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This little brass birdie is a bit different from the sewing birds I usually see. The clamp is very simple and the screw to attach to a table or chair is shorter than most. This would work great for a thicker shelf/table/chair. The spring to open her beak works very well, and the screw for attachment to a table or chair turns easily. The words “Patented Feb 15 1853” are present on both wings but have rubbed away some over the years. The base is not bent or damaged. The pincushion her back is not, in my opinion, original but looks to be a well-done replacement. While she is a bit different, she is still beautiful and would love to grace a sewing area once again!
The sewing bird was invented in the 19th century to assist ladies with their hand sewing. The fabric could be put into the bird's beak and there it would be held taut. The sewing machine had not yet come to be and having that third hand to hold fabric was a great help! The patent was obtained by Charles Waterman on Feb 15, 1853 though he had been selling them for a while prior to this. Not long after, the sewing bird took a romantic (?) turn. Young men began presenting their brides to be with a sewing bird months before the wedding so that she could sew the necessities for her trousseau. As she was sewing she would be reminded of her beloved….