Even in the dawn of history, the instinct of self-preservation urged man to make tools, weapons, build dwellings, unveil the secret of fire and last but not least make clothes. It is quite conceivable that, even in those days, the clothes were joined together or closed with bone awls. These awls may have also been used for pre-stitching when sinews, bast fibres or leather strips were pulled through the "sewing material". Thus, awls (fig. 001) can be regarded as the origin of brooches, pins, safety pins and finally of sewing machine needles.
28000 BC A development of the awl is made in Aurignacia. This results in the oldest known sewing needle. This does not have an eye but a split head instead. The thread (sinew, bast, intestine etc.) was squeezed into this slot and then used for "sewing" (fig. 002).
17500 BC The first needles with eyes emerge (fig. 003), the eyes are drilled into the bone, horn or ivory splinters with fine fragments of flint. Some of the needles have been kund in tubular holders which served as needle holders.
The shape of these needles will prove to remain unchanged throughout the ages.
14000 BC The sinking of the sea-level during the last Ice Age (Wisconsin) forms a bridge of land between the asian and american continents. Man used this bridge and settled in America. This trek through ice and snow would have been impossible without the correct clothing. The needle (fig. 004) made this possible and tolerable.
7000 BC Copper needles are produced in Cayonu-Tepesi, Armenia (Turkey).
3000 BC Production of iron out of lodestone(magnetite Fe304) in todays Iraq. Very little was used and mainly as jewellery. It was too soft. Hardening had not yet been discovered.
2500 BC The first tools made out of bronze appear in eastern Mediterranean countries, especially on Crete and in Egypt. Bronze needles are used not that much later. To make the eye, one end of the needle is hammered flat and then split. The two sides of the slot are joined again by hammering while the hole (later eye) is held open by a pin (fig. 005).
The material's high transformability and it's good flowability when being casted, do not limit the bronze-age needlemaker's imagination. The most magnificent garment needles are made and their variety of shapes seems endless (fig. 006).
Acupuncture needles are used in China. Acupuncture is a stimulation therapy used to stop pain for certain areas of the skin which are in some way connected to a certain organ (e.g. Rheumatic pains, Migrane, neuralgia).
1556-1051 BC The oldest fragments of material embroidered with geometrical patterns date from the Shang Dynasty. it is possible that embroidering came to the West via the old trading routes between Asia and the Mediterranean.
1500 BC The bellows (fig. 007) are discovered in Egypt (1580 B.C.) and hardening is discovered in the Hittite Empire (East Anatolia). These discoveries make iron an important material. Higher temperatures are reached with the bellows so that brown and red iron ore can be used. Hardening (carbonization and carburization) makes iron the hardest of metals. lt is possible that steel needles were produced from this date onwards. This technology was used in the manufacturing of needles well into this century. The changes from one material to another were continuous. Needles made of bone are still used by cultered people after the birth of Christ.
1400 BC The Fibula, the forerunner of the safety pin, is invented (fig. 008). As with the garment needle, it is mainly used just for decoration. Joining is just a secondary function (fig. 009).
1195 BC The Hittite Empire is destroyed and the iron-smiths move around the world and the secret of hardening iron with them. It reaches central Europe and China no doubt via India.
800 BC Fibulas made of brass are produced in Phrygia (West Anatolia). At this time brass is made by melting copper with the zinc-ore Galmei (ZnCO3) and charcoal powder.
600 BC Embroidered fragment from the Chamber-grave VI in Hohmichele, Heiligkreurtal, Biberach District, Germany (fig. 010).
500 BC The drawing plate is used for producing wire in San Zeno, Tirol.
100 BC In China compass needles are made by stroking sewing needles with a magnetite stone. The needles, if hung on a silk thread using resin or wax, show an exact north-south direction.
60 AD Plinius the Elder states that the Phrygier discovered embroidering. The Greeks copied this art of drawing with needle and thread. The greeks called any type of embroidered robe as a "phrygian dress". The Romans called beautiful pieces of embroidery as "opus phrygiarum".
1200 In the southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), the chinese needlemaker Liu of Jinan, capital city of Shandong province, praises his needles in a printed pamphlet saying: "Would you like needles? Then you should buy those with the white rabbit, they are especially good!" An example of trademark consciousness and advertising in the 11th century. This is the first publication of printed advertising in the world (fig. 011).
1295 First confirmed information that needlesmiths live in Vienna, Austria.
1354 Needlemakers in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
1356 Needlemakers from Lubeck, Germany are mentioned in a decree.
1360 Discovery of making wire with the "Schocke" (Swinger) in Nuremberg, Germany (fig. 012).
1363 In Nuremberg, Germany, 22 out of 1217 registered master craftsmen are needlemakers or "drotsmit" - wiresmiths. It is not at all surprising that the needlemakers and wiresmiths are mentioned in the same context. Considering it's shape, wire turns out to be the most aooroDriate basic material for making needles.In those days, hammered metal sheets were cut into strips, forged into a round shape and finally drawn through the holes of a drawing plate. The holes have different diameters so that any desired diameter of wire can be obtained. A hardening between each individual drawing procedure is eliminated by annealing the wire (fig. 013).
1370 The sewing needlemakers in Nuremberg, Germany are an independent craft and are separate from the pinmakers.
1378 The needlemakers guild in Vienna, Austria receives an ordinance.
1396 Ordinance issued to the needlemakers in Cologne, Germany.
1397 14. April The city council in Cologne, Germany forbids the needlemakers to use either "geslagen noch gestampt werk" – "hammered or pressed work". This is perhaps the oldest news of a "machine ban". It seems that a needlemaker invented a new method to produce the heads on pins or the eyes in sewing needles. But the members of the craft achieved that the "trouble-maker" had to stop using his new method and go back to producing the needles in the conventional way.
1400 Around this time in Nuremberg, Germany, water-power is used for the first time to draw wire.
1406 There is a needle-making industry in Augsberg, Germany.
1436, 15. Oct. The needle-makers in Monheim, Germany receive an ordinance from Count Palatine Heinrich von Otting. The ordinace mentions guild and guild-masters.
1494 Albrecht Durer paints a watercolour called 'Trotzichmull" which depicts a wire-drawing mill. It is the Grofiweidenmuhle west of Nuremberg. The mill was powered by water (fig. 014).
1496 Leonardo da Vinci constructs a machine to point sewing needles. Apprentices from Schmetz rebuilt this machine in 1952 from the original drawings (fig. 015). The machine worked except for a couple of limitations.
1505 Balthasar Behem issues a volume of pictures about craftsmen in Krakau, Poland. One of the minatures shows a needle-maker. This is the oldest picture of a needle-maker (fig. 016).
1513 There are 14 guilds in Aachen, Germany. The knitters, needle and hat makers belong to the furriers guild. This is the first mention of needle-makers in Aachen.
