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Sewing Machines: A Brief History of the Merrow Sewing Machine Company

Founded in 1838, The Merrow Machine Company is a leading manufacturer of sewing machines. The company was established by Mr. Joseph Merrow, a gunpowder manufacturer. Today Merrow is one of the largest and most popular suppliers of textile sewing equipment and industrial sergers. The company not only creates quality overlock machines, but customizes them for specific applications. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world are using Merrow sewing machines for their reliability and uncompromised quality.

The Merrow Machine Company has evolved from a knitting mill to the world’s largest manufacturer of overlock machines. Mr. Joseph Merrow became interested in manufacturing gunpowder and built a powder mill in the early 19th century. The mill was destroyed by an explosion in 1837, so Mr. Merrow has built a knitting factory on the same site. The factory quickly became the first business of its kind in the country.

The knitted goods were made of native wool that was sorted, picked, dyed, scoured, spun into yarn, and then knitted into hosiery. The final product was shipped to retail stores throughout New England. Sewing machines were also being created in the machine shop in conjunction with the knitting business. In 1887, a fire destroyed the knitting mill once again. In the next years, the company has focused solely on creating superior overlock machines that last longer.

In 1905, The Merrow Machine Company had agents in 35 countries. The first line of “A Class” machines was created in 1932. Joseph M. Merrow continued as president of the company until his death in 1947. A new type of sewing machine was patented in 1955. In 1964, the company expanded operations in the South by opening Franklin Industries in Georgia. The Merrow Machine Company continued to be a leading designer manufacturer, and distributor of industrial machines throughout the 20th century. Today the company is operated by brothers Charlie and Owen Merrow. Their machines wear better, last longer, and have better seams.

In 2004, this manufacturer changed its name to The Merrow Sewing Machine Company. The people who run the company are proud to continue its tradition of precision engineering and innovation in the 21st century. New models of overlock machines are built every year. In 2010, custom industrial sewing machines were added to its standard product line. The company is now based in Fall River, Massachusetts. Its customers can still order parts for machines constructed in the 1800s.

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