaiser, 1882, (zig zag stitch). Following is a brief history of Elna sewing machines and stitches whose development has played a major role in the evolution of the modern household sewing machine.

In the late 1930's a refugee from the Spanish Civil War, Dr. Ramon Casas, approached a Swiss manufacturer and supplier of fine timing mechanismas named Tavaro S. A. with designs he had developed for a sewing machine. Elna sewing machines were developed using Casas' ideas and are still manufactured by Tavaro S. A. in Geneva, Switzerland.

1940 Elna I

The first compact, FREE ARM machine, light in weight, of die cast metal, with a built-in motor and sewing light, and all metal carrying case that converted into an auxiliary sewing table, and green in color.

1952 Elna Supermatic

Contained all the features of the Elna #1 with the addition of zigzag stitch and a remarkable "brain" that could automatically produce utility and decorative stitches with interchangeable cams (Elna Discs). This Elna sewing machine produced true forward and reverse STRETCH STITCHES almost twenty years before the era of synthetic fibers and knits popularized them.

(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Overcasting stitch (ED 01)
Darning stitch (ED 02)
Scalloped edging stitch (ED 05)
Shell stitch (ED 14) (Webmaster's note: this disc number seems also to have been assigned the Blind stitch)
Edging stitch (ED 19)
Turkish hemstitch (ED 101). A decorative stitch that simulates pulled thread work.
Herringbone stitch (ED 107)

Forward moving stretch stitches:
Quick Seam. Sews seams in fine lingerie and firm knits.
Serpentine. Sews elastic and overcasts edges better than multi-stitch zigzag.
Stretch Blind Stitch. maximum stretch for knit fabric and blind hems.

True (forward and reverse motion stitches) stretch stitches:
Reinforced Straight Stretch Stitch. Sews seams in heavy weight fabrics and topstitching.
Feather Stitch. Allows spandex sewing and great for decorative sewing.

1953 Stitches
(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Blind stitch (ED 14) (Webmaster's note: this disc number seems also to have been assigned the Shell stitch) Excellent for woven fabtic, blind hems, and shell edge on tricot.
Point de Paris (ED 126)

1957 Stitches

Parisian Hemstitch. A seing machine stitch that looks just like the original hand stitch.

1959 Stitches
(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Venetian hemstitch (ED 140). Use this stitch to make entredeux trim or for attaching insertion laces.

1960 Stitches
(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Elastic triple seam (ED 107). This stitch was already introduced in 1952 (Herringbone), but really gained in popularity in 1960 with the development of stretch fabrics.

1963 Overlock (ED 149). Sews straight seam and overasts, resulting ina flat seam. First overlock stitch for the home sewing machine.
1964 Elna Star Series: consisted of several models with different stitch capabilities. Each model was available in free-arm or flatbed version. In 1968, this series became the first to introduce an electronic foot control to the home sewing in- dustry. This line continued, relatively constant, until 1978.

Introduction of the Elna Star Series machines consisting of the Elna Supermatic with built-in automatic stitches and interchangeable stitches (automatic and superautomatic), Elna Star, Elna Zigzag and Elna EC (straight stitching).

Electric motor with automatic clutch, manufactured in Tavaro S.A.'s own plant.
1965 Stitches
(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Tricot stitche (ED 125). Introduced in 1955 but more widely used as from 1965 following the further development of stretch fabrics.

1968 Elna Lotus Series: compact machines with a self- contained accessory unit and carrying case. Styled by Raymond Loewy of Paris, France, the Lotus model received international awards for its design.

Elna Lotus

The first compact sewing machine, embodying in one unit: compact design, i.e. reduced dimensions but a normal working surface light weight integrated case (protection flaps) built-in sewing table built-in accessory case fold-away carrying handle.Another feature: horizontal rotary hook.

First electronic foot control to be supplied as part of the standard equipment of a household sewing machine with high- and low-speed ranges. This means that the needle has a strong force of penetration even when the machine is running at its slowest speed.
1969 Enlargement of the Elna Lotus range with the introduction of the Elna Lotus-sp (special).
(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Superstretch stitch and knit stitch (ED 152). Sews seams and overcasts in soft sewater knits.

1972 Enlargement of the Elna Star Series range with the introduction of the Elna SP (Special).

Multistretch stitch (Elna TSP)

1974 Enlargement of the Elna Star Series range with the introduction of the Elna TSP (Top Special).
1975 Enlargement of the Elna Lotus range with the introduction of the Elna Lotus-tsp (top special) with a double sewing programme (auto- matic and superautomatic stitches).
1977 Elna Lotus compact models, convertible -- table/free arm

With protection flaps (instead of a carrying case) which form a sewing table. The flaps are removed to obtain the free arm.

(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Double overlock (ED 163). Seames in light weight fabric and sweater knits. Resembles commercial serging stitch.

1978 Elna Air Electronic: the first sewing machine with an electronic speed control operated by air pressure. This model featured an exceptionally low base that converted into a low free arm of new design.

Elna "air electronic"

Electronics controlled by a air foot control, permanent magnet motor, convertible from flat bed to free arm, with the synchrocolor system for the selection and adjustment of stitches, protection cover (instead of a carrying case).

1979 Elna "air e1ectronic" duplex

Flat bed/free arm version for installation in sewing cabinets with a standard size opening.

1980 Elna Stella "air electronic"

Replaces the Elna Lotus line. The free arm has been improved, "air electronic" system and synchrocolor.

1982 Elna Carina: replaced previous top-of-the-line models and featured new electronic functions.

ELNA CARINA electronic + duplex version

Retains the main features of the 1978 "air electronic" models but has, in addition, a modified appearance, new motor, new table for the selection and adjustnent of stitches, snip thread cutter, lift- matric system for stopping with the needle raised and for drawing up the lower thread, one-piece base, new accessory case, clip-on feet, etc.

(ED stands for Elna-Disc)

Superoverlock (ED 165). Superiour for sewing knit fabrics. This stitch inspired the desing of the 4-thread mock safety stitch on home sergers.
Sideward darning (ED 166)

Rhodes Hemstitch. A decorative stitch that resembles the honecomb stitch.

Other stitches pioneered by Elna