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Elias Howe was born July 9, 1819 in Spencer, Mass and died October 3, 1867 at the age of 48 in Brooklyn, NY.  On September 10, 1846, he was awarded the first US Patent for a sewing machine using a lockstitch design.  His machine contained three essential features common to most modern machines - 1- a needle with the eye at the point, 2- a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to form the lockstitch and 3- an automatic feed.  For more information about the life of Elias Howe and pictures of the first US Patented sewing machine, Google: Elias Howe.

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.  The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.  But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids... And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.  
Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw. Today they would go crazy trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
But I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love...

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