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Victorian Sewing Bird, Patented Feb 15, 1853

This little brass bird retains hints of his original gilt coloring.  There is ornate decoration on the clamp, the pin cushion beneath his chin is the original and there is just a bit of the once burgundy velvet left.  Amazingly, there are no holes or pulls in the pin cushion.  There would have originally been a pin cushion on his back as well but that has been lost over the years.  The screw on the clamp works well, the spring to open his beak also works well.  The word “Patented” is on one wing, while the other has “Feb 15, 1853” on it. 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….


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