In The News

150 Years Of Janome Sewing Machines

16 July, 2010

In 1860 technology was on the verge of opening up huge new possibilities to the American way of life. Already, a new kind of high speed sailing ship called the clipper could cross the Atlantic in less than 14 days. An instantaneous form of communication called the telegraph was about to cross the U.S. continent. And an amazing device called the home sewing machine was allowing Americans to sew clothes for their families at a huge savings in time--a shirt that took 14 hours to sew by hand could be sewn by machine in 1.5 hours.

In Orange, Massachusetts William Barker and Andrew J. Clark began producing the New England Family Sewing Machine, a single thread hand operated sewing machine. At that time a machine could cost one quarter of the average family's yearly salary. But Barker and Clark continued to improve their manufacturing techniques, lowering the price while making their machines more precise. Within ten years, the company was selling their “Home” and “Home Shuttle” machines to customers all over the world.

In 1882 the company renamed itself New Home (combining New England and Home Shuttle). The company’s production had reached 500 machines per day, as well as a considerable needle manufacturing facility, producing needles for competitor’s machines as well as their own. It has been estimated that 7 million New Home machines were in use by 1937.

In 1921, on the other side of the globe, a Japanese entrepreneur named Yosaku Ose began the PINE Sewing Machine Company. It was the first domestic sewing machine manufacturer in Japan. At the time, most sewing machines used an oblong shuttle bobbin. But PINE produced machines with round bobbins, an important innovation which improved the speed and quality of the stitches. Because the shape of these bobbins reminded people of a snake's eye, the company was given the new name of Janome, which means “eye of the snake” in Japanese.

Proud of this innovative design, the Janome brand was established as an official trade mark in 1935. They continued this progression of advancement, and in 1936 the first mass production sewing machine factory in Japan was opened by Janome in Kaganei, Tokyo.

Both the New Home and Janome companies grew to be household names. In 1960 Janome purchased New Home to establish its footing in the United States, consolidating manufacturing but not changing the name. Then in 1995 the company was renamed Janome America, Inc., a reflection of the reputation the company had created for itself throughout the world. Headquartered in Mahwah, NJ, Janome America has continued to manage the production and marketing of the Janome and New Home brand machines in the United States, as well oversee subsidiaries in Canada and South America.

Janome Global has sewing divisions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand; and agents in Africa, Central and South America and throughout the Pacific Rim of Asia. The company's manufacturing prowess has also made it a world-leader in the manufacturing of high precision robots.

An Eye Toward Innovation
From its very first home machines, Janome has been known for its innovation. In 1964 the company established the world’s first research center for sewing machines, the Janome Research and Development Center. This enterprise produced a major technological advance in 1979, when Janome introduced the world’s first programmable computerized sewing machine, the Memory 7.

In 1990 Janome introduced the Memory Craft 8000, the first professional-style embroidery machine for home use. It revolutionized the home sewing machine market for hobby use. Since the introduction of these models, Janome has remained committed to ingenuity and to making these machines easy to use. Subsequent Memory Craft models have each brought new "firsts" to home sewing, including easy computer connectivity and stitch precision unmatched by any other brand.

Janome is the only sewing machine manufacturer with a sister division that manufactures precision-guided robots for the high tech industry. This proprietary technology is what has allowed their embroidery models, such as the top-of-the-line Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition, to produce such fine stitches over a large hoop area--all without needing a bulky embroidery attachment. When your embroidery mechanism has tolerances measured in thousandths of inches, the stitch quality is very, very good.

Janome has developed technical prowess in fields, ranging from electro press equipment to high-speed vision and clean water systems technology. The latter is especially useful as the Clean Bath System, a filtering system that recycles and purifies water, a costly commodity in Japan. This commitment to specialized products, detailed research and strong development goals has kept Janome a consistently high-ranking company on the Nikkei average, Japan’s equivalent of the Dow Jones.

Customers are loyal to Janome because their machines give them excellent results and are the easiest to use. They know that the features on their machines are designed not as marketing gimmicks, but to make sewing faster and easier. One example is the the Clothsetter table, which works with the Memory Craft 11000. It allows embroidery designs to be placed next to each other with such precision, there's virtually no limit to the size of a finished design. The Automatic Straight Stitch Needle plate, available on Janome quilting machines, adjusts the size of the needle hole when the straight stitch is selected. And this year, Janome is introducing a 3/4 size machine called the Jem Gold Trim And Stitch, which unites a sewing machine with light serging function.

Looking To The Future
Quilting was popular when Barker and Clark introduced their first machine in 1860 and thanks to advances in techniques and machines it's very popular again. In 2010 its 150th year, Janome America will release a new kind of quilting machine with power, speed and room unlike any before bringing a new dawn in quilting possibilities.

Through its many firsts, and its continued commitment to quality, Janome America has fulfilled its founders’ vision for bringing amazing creativity and new innovative options to the home sewing market.