Sewing Bird Reproductions 1950 - 1980By

Sewing Bird Reproductions: 1950-1980

A sewing bird is a type of figural sewing clamp developed in American in the early 1850s. Original clamps helped hold large folds or lengths of fabric during hemming. A modern reproduction sewing bird was reproduced in the 1950s and was made again in the late 1980s.

The main difference between old and new is found in the rounded wing tips. In the original, you'll find either "Patented" or a patent date of "Feb 15, 1853" (Figs. 3 and 4) embossed in the wing. The same area in the new sewing bird is blank. The beak of the new also seems out of alignment with the body compared to the old. The small cushion on the back of the old is mounted with a metal bezel; the small cushion in the new is glued. The top and bottom halves of the old sewing bird are joined with a peened solid rivet. Tops and bottoms of new birds are joined with a hollow rivet.

The 1950s reproduction is marked JAPAN on the inside of the screw clamp. The current reproduction is not marked. It is made in gilded brass. Old birds are usually brass but could also be silver plated. Size of old and new is virtually identical.

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Fig. 1 New sewing bird, gilded brass.

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Fig. 2 Original brass sewing bird (pin cushion missing).

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Fig. 3 Top view, looking down on new wing. No embossed markings or patent date on either wing.

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Fig. 4 Top view of old wing. Either the embossed word "Patented" or the date "Feb 15, 1853" will be on both wings.

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Fig. 5 Beaks of new birds (white arrow) don't align properly and have a distinct "overbite". Small cushion in back is glued on.

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Fig. 6 Beaks of old birds align (white arrow) almost perfectly and heads/eyes generally show more detail. The small cushion is fastened to a metal bezel (black arrow) then attached to bird.