News Archive

Computerized Sewing Machine Survives Record-Breaking Tornado

15 December, 2001

Mahwah, NJ - The Oklahoma City twister of 1999 was one of the most powerful tornadoes ever recorded. As it cut a mile wide swath through the city, causing over $1 billion in damage, it smashed Tammy Herzog's home into a pile of shattered lumber. She and her husband thought they had lost everything, including Tammy's Memory Craft 9000 computerized sewing machine. But the MC 9000 was recovered from the wreckage. And, amazingly, after being cleaned up, was creating intricate computerized embroidery as if nothing had happened.

Herzog assumed that her machine had been smashed into pieces like everything else in the house, and if that hadn't ruined it, then the 48 hours of torrential rain following the twister would have done the job. As Herzog's friends were helping her salvage what was left of her house, one of them called out, "Hey, Tammy, we found your sewing machine."

It had been knocked to the ground and buried under five feet of mud. Itwas so thoroughly soaked that water gushed from the case when it was first picked up. But it was in one piece, missing only the accessory tray and a small hatch door. Figuring that it was ruined, Herzog put it into storage with the rest of her family's damaged belongings and bought a new Memory Craft 9000. A few weeks later, Herzog took her "ruined" machine in to a sewing dealer to see if it could be used for parts. To Herzog's surprise, after being cleaned and serviced, it was in perfect order. She took it to her Janome sewing machine dealer to see if she could sell it.

Carol Vines owner of Fit To Sew, the store where Herzog purchased her second MC9000, tested the Tornado machine thoroughly.

"I took it home and ran it for hours. And then we used it in sewing classes where it was run all day long. It worked perfectly. The stitch quality was as excellent as you'd expect from a Janome." Vines added that the only unusual thing about the machine was the fine grit that would sprinkle down from the case as the sewing vibration worked it loose.

Regena Janssen, Merchandise Supervisor for Janome America, says the company was thrilled to hear how well the precision machine held up.

"We don't test our machines to see if they're tornado-proof," says Janssen. "And we certainly don't recommend getting them wet. But we do build them to last." She added that Janome recommends treating a sewing machine with the same care you would a computer.

Janome America, Inc. (formerly The New Home Sewing Machine Company) was the first to introduce programmable computerized sewing machines for household use. Janome machines, which can be seen at, are recognized throughout the industry for ease-of-use and unsurpassed stitch quality.