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"Why are you bothering yourselves with a knitting machine?" asked Ari Davis of Boston, a manufacturer of instruments. "Why don’t you make a sewing machine?" That particular question was overheard by a young man of twenty - Elias Howe. No one took that question seriously, except the young Howe. It haunted him day and night until he resolved to produce one. He had an almost insane conviction that it could be done. Although he nearly starved in the process, some friends helped him to survive financially.

Finally, in July of 1845, the machine was completed and proved its practicality by sewing the seams of two suits of woolen cloth! It could sew nearly...

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