As with all other technologies, machine embroidery has come a long way to reach its current state. The computerized machine embroidery that has taken over the world today is nothing like the beginning of the embroidery machines. Just like the bulky computer of the early days, the early embroidery machines were large and bulky. However, we wouldn’t have come this far without those early prototypes.
Here in this blog, we will briefly look at the evolution of the machine embroidery business from early stages to modern-day status.
The Hand Embroidery Machine
Frenchman Josue Heilmann is credited for the first even hand embroidery machine. This was even two decades before the first sewing machine patented by Isaac Singer. Well, the hand embroidery machine from the Frenchman was nothing short of a behemoth, which was able to complete work of as many as four embroiders.
The Frenchman’s hand embroidery machine comprised of a needle assembly, a frame to hold the fabric in its place, a handle to work the needle. Interestingly, the machine doesn’t take the needle to the fabric; instead, the fabric had to be moved to meet the needle. However, the machine did allow stitching to be done in all directions.
The designs made by the hand embroidery machine were 6x the size of the original designs. Also, robust coordination on behalf of the machine operator was required to achieve precision and finishing in the stitches. The machine operator was required to guide the scribe around the pattern diagram using his left hand, whereas the right hand was used to crank the wheel, which pushed the needle through the fabric. Furthermore, the feet were used to operate the clamps, which gripped the needles.
As with most of the innovations, the hand embroidery machine by Heilmann was considered as a significant threat to the hand-embroidered, and thereby, the Frenchman sold only two machines. Nonetheless, the machine set the pace for developing more complex embroidery machines.
Schiffli Shuttle Machines
Moving on, we got the Schiffli Shuttle machines, which can be said as true predecessors of modern-day embroidery machines. In Schiffli Shuttle machines, the embroidery was completed by punching the designs on the paper. The machine was developed by Isaac Groebli in Switzerland and used the combination of threaded needle and shuttle, which contained the bobbin of thread. The later machine designs developed by Groebli’s son were more automated and streamlined.
Modern Day Machine Embroidery
The Early Days
It wasn’t until the 1950s that the machine embroidery business really took off. The computerized machine embroidery business took three decades more to get started. The earliest version of the modern-day computerized embroidery machines can be traced to the 1980s when Melco and Wilcom (two pioneers of computerized embroidery) launched their systems.
In the 1980s, Wilcom introduced the first event graphic design system for embroidery, which was able to run on a microcomputer. At the same time, Melco manufactured the first-ever digitizing system and embroidery sample head.
By the early 1990s, computerized embroidery machines had taken off for both commercial and personal use. It was also the time when various other players entered the industry to make it a highly competitive market. New technologies were rapidly developed to create more efficient and profitable processes. Advanced embroidery digitizing software was produced that enables digitizers to create highly precise embroidery files for the artwork. Whereas, many manufacturers started producing embroidery machines, which improved the quality of machine embroidery and significantly reduced the price of embroidery machines. This also saw the rise in the number of machine embroidery businesses, and subsequently, widespread use of embroidery in everyday clothing.
Recent Hardware Innovations
Moving on, we already see some interesting developments in the machine embroidery business. More and more businesses are making their way into the machine embroidery business, pushing innovation to new horizons. Melco, which is one of the biggest and most established names in the embroidery business, has recently introduced its latest embroidery machine (EMT16 Plus). The new machine comes with significant new features compared to previous models, especially when it comes to automation. Similarly, many other businesses are pushing the boundaries for innovation and automation in the machine embroidery business.
As we move forward, it is safe today that we are going to see a lot more innovation in the machine embroidery business; especially in terms of automation and precision. This will subsequently help push the embroidery business for commercial and personal use. New embroidery machines will come with better efficiency and higher productivity to improve the profitability of the businesses.
If you are also interested in setting up your machine embroidery business, you may need a reliable embroidery digitizing, partner, to help you create precise and high-quality embroidery files. Get in touch with an embroidery digitizing company– the fastest-growing embroidery digitizing solution provider in the USA, for affordable and reliable digitizing solutions.