|Solomon Adler, Nov. 1958: silver gelatin|
photoprint, photographer unidentified
Adler grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of Isaac Adler, a tailor. He apprenticed in machine shops and attended the City College of New York, learning and honing the skills needed to become an expert machinist, toolmaker and draftsman.
Adler’s first sewing machine (which he dubbed the "parent machine") earned U.S. Patent 2,561,643, issued in 1951. The machine was a full-size home machine, with a concealed motor and power cord, that could also expand into a commercial-size machine. Six subsequent patents for subassemblies were derived from the "parent machine" over the next several years.
Analyzing the evolving U.S. domestic sewing machine market gave Adler ideas for further inventions, refining the machines and adding new features. Unfortunately, success was elusive; his machine with zigzag- and straight-stitch capability was rejected by several U.S. and European sewing machine manufacturers. But in 1954, Adler met Max Hugel, president of the Asiatic Commerce Corporation of New York, later known as Brother International Corporation (BIC), a subsidiary of the Nippon Company. Nippon wanted to solve certain design and operational problems it was having in developing a zigzag sewing machine for sale in the United States. Adler joined BIC, moved to Japan, and succeeded in helping correct the design issues.
|New Japan Sewing Machine News,|
Christmas issue, 1959
|Pacesetter sewing machine advertisement |
from publicity packet, 1950s
The Adler papers in the Archives Center, which include correspondence, notes, photographs, drawings, sketches, litigation records, and printed materials, provide insight into an independent inventor’s state of mind during the process of invention as well as an archival portrait of his contributions to 20th-century American life and commerce.
--Alison Oswald, Archivist, National Museum of American History Archives Center