ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / publications

World exhibitions and design, 1851 - 1878, as shown in publications from Leipzig
published in: CIETA-Bulletin No 75, 1998, p. 153 - 160, by Anne Wanner-JeanRichard

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see also Embroidery machines:    
  The first embroidery machine had been bought in 1829 from its inventor, Josua Heilmann of Alsace, by the St Gallen cloth merchant, Franz Mange (12). It proved to be too complicated and was not suitable for large-scale production, because at least two people were needed for its operation; only in 1850's, when improvements were made, was it possible to get better results. In 1854, Franz E. Rittmeyer established the first Swiss factory with 12 machines in the city of St Gallen. None-the-less, as already noted, the Swiss showed only hand-embroidered goods at the 1851 Exhibition and no machines were included in the Swiss display - the manufacturers were afraid that their machines could not compete with those of England.

In his report on the exhibition (13) the Swiss G. Delabor, regretted this and expressed his belief that firms such as Escher Wyss in Zurich, Rieter and Sulzer in Winterthur and St. Georgen near St Gallen, should have sent at least some small proof of their capabilities. Four years later, in Paris in 1855, the Swiss embroidery machine was exhibited.
It is known that a man called Fedor Schnorr from Plauen in Germany, was impressed by it and immediately travelled to St Gallen hoping to buy a

  machine. The Swiss were reluctant to sell and, as it was not possible to obtain it legally, Schnorr found two men who smuggled a machine across Lake Constance at night.
On January 2nd, 1858 the first embroidery machine was installed in Plauen (14).

Several different types of embroidery machine were developed. The first, the so-called handmachine, was in use from about 1845 and was initially operated entirely by hand, although it was later powered by water and then electricity.

The chain-stitch Cornély machine was introduced into Switzerland in about 1867, although similar types had been developed here in the early 1860s.

The Schifflimachine, although invented in 1863, was not taken-up until 1883. This machine, when combined with the burnt-out technique, led to the production of imitation lace and resulted in a boom in the embroidery and embroidered-lace industry. The Jacquard system was eventually applied to the machines and today they are controlled by computer.

12 - Anne Wanner,
"The Sample Collection of Machine Embroidery of Eastern Switzerland in the St Gallen Ttxtile Museum" in: Textile History, 22 (2), 165 - 176, 1992.
13 - Gangolf Delabor,
Bericht über die Weltausstellung in London 1851, St Gallen, Bern 1852, p. 161.
14 - Erhardt Willy,
Das Glück auf der Nadelspitze, Plauen 1995, S. 21,22.

  London Designers Reports Machines Style Later 19th c.  

content Last revised July 29, 2004