This hand-crank sewing machine was used by Anna Haight Kipp DeGroff at her farmhouse in Kendall County during the 1860s. It is a New England style machine, manufactured by Charles Raymond. Small, light, and relatively inexpensive, this machine was a popular alternative to the larger, more expensive machines sold by Singer and Howe.
The sewing machine saved an enormous amount of time and labor for American women like DeGroff. Prior to its invention, it was customary for women to make their family’s clothing by hand. A man’s shirt took an average of 14 hours to sew by hand but only one hour with a machine. The invention of the sewing machine also gave rise to the ready-made garment industry, which took the production of clothing out of the home and into factories.