Storytelling

This sewing machine made design history

Sewing machines owe their success largely, but not only, to the female sphere. However here we want to talk about design, rather than domestic education, by telling the story of how these machines originated and outlining the success of the Italian company Necchi, which has been producing sewing machines in Pavia for 100 years. This well known Italian factory was born thanks to the insistence of a woman and won several Compasso d'oro.

Did you know that the first machines capable of producing stitchings were invented in the mid-18th century?

Fredrick Wiesenthal filed a licence for a sewing instrument in 1755, Thomas Saint in 1790, Barthélemy Thimonnier in 1830 and John J. Greenough in 1842. But it was Isaac Merritt Singer who had the idea of making a straight needle work vertically and to slide along a straight line going back and forth. The first model of his sewing machine also had a headrest for the operator, a presser foot to hold the fabric in place and a pedal similar to that of the hand spinning machines which increased the tool's power and at the same time reduced physical effort.

This is how the I.M. Singer & Company was founded by Singer and Edward C. Clark, a lawyer in New York, and how the first sewing machine was invented. Over just two years the Singer Sewing Machine became the best-selling tool of its kind in America, making Singer the leading US company in the sector. 

At the beginning of the 20th century the market of sewing machines was in great expansion and was mainly dominated by American, German and Russian machines. In those years, Vittorio Necchi, who had just returned from World War I, inherited from his father one of the largest Italian iron foundries. The company, founded in the late 19th century in Pavia, gave work to 170 workers who were specialized in the construction of spare parts for machinery made of cast iron.

In 1919, at the insistent request of his wife who was dying to get an automatic sewing machine, Vittorio decided to produce his own brand. His idea was to manufacture a machine for domestic use using parts of the cast iron produced by his family foundry. Well, the idea suggested by his wife brought good luck to Necchi, which just celebrated 100 years of history and is still one of the leading companies in the sector.

Why do we tell you this story? Because the success of this Italian company is not only limited the sewing sector, but has involved the world of design as well. As a matter of fact two of Necchi's sewing machines won the Compasso d'oro award for Italian design in 1954 and 1957. The latter was awarded to the first "MIRELLA" series, considered a masterpiece of functionality and aesthetics. This model also won the "Grand Prix" at the XI Triennale in Milan and obtained the highest recognition in the field of industrial design by becoming part of the permanent exhibition of the MOMA, Museum of Modern Art in New York.

As you knw intOndo believes in circular economy, we are big fans of reuse, restoration and, of course, we know that making good sewing repairs with long lasting sewing machine means less waste!