Author Laurie Carlson has written an interesting book filled with historical information on the sewing machine. The book is useful on many levels. Carlson begins her book looking at why people sewed and how important it was for day-to-day living. She then writes about the man who invented the sewing machine, Isaac Singer, and how his invention was made available to families through a small down payment and monthly payment plan. Other topics explore the many uses for sewing machines and how sewing machines benefited people around the world. Women, especially, were liberated from long hours of tedious hand stitching of clothes, sheets, towels and other necessities. Carlson has done a nice job of writing an historical perspective on a revolutionary invention. Accompanying the text are good black-and-white photographs and drawings. A bibliography and Internet sites are also listed. 2003 Millbrook Press, Yannuzzi
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Carlson presents the story of Isaac Singer's "stitching machine" and describes its impact on the quality of life in the mid 19th century. It was called the "Queen of Inventions" because it relieved the time-consuming hand sewing and expedited the mass production of garments, shoes, gloves, hats, military uniforms, and even hot-air balloons. Archival black-and-white photos and engravings with sepia accents bring this interesting and informative slice of Americana to life.-Marion F. Gallivan, Gannon University, Erie, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Does Carlson (Boss of the Plains: The Hat That Won the West, 1998, etc.) invest the sewing machine with more significance than it really merits? Perhaps, but she describes the invention's development, and the changes it heralded in both the clothing industry and the world's wardrobes, with such effervescence that even readers able to see how threadbare her case is will forgive her. Though she drops several important names, Isaac Singer plays the central role in her drama-first, for solving a major design problem of early sewing machines with the help of a spring from his son's toy popgun, then for correctly guessing that he could sell zillions of the improved devices to the working classes on the installment plan. But even the lively text pales next to the sheaves of 19th-century photos and prints, which range from intimate, aw-shucks pictures of swaddled babies to teeming factory scenes, from advertisements featuring knobby conventional machines to downright weird models shaped like human or animal figures. Few are the 19th-century's technological fruits that can rival the sewing machine for worldwide ubiquity and staying power; Carlson gives it its due with this rousing tribute. (bibliography, Web sites) (Nonfiction. 8-10)