1515 Pin-makers are pictured for the first time in the house-keeping book of the Mendel Twelve Brothers Foundation in Nuremberg, Germany (fig. 017).
1524, 15. July The brothers Otthainrich (fig. 018) and Philipp, Count Palatines bey Rein, Dukes of Lower and Upper Bavaria, Germany issue a guild ordinance to the needle-makers of ROgling, Franconia. The needle-makers in Weigenheim and Pappenheim also receive an ordinance a little later. As a result, there is the first concentration of the needlemaking trade in an area south-west of Nuremberg, Germany. The raw wire is delivered by merchants in Nuremberg and Nordling who get it from EckersmOhlen near Roth, the Siegerland, Saalfeld, Tyrol and Speyer.
1540 First depiction of the wire-drawing process by water-power (Biringuccio, Pirotechnica) (fig. 019).
1542, 8. March Every Nuremberg needle-maker master has to have his own sign (trademark). It must contain the first letters of his first and last name and no master is allowed to use the sign of another master.
1543 Ordinance for needle manufacturing issued by Henry VIII of England (fig. 020). It shows that the heads of pins are soldered on.
1543 The production of sewing needles is mentioned as an independent trade in London, England.
1562 Nicholas Throckmorton, the english embassador to the court of France takes needle-makers from the Risle Valley, Normandy, France to Coughton, England.
1565 Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1558-1603) (fig. 021) solicits german wire-makers to come to England. Christoph Schultz and 22 other wire-drawers settle down in Tintern. Water-power is used to draw the wire.
1566 Elias Krause from Aachen is said to have brought the needle-making trade to Whitechapel, London, England.
1568 "Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stande auf Erden" (i.e. General description of all trades on earth) published by Jost Amann and Hans Sachs, contains a short description of the needle-maker's (fig. 022) and pin-maker's (fig. 023) work.
1570 Johannes Gerdes in Altena, Germany is successful for the first time in drawing wire from steel. He uses urine as a effective drawing aid.
1584, 11. Aug. Guild-roll is given to the pin-makers of Aachen by the city council.
1615, 3. Nov. Aachen needle-makers receive the "Roll of the Spanish Needle Masters" (fig. 024). Noteworthy is the very first mention of needles made from fine, pure steel wire. Up until then, needles had been made from iron wire. The elasticity of the iron wire was achieved by carburization. This carburization process was still used in several towns (Schwabach, Iserlohn) until the 19th century. The use of steel wire makes the old techniques for eye making i.e flattening, splitting and boring unnecessary. From now on, the eye is formed by punching it on a solid cube of lead (fig. 025). With the acquisition of this new technology of eye punching, Aachen becomes the leading town in needle production. For this reason, the name of Aachen is synonymous with quality needles.
1626, 30. May An Aachen town council regulation establishes the trademark system which protects the Aachen needle manufacturer. Each manufacturer has to distinguish his needles with a particular trademark sign.
1633 Niclas Beuerlein starts the needle-making trade in Schwabach, near Nuremberg, Germany.
1636 The pin-makers in London are united in one guild and the trade with pins soon spreads tqt_Bristol and Birmingham because of the wire-makers in these towns.
1637 In his book "Tian Gong Kai Wu", Song Ying Xing, China describes, among other things, the manufacturing of needles. The needles are made of iron wire. The eyes are drilled with a spindle borer. These needles are carburized (fig. 026). The operations correspond to the Schwabach needle production method of that time.
1641 Thomas Garzoni describes in his book, Piazza Universale, professions, arts, business, trade and crafts including needle and pin makers.
1654 Quirinus Chorus starts the production of needles in Aachen, Germany. His son, Cornelius Chorus takes over the business and becomes the largest needle distributor at that time. Chorus is one of the nucleii of the Rheinnadel GmbH.
1656 The english needle-makers are given guild regulations by Oliver Cromwell.
1660 Goddert Pastor, Burtscheid near Aachen, Germany founds his needle business. Pastor is a further nucleii of the Rheinnadel GmbH.
1663 The "Wippe" is used in Aachen, Germany to fix the head on pins (fig. 027). The "Wippe" is a type of drop hammer. Two parallel rods carry a weight which contains the upper tool with a semi-spherical depression. The lower tool is exactly under the upper and also has a semi-spherical depression. A spiral formed by twisting a piece of thin brass wire is placed in the depression of the lower tool. The pointed needle blade is placed in a groove. Using a pedal attached to a rope and lever, the weight with the upper tool is lifted and falls. The tools are forced together. This process is repeated 5-10 times and the right hand rotates the needle joining the head with the blade (fig. 028). A skilful worker could "head" up to 10.000 pins in 10 hours.
1663 The needle masters Asten and Moeren, Aachen use water-power for scouring (polishing) needles.
1664 The needle-makers in London are united in a guild.
1670 Louis XIV of France (fig.029) orders that the colour, cut, fabric and accessories have to be uniform on parade costumes.
1679, 4. April Charles II, King of England, prohibits the import of needles. His main intention is to stop the sale of low-quality iron needles.
1690 The house production of needles —from wire to the finished needle — is slowly replaced by the distribution system. The distributor ("Schonmeister") employs several raw workers. The distributor purchases the wire, distributes this to the raw workers and they return finished soft needles. The wages were only paid after a very strict quality control. The heat treatment, polishing (water-powered scouring mills), packing and sales were the responsibility of the distributor.
1690 With the help of hired Cologne needle-makers, Anton Lecke tries to establish the needle-making trade in Iserlohn, Germany. This effort fails only 3 years later.
1698 In his famous portrayal "Depiction of the Public-utility Main Guilds from the Sovereigns and ... to all Artists and Artisans", Christoph Weigel also portrays the needle (fig. 030) and pin makers (fig. 031).
1698 The needle-makers in Aachen make the Holy Quirinus to their patron saint. The statue is donated to the guild by the Chairman (Greven). The trademarks of the chairman are engraved in the base of the statue (fig. 032).
1700 Studley is the centre of the english needle-making trade. A mill is installed for pointing and polishing needles. It is horse-powered (fig. 033).
1700 About this time, Conrad Putter from Iserlohn tries to establish the needle-making trade in Iserlohn. After Putter dies in 1705, the needle-makers, having mainly come from the Cologne area, start to move away again.
1701, 25. March Edict of the town of Aachen states no sawdust to be dumped in the streets by the needle-makers". A violation either cost 25 gold florins or a punishment "on the body" which simply meant a flogging. — Enviromental protection in the 18th century.
1706 Cornelius Chorus the Elder leases his first mill to scour (polish) needles.
1716 Finished clothing is sold in shops in London and Paris.
1717 Peter the Great (fig. 034) tries to entice some Aachen needle-makers to manufacture needles in Russia, with moderate success though.
