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From the Blatchford, Seward & Griswold Records
Testimony of June 31, 1860, by James McCall
on behalf of the sewing machine patent of Elias Howe.
The patent ownership was defended by the firm of
Blatchford, Seward & Griswold.
On behalf of applicant – James McCall
Before Coms. Andrews –
July 31, 1860
James McCall being duly sworn deposes & says as follows:
Q 1. What is your name, age, residence and occupation? A. James McCall, age 32, residence 188 Fulton St. Occupation at present selling machine silk, & was formerly in the clothing business, for fifteen years. 2. Have you given attention, & if so to what extent, to the subject of the effect of the introduction of sewing machines upon the different branches of trade? & have you collected & are you now engaged in collecting statistics of the saving which they effect therein & What has led you to make such investigations? A.
About four years ago I was favorably impressed against the sewing machines, being then a manufacturer of clothing: one of my neighbors got a sewing machine, & I offered to try him a race with my hands against his machine. He did not take me up, & it confirmed my previous impressions against the machine. I afterwards bought a machine & almost for the purpose of trying the experiment whether machines were profitable in my business or not; & after a few experiments I concluded it was not profitable, & threw up the machine. After a time I took it up & tried it again. I instructed six of my workers to use the machine; then I took those workers & gave them garments to make by hand & the same garments to make by machine. The result came out contrary to my impressions. Not being satisfied with this I took four of the best hands & got four papers & had each worker's name written on the top of each paper. Then I gave each worker a garment to make entirely by hand, requiring her to put down on her paper exactly the time she took to seam each seam, & to make the different parts of the garment. Then she took the same kind of garment & was to make it exclusively by machine, so far as she could, & put the time down on the paper in the same way. These experiments were tried for nearly six months, & more or less for three years, until the result proved a saving of 32 per cent, on my workers. Also the same experiments by dress makers, shirt makers, &c. I hired them to do the same work for me that my own workers did; & the result of the saving was fifty per cent on gentlemen's shirts, & ladies' dresses & underclothes generally.
These experiments were conducted principally with the Amasa Howe Machine, the Grover & Baker (Howe patent) Shuttle Machine, & the Wheeler & Wilson Machine.
These experiments on the clothing were made for my own information, as a matter affecting my own interest in business, & with no view of being used in this or any other case.
The results of these experiments, in detail, are presented in the following tables.
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