Sewing Machine Research
ISMACS International
International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society

Men of Vision (2)
Charles Young

by Graham Forsdyke
Issue 23

OUR NEXT man of vision is one Charles Young who although conceding that the was a great saver of time and effort, thought that he could considerably improve the machinist's lot by adding motor power.

A workable electric motor had yet to be invented, so our Chas had to pick between steam and clockwork.

Feeling perhaps that stoking a boiler and sewing white brocade didn't mix, he opted for clockwork power, and in 1874 announced to the eager world his revolutionary invention.

His one big problem was size. To achieve any sort of result he needed massive springs and mechanism. In fact the add-on motor trebled the weight of the original sewing machine with its treadle.

But probably concentrating, as a safety measure, his sales drive on those customers who lived on ground floors, he marketed the motor conversion.

It's perhaps difficult at this stage to confirm just why Chas Young's name is not graven in stone as are the pioneering benefactors of the great sewing-machine industry.

Our only guess is that the purchasers found it a little disconcerting to have to stop sewing every 20 minutes, fit the handle and wind the device up.

Thus fickle users may have condemned our Chas to obscurity.