1718 The uniforms of the Prussian army are very similar to the present day made-to-measure clothing.
1724 Upon request of the Aachen needle-makers guild, the town council provides: "that the local needle-maker's guild will edit 2 new books for the embossing of the master craftsmen's trademarks. Each merchant has to present his printing blocks which he is eligible to bear..". otherwise he "would automatically lose his right to trade needles (fig. 035)".
1730 Stephan Beissel founds a needle factory in Aachen, Germany.
1730 Milward and Sons, Studley, England found a needle factory.
1742, 26. Oct. Again the town of Aachen has to call upon the needle-makers hands not to dump the so-called "needle dirt" in the streets. Violaters either had to pay a 6 gold florins fine or were sentenced to 6 weeks jail.
1745 The Rotger Brothers, Conrad von der Becke, Johann Hermannn von der Becke and Reinh. Putter start a third attempt to bring the needle-making trade to Iserlohn. Even a catholic parish was founded (the legal document is granted to them by Frederic II, King of Prussia (fig. 036) on Jan. 7, 1745) to entice the setttlement of the catholic needle-makers, who mainly came from the Cologne area.
1752 A sewing needle factory is founded by Veitel Wolff in Potsdam, Germany.
1754, 3. March Cornelius Chorus dies. His son, Cornelius Chorus the Younger, takes over the largest needle manufacturing in the town of Aachen. He owns 6 scouring and polishing mills and more than 1.000 master craftsmen and journeymen. Also a large amount of "raw workers".
1755 A needle factory similar to those in Aachen is founded in Nadelburg (Lichtenworth), Austria.
1755 In England, Weisenthal applies for a patent for a needle, British Patent No. 701 (fig. 037). This needle has 2 points with an eye near one of these points. This needle can be regarded as the forerunner of the eye pointed needle. This is the first ever patent for a needle.
1759 The needle trade in Schwabach has new rules and regulations.
1760 Introduction of trademarks for needles in England.
1762 Diderot writes in his great encyclopedia "...des arts et métiers" (Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry). Among the various professions he describes with great accuracy, we find the pin-maker (Epingler) (fig. 038/1/2/3)as well as the sewing needle-maker (Aguiller) (fig. 039/1/2/3) The descriptions already show a high degree of labour division.
1765 A manufacturer in Laigle-Menormal, France starts the production of steel sewing needles similar to the english method and with english workers.
1775 William Sheward of Long Crendon, England is granted a patent for the polishing of sewing needle eyes.
1776 Adam Smith, british national economist (fig. 040), uses the pin manufacturing as an example to show that the division of labour increases productivity.
1780 The german economist, Johann Friedrich von Pfeiffer writes about the needle:
"Nothing seems to be such an unimportant product as the needle, alone, tools that are used unchanged in every home in the whole country, have, such low single costs but are large sums in the expenditure of the whole stateit is worthwhile to look at this appareritly small business".
1782 Wire manufacturers Goke and Rumpe coax the Aachen needle-maker Wilhelm Cupper to Altena. Cupper thus brings the art of steel wire needle-making to Altena. The Altena wire manufacturers had long thought about building up their own needle manufacturing. They have very economical reasons for this: 300 cart loads of steel wire have a value of 75.600 imperial thalers. From this amount of steel wire Aachen needle-makers produce 1.035.000.000 needles which are sold for 480.525 imperial thalers.
1787 About 2.000 needle workers are employed in the Studley district in England, 400 just in Redditch.
1788 During his visit to Iserlohn, Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia, is presented with a plate by a local needlemaker, Franz Schmale. The plate is inscribed with the 110 operations which are necessary to make a sewing needle in a craftsman's way.
1790, 17. July In England, Thomas Saint applies for a patent for a machine to sew shoes (fig. 041). A forked needle pushes the thread through a hole made by an awl. The loop is caught by a looper and forms a single-chain stitch.
1790 The english, dark violet, rust protection paper used to pack needles is also used by the needle factories in Aachen.
1790 2.5 million needles are produced each week in and around Studley, England. The Morrall Company produces 1 million per week.
1791 Department stores in Paris which have a delivery service offer finished clothing in a catalogue.
1794, 25. Sept. The town of Aachen is occupied by the French for the second time and introduce the french administation. Aachen is a part of the French Republic.
1797 The englishman Harris invents a method to manufacture pins heads by casting on lead.
1798, 6. Jan. Approx. 1.200 workers produce 200 million needles per year in Schwabach, Germany which are delivered world-wide.
1798, 26. March Napoleon (fig. 042) abolishes the guilds in Aachen. This launches an economic upswing. The needle industry experiences a boom and Aachen becomes the most important supplier to the growing ggrment companies in France.
1798 Hermann Witte and Hesse take over the needle factory which had been founded by Conrad von der Becke in lsorlohn.
1799 The company Korn & Hostrup in Hamburg, Germany offer clothes "off the peg".
1800 The steel wire produced in Altena, Germany is just used for sewing and knitting needles. 345.086 pounds (approx 170 tons) are produced in this year. The steel wire manufactures in Altena are the main suppliers to all sewing needle factories in Germany.
1800 Balthasar Krems, Mayen/Eifel, Germany builds a chainstitch sewing machine (fig. 043). He is the first person to use a needle with the eye near the point. Krems uses the machine to hem caps knitted by him. However the machine is somehow forgotten.
1801 Laurenz Jecker (fid. 044) founds a pin factory in Aachen. He designs and builds machine for the production of pins with cast heads. He improves the machines so that children are able to use them. 250 workers 225 of them children aged 4 to 12, produce 1 million pins daily.
1804 30 million sewing needles and 28.800 knitting needles are produced in lserlohn in this year.
1805 In Schwabach, Germany there are 231 needle workshops with 120 journeymen, 70 apprentices and 1200 assorted manual workers (men, women and children) manufacturing approx. 200 million needles per year.
1807, 10. April The Chamber of Commerce in Aachen which was founded by Napoleon sends a list of the manufacturers in Aachen to the Home Secretary in France. According to this list, there are 13 needle factories employing 7.500 workers manufacturing needles with a value of 900.000 Francs. (No doubt this large number of workers includes family relatives who earn a little "pocket money" at home.
1807, 30. Oct. Edward Walter and William Capman, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England receive the british patent no. 3078 for a "machine" to sew belts together. In fact, it is only a gadget but again, after Balthasar Krems, a pointed needle with an eye is used (fig. 045).
1810 There are 23 needle factories in France with 7.500 workers producing needles with a value of 960.000 Francs. No doubt the majority of the workers are family relatives.
1811 In Studley, England Abel and Michael Marra are the first to construct a device for the pressing of eyes (drop hammer with foot operation) (fig. 046). Two eyes are pressed with one stroke. A second device, the flypress (a friction screw driven press with manual operation) punches the eyes (fig. 047).
