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Victorian Sewing Bird, Patented Feb 15, 1853 With Original Pin Cushion

A rare find these days! This little bird is nice and heavy, he may have been one of the earlier sewing birds made.  The patent stamp on the wings is clear and readable, whereas the patent stamp on the later birds is a bit blurry.  He originally had a pin cushion on his back as well as under his chin.  The cushion under his chin is present and original.  The covering is velvet though little of this remains. The cushion is firmly in place and has few flaws.  The clamp to attach him to the work surface is not bent, the screw works well. The spring to open his beak works fine. The word “Patented” is on one wing, while the other reads “Feb 15, 1853”.

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….

PS - The box is on the Shop Shelves too! The other items are my photo helpers :-)


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