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Cheaper Sewing Machines

Cheaper Sewing Machines image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

The last of a series of patenta on the oonstruction of sewing machines has jast expired, by which n powerful eombinatiou was enabled to control the manufactiiri' as :i monopoly, and extort trom the public prices whichhavebeeutwoorthrec times as nraoh as would have yielded fl fair proflt on the cost of making the machines. Thero are stil 1 other patenta, of course,applying to certain improvemente, bnt it in believed that, with the expiration of the Batchelder needie patent, there are none left which cover the esBentiala of the sewing machine and enable the combination to levy exorbitant tribute upon the manufacture thereof. This combination consisted of the Wheeler & Wilson, Siuger, and Grover & linker eompanies, which had possessed themselves of all the cssential patente, nnd have been exaotiug royalties on te various parts of cvery machine made. Tliese royalties amounted to so much in the bulk that machines which did not cost more than $10 (we give an outeidc figure) have been sold for $60, and so on in proportion. The prico charged for machines has ranged three times as high as they have teen sold for in England, where no royalties could be exactcd, after being manufactured in this country and sustaining all the expense of transportaron, liandling, insurance, and the profits of middle-men. A large part of this excessive profit went to the owners of the patents, but the existence ol the patente and combination to keep up the prices also enabled the outside manufacturera and agente to charge up profits for themselves which were proportionately exorbitant. The hopefulness of the future is that, when the general principies of tho sewing machines aro frec to all, com petition will set in which wil prevent the exaction of more than a rea sonable profit. It will not be surpris ing, therefore, if within a few woeks machines can be bought for 820 which have heretofore sold for $60 ; indeed, it is an nounced that one of the leading compa nies haa declared its inteution of selling tho $iiO machines at once for $30 cash and the ratc will henceforth be down ward. Tliis is good ncws for the thousands of seamstresses through the country, and good news for the thousnnds of poor families that never could hope to have a sewing machine in the house at the old rate. It will make bread and meat come easier, and therc will be more of it for the same aniount of labor. The sewiugwoman can buy a machine on time for $20 with reasonable hope of paying for it, while heretofore woinen who have paid out that aniount of money to start with have toiled day and night to make headway on the $40 or $50 unpaid, only to loso their machine and tlie money already paid in tho end. Thus far the scwing machine has been niainly benefieial to those who wore not eepeoially in need of its beneficencc. It has put money by 'the millioim into tlie pockets of the men wiio manufactured it ; it has enriched many of the agent s and midd lemen who have handled it ; it has enlarged the business and profits of the olofching, boot and shoe, and other manufacturers using it. But it will first become a real blessing to the poor when it shaU be relieved of its exclusive royalties and extortioïis, and can be obtained by vromen and families at a price yielding only a fair proftt on the cost of manufacturo. Thenceforward the poor woman or family that can obtain a sewing machine will be able to save its cost every year in time, labor, and money, and the cost will come within the possiIjie means of almost evei-y prudent and industrious person who can use such a machine to advantage.


Old News
Michigan Argus