1812 The Scambler Company in Birming-ham, England gold plates the needle eye for the first time.
1814, 26. April The tailor-master, Joseph Madersperger (fig. 048) born in Kufstein, Austria asks the austrian government for a privilege (patent) for his sewing machine (fig. 049).
1815, 15. May The Frankfurt "Oberpost-amtszeitung" (newspaper) reports from a sewing machine that Joseph Madersperger invented. It is the first time worldwide that a newspaper reports about a sewing machine.
1815 Prussia takes over the Rhineland. The Aachen needle factories lose their french market.
1815 The following is a picture of the german needle centres:
|Aachen||14 needle factories||900 workers|
|Schwabach||47 needle factories||1600 workers|
|Altena||6 needle factories||960 workers|
|Iserlohn factories||9 needle||511 workers|
The amount of workers are the people working in the actual factory or workshop.
1823 In England, Abel Morrall invents a filing machine. With this machine, 100 needles can be rounded on the side of the eye at the same time.
1825 June A Mr. Gill from England suggests in the Technical Repository to manufacture glass head pins from sewing needles which have faulty eyes. No doubt he was prompted by glass head pins (fig. 050) from Italy.
1828 The "Kick Stamp" is introduced in the english needle production as well as the "Fly Press" to punch through the eyes.
1829 Josua Heilmann (Muhlhausen, Alsace) designs and builds an embroidery machine that produces a flat stitch. The needle used has two points with the eye in the middle.
As in hand stitching, the needle was completely pulled through the fabric. The fabric was held tight in a frame and moved on a pantograph. Thus more than one needle could perform the same embroidery work.
1830, 13. April Barthelemy Thimonnier and August Ferrand apply for a patent for a sewing machine (fig. 051). The machine produces a single chain stitch with a hook eye needle which is pushed through the fabric by means of a lever system worked by the foot. A spring pushes the needle back up. The fabric is moved manually. However their efforts to market the machine were fruitless.
1830 Needle workers in Redditch, England destroy needle manufacturing machines because the wages for manual work were reduced as a result of the use of those machines.
1830 Hermann Josef Neuss purchases the Pletsch Mill in Aachen whose wheel is powered by the Pau stream and opens a needle factory (fig. 052) there. He produces pins, sewing needles and buttons. H.J. Neuss founds several needle factories in Aachen up to 1878 as well as in Hainburg, Austria and Vaist near Lyon, France. His sons manage these factories.
1832 Philipp Heinrich Pastor, needle manufacturer in Burtscheid, Aachen invents the "Exhaustor". This sucks up the extremely dangerous and deadly grinding dust produced when point grinding (fig. 053).
1834 The D.F. Taylor & Company, Light Pool Mills, Gloucestershire, England produce pins from a single piece of wire by squashing the heads.
1834 Walter Hunt, USA invents a double lockstitch sewing machine (fig. 054). He also uses an eye pointed needle. Much to the distaste of Isaak Merrit Singer, Hunt does not even try to market his machine. In a law case between Elias Howe and Singer around 1852, Singer came across the patent from Hunt. Singer rebuilt the machine and applied for the patent by Commisioner Charles Mason. However he refused the application as Hunt had "slept" on his invention and it was now being "awakened" and being used to oust an invention which is usable.
1836 The company PH.H. Pastor, Burtscheid, Aachen introduces as the first company devices to stamp and punch sewing needles. These devices have their origins in England. The Rheinische Nadelfabriken take over Pastor in 1917.
1838 The needle factory Josef Zimmermann is founded in Aachen.
1839, 3.Jan Abel Morrall of Studley, England is granted a patent for a machine (burnishing machine) which polishes needle eyes even more intensively. The needles are threaded on thin steel wires side by side which are mounted on a frame. Several frames are then mounted with a distance of one needle between them and transported backwards and forwards. The needles then move around the wire which has been treated with polishing paste in a circling or oscillating motion. The rough and sharp edges of the eyes are thus rounded much better.
1839 Stephan Witte's eldest son, Hermann from Iserlohn, together with the mechanic Hobrecker, somehow obtain devices for stamping and punching needle eyes from England. He puts them in his factory in Iserlohn.
1839 Joseph Turner, Breedon, England observed how knife-smiths in Hathersage quench their knives in oil and not in water. He carries out some hardening tests on needles and discovers that the needles have less hardening distortion. He introduces this in 1840. But this results in a strike of the needle straighteners and Turner returns to quenching in water.
1840 Glass head pins are produced successfully by the H.F. Neuss factory.
1842 Abel Morrall, England improves the darning needle by manufacturing this with an oval eye. This makes threading easier. (egg-eyed darners).
1844 The Pastor Exhauster is offered to the english needle grinders.They refuse it in fear of a decrease in wages (deduction of the danger pay). They go on strike for almost one year but accept it in the end.
1845 Elias Howe (fig. 055), Spencer, Massachusetts, USA invents a double chainstitch sewing machine. The machine uses a slightly curved, eye pointed needle. The bottom thread is in a shuttle. The fabric is transported past the needle on a spiked belt (fig. 056). Howe's sewing principle is the basis for the success of the sewing machine.
1845 In Iserlohn, Germany, Stephan Witte is the first german needle manufacturer to introduce a steam engine (3 HP).
1846 Colin Banks of Redditch, England invents a point grinding machine for needles. The english point grinders buy his first machine, which is not quite ready, and smash it. Banks later goes to Aachen to offer his construction to the Aachen needle manufacturers.
1846 Heusch & Kern Co. is the first needle factory to install a steam engine in Aachen.
1849, 10 April Walter Hunt, USA applies for a patent for the safety pin invented by him. It was completely made of brass wire but did not have a secure protection from the point. This was not available until the cap was developed around 1890. Since then the safety pin has hardly changed.
1850 Home production of needles appears to come to an end. Industrial production is introduced.
1850 About 50 million needles are made in the Redditch area each week. Before machines were introduced the production had only amounted to 5 million per week.
1850 The Brause Co. in Iserlohn erects a needle factory which unites all of the needle making operations under one roof.
1850 The first sewing needles from Iserlohn are exported to Hong Kong and Shanghai via Marseille.
1851 Crucial changes are made to Howe's sewing machine by Singer (fig. 057) and Wilson (fig. 058). A development without example is in motion and revolutionizes the production of clothing in the coming years.
1851 Stephan Beissel Witwe & Son (fig. 059) Aachen receives as the only needle factory from the Continent in competition to the english factories, a Medal at the first World Industrial Exhibition in London.
