Blog 3 – The development of modernity- The Typewriter and The Sewing Machine.. Shauna O Brien 113545727


The development of modernity- The Typewriter and The Sewing Machine

Pic 1: Blue Bird Typewriter. Picture taken from personal collection of objects


The typewriter was one of the most important inventions of its time which not only modernized the way in which people communicated but also modernized the work place. It made writing letters and texts easier and led to the rapid expansion of businesses due to the amount of work that could be done each day in comparison to pen writing. However,  not only did the typewriter improve everyday life and increase workflow, they also created many new opportunities for women. Because of the typewriter’s growing popularity in the 19th century, women were given a new opportunity to enter the work place, it gave them new opportunities for clerical work, which provided them with a weekly wage and gave the women an independence that they didn’t have before. It revolutionized how women were accepted into other areas of employment and played an important role in changing the future for women and employment in the city (Cortada, 1993).


Pic 2: Singer Sewing machine. Picture taken from personal collection of objects

The sewing machine had huge impacts on life in the city, both socially and economically. It impacted from a small scale in homes to large scale in businesses. In the  household the sewing machine meant that women could now sew and make clothes for their families. It allowed them to make items of clothing that was unique and more personal and was far more cost efficient than having to get clothes tailor made, which in turn led to families having more money and time to spend on other things.

The sewing machine led to clothing being mass produced as it was faster than sewing by hand. This meant that factories were established which catered for the growing size of the fashion industry and like the typewriter, led to employment opportunities for women. It allowed clothes to be more available to people and so had an affect on the social aspect of life in the 20th century as people now had access to clothes of various kinds (Cooper, 1976).

Both inventions laid down the foundations of objects that we still use today and has continued to modernize our cities, the most obvious being the personal computer, in which the keyboard layout is still the same as it was over 100 years ago.


  • Cooper, G. R (1976). The Sewing Machine: Its Invention and Development.Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press.
  • Cortada, J. W (1993). Before the Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the Industry they created, 1865-1956. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s