Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I.M. Singer

The sewing machine was invented by Elias Howe, but it was I.M. Singer who manufactured and marketed an affordable model for home use.  In this effort, Singer established another “first”.  In order to sell his product, he pioneered an American institution – the installment credit plan.

Earlier, while working in a Boston machine shop in 1851, Singer built a machine that could sew continuous and curved stitches.  Unfortunately Singer’s design incorporated elements Howe had patented and Singer had to defend himself in court.  For five years, the two inventors battled in court.  Howe eventually won the lawsuit for patent infringement. But in the meantime, Singer had manufactured and sold so many machines that the penalty payment was painless.
Singer had formed his company in partnership with Edward Clark.  Buyers could pay in small monthly allotments, on credit, rather than in one lump sum.  The Singer Manufacturing Company also permitted buyers to trade in old machines for new ones.  In 1855, the company began to market its products internationally, and by 1860 it was the largest producer of sewing machines in the world.

Singer’s first patented inventions were for rock-drilling and wood-carving machines.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Exploring for Spain in 1542, Juan Cabrillo was probably the first European to see California. He was followed in 1579 by England’s Sir Francis Drake. Although each explorer laid claim to the territory for his country, only Spain established settlements. Mexico annexed California in 1822, but thereafter showed little interest in the region.

On July 7, 1846, California was claimed for the United States by Commodore John D. Sloat, who raised the US flag over Monterey. This was followed by the defeat of Mexican troops in California by US forces.

California was officially transferred to the United States in 1848. The following year, when gold was discovered in a creek at Sutter’s Mill, California’s famous Gold Rush began.

The majority of today’s Californians live in urban areas, most notably San Francisco in the north and Los Angeles in the south. California is widely known for superb natural beauty – mountains, shore, and desert. The state’s two leading economic activities are agriculture and manufacturing. California’s most glamorous locale is Hollywood, headquarters of the movie industry.

California contains the highest and lowest points in the country (excluding Alaska): 15,000 foot-high Mount Whitney and Death Valley which is 282 feet below sea level.