1852 Wilson discovers the feed dog with square motion for the sewing machine.
1853, 13 Oct. Stephan Beissel Co. delivers the first sewing machine needles to be produced in Aachen. The shank on "shank needles" is a tube which is soldered on the blade (fig. 060). Later the blade on the sewing machine needle is produced by turning-off a piece of wire.
1853 First german lock stitch sewing machine built by Mansfeld in Leipzig, Saxony.
1855 Colin Banks comes from England to Aachen and offers a point grinding machine to the leading needle company - HI Neuss. They cannot use the machine. In 1858 the needle factory Carl Schleicher, Schonthal near Aachen gets the machine running and is granted a patent (fig. 061).
1856 Stephan Beissel (fig. 062) Co., Aachen produces 130.000 sewing machine needles per year from which 50% is exported.
1857 Stephan Witte (fig. 063), Iserlohn employs 1.100 needle workers, the majority of which are still homeworkers. 1.5-2.0 million needles are produced per day.
1858 Franz Neuss, son of H.J. Neuss (1830) becomes a shareholder of the company H.J. Neuss. The company is now called Franz Neuss & Cie H.J. Neuss'sches Fabriketablissement, Aachen.
1859 The brothers William and Gustav Prym decendants of the old copper-master family Prym, start the production of needleware in the Dollarthammer, Stolberg, nr. Aachen. The company grows in the next years to one of the leading corporations for haberdashery and brass semi-finished goods with sister companies in Germany and abroad.
1860 There are 8 needle factories with 256 workers in the USA producing needles with a value of US$ 433.500.
1860 About this time a very interesting development takes place. Men like Hermann Gerson (fig. 064), Brothers David and Valentin Mannheimer (fig. 065), Rudolph (fig. 066) and David Leib Levin (fig. 067) make Berlin the cradle of apparel industry. Thousands of seamstresses work for the contractors who deliver to the a.m. companies.
1860 Jeans become the first ready-made clothing in the USA.
1860 Under the leadership of Franz Neuss (son of Hi. Neuss), the Hi. Neuss'sches Fabriketablissement, Aachen starts the production of sewing machine needles.
1861,21 Feb. Friedrich Schmacher joins the Franz Neuss & Cie. Co. and Franz Neuss leaves. Schmacher, an engineer, manages the company with a great amount of skill. This company is the foundation of the Schumag Co., Aachen named in 1922.
1861, 1 Oct. Leo Lammertz founds a needle factory in Aachen and starts the production of sewing machine needles.
1861 The mechanic Kaiser from Iserlohn builds the first pressing machine (fig. 068) for sewing machine needles.
1861 Hubert Friedrich (called Fritz) Neuss, a further son of H.J. Neuss (1830) becomes Managing Director of the new needle factory Fritz Neuss, Templergraben, Aachen.
1862 Wilhelm Wolff, Gotha and August Knippenberg of Iserlohn found the needle factory Wolff, Knippenberg & Co. in Ichtershausen (fig. 069), Thuringia (later to become Rheinische Nadelfabriken).
1866 The Excelsior Needle Company is founded in Torrington (earlier) Wolcottville, USA.
1867 The first pressing machines from Kaiser Co., in Iserlohn are installed by the Witte Co. in Iserlohn. Needle blanks pointed at both ends are fed into the machine and 2 eyes are pressed in the middle of the blank.
1869 After introduction of the Freedom of Commerce in Bavaria (1868), Michael Staedtler establishes a needle factory in Schwabach similar to those in Aachen. In September 1870 he already has 70 workers, in 1872 over 100 with over 40 from Aachen.
1869 The Kaiser Co. in Iserlohn delivers a needle pointing machine to Redditch, England which had been further developed in Aachen.
1870 Needlemakers cease to exist in Monheim, Pappenheim, Rogling and WeiBenburg. Needle manufacturing in Franconia is more and more centred in Schwabach.
1870 Otto Kuck gold-plates needle eyes galvanically in Redditch, England.
1870 Isaac Grobli from Ober-Uzwil, Switzerland constructs the first shuttle embroidery machine.
1870 There are 39 needle factories in the USA. 656 workers produce needles with a value of US $ 955.854.
1871 The first factory in Aachen producing only sewing machine needles is founded by R. Belle (later Rheinnadel).
1872 Introduction of the eye punching machine (fig. 070) which had also been invented by Kaiser of Iserlohn, in the needle manufacturing. This machine punched the eyes pressed on the pressing machine.
1875 Friedrich Schumacher (Schumag, Aachen) travels to the USA and brings back the first automatic milling machine. This mills the long groove in the needle blade of sewing machine needles.
1880 About this time, the division of labour is introduced in the clothing industry. Each "operator" only sews a certain part of the garment.
1880 There are 40 needle factories in the USA. 1077 workers produce needles with a value of US$ 1.378.023.
1880 The Excelsior Needle Co., Torrington, USA produces sewing machine needles with swaged blades (fig. 071). This method is by far more economic than the manufacturing by turned-off blades (fig. 072). A controversy starts, which lasts for several years, about which needle is quality-wise better:The needle manufacturers finally decide in favour of the swaged blade.
1882 First proposals made for the standardization of sewing machine needles.
1884 Founding of the Association of German Needle Manufacturers with it's headquarters in Aachen.
1885 There are 32 needle factories in Aachen with 6000 employees, 22 companies in Iserlohn with 1500 employees and 10 factories in Nuremburg-Schwabach with 2000 employees.
1890 There are 45 needle factories in the USA. 1609 workers produce needles with a value of US $ 1.515.865.
1894 Facts about the Aachen needle industry.
|The following was produced from||771.984 kgs of wire:|
|Sewing needles||3.082.485.000 pieces|
|Sewing machine needles||64.212.000 pieces|
|Other needles||31.620.000 pieces|
|Total value in Mark||6.000.000|
1895 The trading company William Prym, Stolberg, nr. Aachen becomes a private Ltd. company with a capital of 3.1 million Marks.
1897 There are over 8 million sewing machines in use worldwide. Buttgenbach calculates a use of 25 sewing machine needles per machine per year and arrives at a total annual usage of 200 million sewing machine needles. There are 60 sewing machine factories in Germany that produce approx. 625.000 machines each year. In England there are 30 factories, 15 in France, and 40 in the USA.
1897 The Carl Schwanemeyer Company from Iserlohn moves to Aachen in 1894 to produce needles as well as spokes and nipples on the most modern tooling machines.
In 1897 they move to new premises (JOlicher Stree, Aachen) and start with the production of internal combustion engines. Automobiles were manufactured from 1908 under the name of Aachener Stahlwaren-fabrik AG with the Fafnir (fig. 073) tradename. The Rheinischen Nadelfabriken (later Rheinnadel) take over the spoke and nipple production from the Aachener Stahlwarenfabrik AG in 1919. Rheinnadel produced and marketed these products under the Fafnir name. In 1926 the Fafnir Werke AG stop the production of automobiles and go into receivership.
