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Cornely Machine

Example of a Cornely machine. Example of a Cornely machine.

The Cornely machine produces chain stitch embroidery. The history of the Cornely machine mirrors the history of machine embroidery stitching. In the nineteenth century, there were various attempts to produce a simple, commercial machine that could produce a continuous chain stitch.

An early attempt was made by John Duncan from Glasgow, for example, who invented a machine in 1804, but the stitching was not regarded as consistent. Duncan was followed in 1828 by Joseph Heilmann, whose machine produced a better stitch, but again it was not reliable. Another attempt was made by Barthélemy Thimonnier in 1829. Thimonnier was a tailor and married to an embroideress. He wanted to create a sewing machine that could imitate tambour embroidery. His machine, however, was not a great success and he died in poverty.

The first successful industrial chain stitch machine was developed in the early 1860's by Antoine Bonnaz (1836-1915), a silk machine engineer. Bonnaz’s machine was based on that by Thimonnier, but with the problems encountered by Thimonnier sorted out. Bonnaz’s machine was successful and he sold the patent for his chain stitch machine (also known as couso-brodeur) to the firm of Hurtu et Hautin (& Diligeon), at that time a well-known French firm of cording machines.

The Bonnaz patent was later acquired by Ercole Cornely, in a factory at 5 de la rue Barbanègre, Paris. Cornely developed a hook-shaped needle that could make a line of chain stitches. At first the new machines were called Bonnaz machines, but within a short time they became known as Cornely machines. The machines were initially only available in northern France, but it was not long before they were purchased by the embroidery industry in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The Cornely machines then quickly became very popular elsewhere and were eventually exported to countries throughout the world. By the early twenty-first century they are still being produced.

The Cornely machine produces a different type of embroidery than the Schiffli machine.


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 26 June 2016).


Last modified on Monday, 26 June 2017 14:22