1898, 5 April The needle factory Hubert Friedrich (Fritz) Neuss, Aachen is re-named "Rheinische Nadelfabriken vormals H.F. Neuss" (fig. 074) and changed to a joint stock company.The Board is H.F. Neuss (senior), Chairman, Hermann Charlier, Eduard Neuss (6th brother of H.F. Neuss) Ernst Neuss (1st son of H.F. Neuss) is Chairman and Fritz Neuss junior (2nd son of H.F. Neuss) is responsible for engineering in the new joint stock company.
1899 Foundation of the Association of German sewing machine manufacturers.
1900 There are 34 needle companies in Aachen with 20 producing sewing machine needles. 4.092 workers are employed. The german needle industry exported (1900) 1159 Tons of needles with a value of 11 million Marks.
There are 43 needle factories in the USA with 2.353 workers producing needles with a value of US $ 2.738.000.
65 sewing machine companies in the USA produce 55.227 industrial and 747.587 domestic sewing machines.
1900 The garment and shoe trades which had formerly been scattered home-work production units, now become centralized in factory-like companies. The demand for industrial sewing machines increases considerably. Special sewing machines are needed along with the corresponding needles. Especially the Aachen needle industry adjusts to meet these demands.
1901 Emil Hanebeck of Iserlohn founds a needle factory in Gars am Kamp, Austria. It exists until 1939.
1901 Ryozo Masujima, Japan founds the beginnings of the Organ Company. He begins with the production of grammophone needles and later includes sewing machine, shoe machine, knitting and felting needles.
1905 The Excelsior Needle Co. of Torrington, USA founds a branch factory in Aachen (Metwar Co.) (fig. 075) for manufacturing sewing machine needles.
1905 Detailed proposals for standardization of sewing machines with shuttle, central bobbin and revolving hook made by the Association of German Sewing Machine Manufacturers and Dealers in Berlin.
1906 The Rheinische Nadelfabriken AG take shares in the automobile factory "Falke" in Munchen-Gladbach, Germany. The Falke Co. soon goes bankrupt and the losses lead to the resignation of Fritz Neuss. His sons Ernst and Robert Neuss continue to manage the company.
1906 The combined stamping and eye punching machine (fig. 076), (constructor Robert Schnadt) is built by the Kaiser Co., in Iserlohn and introduced in needle manufacturing.
1907 All the Iserlohn needle factories, two Austrian and 6 Aachen firms get organised in a distribution "cartel". This "Deutsche Nadelindustrie GmbH" (German Needle Industries Ltd.) distributes all incoming orders.
The prime costs are repaid immediately upon delivery of the goods. The profit is distributed at the end of the year. Needle factories not belonging to the cartel undercut the prices and it fails after one year.
1909 Needle factories:
The annual sewing machine production is approx. 3 million pieces.
1909 The Kochs-Adler Works, Bielefeld, Germany build the first single head embroidery machine which is called a "flatstitch machine" or "knee lever machine". The operators have to manually move the frame after having practised a long time, the needle stroke with the knee lever and even control the speed with their foot.
1911 Walter Hesse, needle manufacturer in Aachen, is more or less forced by the banks to take over the management of the Rheinische Nadelfabriken, Aachen. W. Hesse starts the amalgamation aera. His concept is: reduction of production over-capacity by take-overs, retention of trademarks, take-over of machines, reduction in staff. His concept works.
1913 1 Sept. Leo Lammertz (fig. 077), Aachen dies at the age of 91. His staff has increased to 1298 workers. The wages amount to 1.400.000 Goldmarks per year.
1913 50% of the total exports of sewing needles (4.5 Billion pieces) from Iserlohn are exported to China.
1914-1918 The beginning of World War I vows down the production of the needle in-dustry which was mainly export orientated. Production losses reach 50% of peace-time production.
1917 The Rheinische Nadelfabriken (later to be Rheinnadel) acquire the following Aachen needle companies: Brause & Co., Arnold Herren, Walter Hesse, Heinrich Huhn & Co., Ph. H. Pastor and Sons. The origins of the Walter Hesse Company go back to 1654, those of Pastor to 1686.
1919 1 April The 8 hour day is introduced in the needle industry.
1919 After taking over the spoke and nipple production of the automobile factory Fafnir Werke AG., Aachen, the Rheinische Nadelfabriken have a non-needle product in their production range for the first time.
1919 The japanese needle industry exports approx. 5.4 billion sewing needles with a value of 3.5 million Yen = 7.3 million Goldmarks.
1919 Schiffer & Reiss needle factory (fig. 078) founded in Wurselen near Aachen which is taken over by Singer Nahmaschinen AG, Berlin on 30th November 1922.
1920 The Rheinische Nadelfabriken (later to be Rheinnadel) take over the needle factory Wof, Knippenberg & Co. in Ichtershausen, Thuringia, Germany (fig. 079).
1922 Schmetz in Herzogenrath near Aachen starts the production of sewing machine needles.
|Needle factories in Germany||Amount||Workers|
|Aachen city and district||24||4789|
1923 The brothers Albert and Ferdinand Musolf found the needle factory Musolf -trademark is MUVA - in Vaals (nr. Aachen), Netherlands. Rheinnadel takes over this company in 1980.
1925 Prym founds a sewing needle factory in Iserlohn. At the same time they start the production of spokes and nipples in the Stolberg, nr. Aachen plant.
1926 The administration and production of the Rheinische Nadelfabriken moves to new premises in Reichsweg 19-42, Aachen (fig. 080).
1926 Max Bretschneider, Plauen, Germany constructs a punch-card controlled Jacquard machine for attaching to sewing machines. The patent rights of this invention were acquired by Wurker Co., Dresden, Germany. This company built their own punch-card controlled single head embroidery machine and marketed this. It was mainly used for monogramm embroidery.
1927 10 Dec. Meeting for the standardization of sewing machines and needles held in Berlin.
1928 The chinaman Yin Chi Chung founds the first factory for hand sewing needles in Qingdao, Province Shandong, China based on the Japanese model.
1929 Worldwide economic depression.
1929 The machine factory Kaiser, Iserlohn offers the needle industry an automatic needlepoint grinding machine (fig. 081).
1930 The Wurker Company in Dresden, Germany builds a 3-head embroidery machine based on the Bretschneider patent. The embroidery heads work synchronic. This is the birth of the multi-head embroidery machine.
1930 Bundgens, enginnering works, Aachen Construct a Combined straightening and cutting machine (fig.082) for manufacturing needle blanks.
1930 From the foundation until this date, no less than 20 needle factories have been taken over by the Rheinische Nadelfabriken (later to be Rheinnadel).
1930 Stephan Witte of Iserlohn found a branch factory for manufacturing needles in Lecco-Laorca, Northern Italy. In 1938 the company is sold to Mr. Nello Garosa of Milan. The brothers Luigi and Emilio Penci buy the company in 1955 and take over the manufacturing of sewing machine needles from Oerlikon in Ispra, Italy. Sewing needles, sewing machine needles, special needles and metal goods are today still produced and sold under the "Primo Aghificio Italiano" name.
1931 Bundgens and Kaiser construct a "head-filing machine" for hand sewing needles. Sewing machine needles are now nickel-plated.
1933 The situation in the needle industry improves. Half of all the needles produced in Germany come from Aachen.
1934 Reorganisation of the german economy. The needle industry is assigned to the capital goods industry in the 3rd main group including iron goods, sheet metal and hardware, sub-division metal goods and haberdashery.
1934 1 May The following prices are fixed for sewing machine needles:
|Household needles (eye polished)|
|round shank||3.00RM/gross or 20.83 RM per 1.00|
|flat shank||3.20 RM/gross or 22.22 RM per 1.00|
|General systems||4.50 RM/gross or 31.25 RM per 1.00|
|Singer X Systems||4.00 RM/gross or 27.77 RM per 1.00|
A maximum discount of 25% was granted with a purchase of more than 1.000 gross (144.000) in one shipment.
1934 The Association of German Needle Manufacturers tries to reach an agreement with the two Aachen engineering works to restrain them from selling needle manufacturing equipment abroad. The attempt fails and from now on the needle manufacturers do not pass any experience and knowledge onto the engineering works but start to build their own needle manufacturing machinery. This, with some exceptions, is still valid today.
1936 Ryozo Masujima, Japan founds a partnership for the development of sewing machine needles. The first Organ sewing machine needles are sold in 1939.
1937 The engineering works of Kaiser in Iserlohn close down. Constructions, drawings and patterns come into the possession of Finzsch & Holle who continue to supply the needle industry.
1939-1945 With the increasing length of the war, the lack of raw and auxiliary materials and also fuel grows more and more critical. The export of needles decreases constantly. On 10th July 1941, the Aachen needle inclu5try suffers the first damage from air-raids. To avoid further damage, production equipment is evacuated to places like Broichweiden, Lontzen (Eupen district, Belgium) and Thuringia.
All the equipment evacuated to Eupen — it was an almost complete plant of machinery to produce sewing machine needles from the Rheinische Nadelfabriken — is confiscated by the Belgian government at the end of the war. Wire manufacturer Bekaert buys the machinery and found the needle factory Beka (fig. 083) in Eupen, Belgium. Of the 16 needle factories in 1938 (11 in the city of Aachen and 5 in the surrounding district) only 4 are able to partially restart production at the beginning of 1945. Schumag discontinues to produce needles.
1940 Yin Chi Chung loses his needle factory to the japanese in 1937 as a result of the occupation of Qingdao, Province Shandong. After founding a trading company for sewing needles in the french part of Shanghai in 1938, he founds a sewing needle factory in Hong Kong in 1940.
1941 The first sewing machine needle factory is founded in Shanghai based on the japanese style during the japanese occupation of China.
1942 15 Aug. Order in Germany to replace the approx. 30 different needle sizings with a standard metric sizing. The metric size is the shank thickness (mm) multiplied by 100.
1943 14 July More or less the complete plant of Lammertz, Aachen is destroyed in an air-raid (fig. 084).
1944 23 Oct. The american army occupies Aachen. The English become the Occupying Power in Aachen at a later date.
1945 Organ, Japan moves to new production premises in Ueda, Nagano-Ken.
1946 Those factories in Aachen producing sewing machine needles are the first to obtain a production permit. The production of hand sewing needles is only granted to two middle-sized companies.
1947 Export restrictions on needles are lifted. However, export permits have to be applied for at the Trust Company office. This is controlled by the British Military Government.
1948 1 July The Sowiet Military Administation gives orders to expropriate the Wolff, Knippenberg & Co., Ichtershausen, Thuringia which belongs to the Rheinische Nadelfabriken and make it the "property of the people". The name of the company is: VEB Thuringer Nadel- und Reigverschlug-fabrik lchtershausen.
1949 Compared to 1938, the production of the Aachen needle industry has reached 40% (hand sewing needles). 80% (pins and safety pins,) 70% (sewing machine needles). The production of glass-head pins has declined dramatically.
1950 1 Dec. In a meeting of the sewing machine and needle manufacturs, it is decided to make the needle industry responsible for needle standards.The first DIN (German Industry Standard) sheets (fig.085) are drawn up.
1950 Shipment of hand sewing needles already amounts to 60% peace-time sales, that 0f sewing machine needles amounts to even 80%.
1950 A sewing machine needle with a supplementary shoulder(fig.086) is developed in Aachen.
1952 29 Aug. Groz-Beckert Co., Ebingen, German, manufacturing of knitting and weaving needles, celebrates it's cententary.
1952 The Carl Zangs AG, Krefeld, Germany exhibits the first built in Germany multi-head embroidery machine at the Industrial Show in Hanover.
1954 Total exports of the West German needle industry amounted to 28.48 million DM(=2.241 million kgs).The Aachen needle factories export 12.78 million DM(45%).However, the profits from are on the decline although the quantities increase.
1954 Organ, JapOn, comienza con la fabrica-knitting and weaving needles.
1954 The sewing machine needle factory "Red Star" is founded in Nan Qiang, Jiading County, near Shanghai.
1954 The sewing machine factory in Tianjin, China found their own sewing machine needle factory.
1955 Herbert Pavel purchases the Rheinische Nadelfabriken (later to be Rheinnadel) from Walther Hesse (fig. 087). The needle factory Heusch-Huhn (founded in 1875) is taken over by the Rheinische Nadelfabriken.
1956 In Shanghai, China, 16 needle factories are merged into the Needle Factories 1 and 2.
1956 The Singer Co. erect a sewing machine needle factory in Campinas, Brazil.
1959 16 June The percentage of the Aachen needle industry of the total world production of sewing machine needles is 35%. The wages and salaries percentage is 80%.
1960 Ryozo Masujima, founder of the Organ needle factory in Japan dies. His son Yoshimi takes over. Organ produce 100 million sewing machine needles.
1960 Efforts are made to increase the productivity of the needle industry.
1961 The Singer sewing machine needle factory in Elizabethport, USA is closed. The production equipment is moved to the needle factory in Wurselen, near Aachen (fig. 088).
1961 The Metwar needle factory is moved to Wurselen, near Aachen and is now called Torrington GmbH.
1963 There are 6 needle factories in the city of Aachen employing 1742 workers, 6 in the surrounding district with 2738 workers and just over the borders in Belgium and the Netherlands, there are 2 needle factories with 400 workers.
1963 The Singer Co. founds a needle factory in Madurai, India. The majority in this company is later taken over by Indians.
1964 20 May Foundation of the sewing machine needle factory K.O. Needles in Pusan, South Korea. It is known under the name "Orange".
1967 Organ Needle Co. erects a factory for industrial sewing machine needles in Nishishioda. A needle factory is founded under partnership in Taiwan.
1967 Foundation of the Three Circles Knitting Needle Factory in Taiwan producing firstly knitting needles but later also sewing machine needles.
1968 18 March The needle manufacturer F.B. Schmetz dies. Schmetz earned great merits for the standardization work in the needle industry and also reached outstanding achievements in the development of needle manufacturing machines.He leaves behind the largest sewing machine needle factory in Aachen County.
1968 he Singer Co. move their production of sewing machine needles in Brazil from Campinas to Indaiatuba.
1969 The Aachen needle industry produces 397 million sewing machine needles with a value of DM 43 million.
1970 9 Oct. A bronze stature, sculptured by Hubert Loneke, is unveiled Am Dahmengraben in Aachen. It is from three people who hold their little fingers of the right hand high in the air (fig. 089). It is the "Klenkes". The little finger is used when the needles are visually controlled and the bad are sorted out from the good.
1970 20 Oct. Dipl. Ing. Klaus Pavel joins the Rheinische Nadelfabriken.
1970 The Rheinische Nadelfabriken take shares in the Nederlandse Naaldenfabriek MUVA B.V.Vaals (fig. 090).
1970 Carl Zangs AG, Krefeld, Germany develop an automatic changer for pattern repetitions and colours on shuttle embroidery machines. It is now possible to automatically embroider in different pattern repetitions and colours without re-threading.
1970 A sewing machine factory is founded in Rong Ji, Shunde, Province Guangdong, China.
1971 There are 4 needle factories in Schwabach with 700 workers mainly producing spinning and combing needles (80% export), all different types of technical steel pins, surgical needles, handicraft needles.
1972 Changes and independency of several Rheinnadel divisions. Foundation of single Ltd. companies. Foundation of the Rhein-Nadel Automation GmbH. The Haberdashery division making sewing needles, pins, safety pins and zips is sold to Opti, Essen.
1973 The Torrington GmbH of WOrselen near Aachen move their sewing machine production to Aboboda, Portugal. Only special types of sewing machine needles are produced in Wurselen.
1974 14 June The Rheinischen Nadelfabri-ken are renamed Rheinnadel GmbH. Klaus Pavel is appointed Managing Director.
1974 Organ Needle, Japan found a needle factory in Hong Kong.
1974 The Machine Construction Commitee for Standardization together with the needle factories compile a list of needle systems which should be maintained. This amounts to around 900 different needle systems.
1974 The Aachen needle industry produce 655 million sewing machine needles with a value of DM 91 million.
1974 Peter-Nikolaus Schmetz, son of F.B. Schmetz is made Managing Director of Ferd. Schmetz GmbH, Herzogenrath, Germany.
1976 The Rheinnadel GmbH takes over the Deutsche Geratebau GmbH, Salzkotten, Germany who produce equipment for the chemical industry and petrol stations.
1979 11 June Rhein-Nadel Maschinennadel GmbH is the first needle factory to introduce chemical deburring (fig. 091) of sewing machine needlek,. This eliminates the very labour intensive and expensive eye polishing operation.
1980 The Singer sewing machine needle factory in Clydebank, Scotland is closed.
1980 New foundation of MUVA, Vaals, Netherlands.
1980 Groz-Beckert Co. of Albstadt, Germany acquire the Torrington Needle Co and thus start the production of sewing machine needles (previously they only produced knitting machine needles). The sewing machine needles are manufactured in Portugal.
1981 14 Sept. The production plant Beka, Eupen, Belgium is closed.
1982 The Iserlohn factory of William Prym is closed. The machinery is moved to the plant in Aachen.
1984 There are 11 needle factories in China producing approx. 800 million sewing machine needles per year. The largest hand sewing needle and pin factory in Qingdao produces approx. 2.3 billion needles each year.
1984 There are 5 needle factories in the city of Aachen and 3 in the county.
1986 Consul Herbert Pavel, (fig. 092) Rheinnadel dies at the age of 81.
1986 Foundation of Technix Needles in Baroda, State of Gujarat, India producing household sewing machine needles.
1987 Aug. The Integrated Technology (fig. 093) developed by Rheinnadel is introduced in the production. It revolutionizes the production of sewing machine needles. Starting from the wire on the coil, the complete needle form except for the point is manufactured on one machine. 600 needle blanks can be produced on one machine in just one minute. To produce the same amount in the conventional, divided technology, you would have to use 127 different machines.
1988 We produce sewing machine needles with a titaniumnitride coating for testing purposes (fig. 094). The results of the tests with these gold coloured needles lead to the decision to stay with the not so costly chrome plated needles.
1988 2.392 million household sewing machine needles are produced worldwide with the majority, 1.227 million, made in the Peoples Republic of China (fig. 095). 1.658 million industrial sewing machines are manufactured. The percentage of household sewing machine needles coming from Aachen is 5.7% and 26.0% for industrial needles. 0.8 sewing machine needles are produced for each person each year
1989 9 Nov. The wall between the 2 Germanys disappears.
1990 3 Oct. The unification of Germany.
1991 The increase in the productivity of manufacturing sewing machine needles is quite clearly shown in the diagramm (fig. 096) with system 134 #090 as an example. The value of 1218 sewing machine needles per working hour in 1991 is based on Integrated Technology manufacturing.
1993 1 April The 36 hour week is introduced in the german needle industry.
1993 Sept. The german clothing industry experiences a serious structural and cost crisis. The number of plants is reduced by 12% to 1662 in 1993. This branch of the industry in West Germany only employs 131.000 (Beg. 1992: 161.000) people. Only 12.000 people are employed in the clothing industry in the east of Germany.
It is expected that this figure will be halved by the end of the year.
1993 31 Dec. The needle factory Stephan Beissel, Aachen founded in 1730, closes.
1994 1 Jan. The Thuringische Nadelwerke Ichtershausen, Germany is purchased by the Hessen-Thuringia Landesbank. The Trust Company had been supporting the needle factory since the Unification.
1994 1 April The Lammertz Industrienadel GmbH and the Beka Maschinennadel GmbH are founded in Aachen.
1994 The Prym Co. in Stolberg, near Aachen is Europes largest manufacturer of hand sewing needles and pins. There are 11 factories in Europe producing sewing machine needles with 4 in Germany and 3 of these in the Aachen area.
1994 Rheinnadel GmbH founds or acquires 8 companies mainly in the mechanical engineering field up to the end of 1994.