Lyman Reed Blake

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Lyman Reed Blake
Born(1835-08-24)August 24, 1835
South Abington, Massachusetts
DiedOctober 3, 1883(1883-10-03) (aged 48)
Known forinvention of a sewing machine for sewing the soles of shoes to the vamp of the shoe

Lyman Reed Blake (August 24, 1835 – October 3, 1883) was an American inventor who devised a sewing machine for sewing the soles of shoes to the vamp of the shoe.[1] Born in South Abington, Massachusetts, Blake started off in the shoemaker business at a young age, first working for his brother Samuel. Blake later worked in inventor Isaac Singer's company, Singer Corporation, setting up sewing machines in shoe factories. By 1856, he had become a partner in a shoemaking company and spent his time inventing machines to help speed up the process of shoemaking.[2]

Two years later, on July 6, 1858, Blake received a patent from the United States government for his sewing machine for helping attach the soles of shoes to the upper of the shoe.[3] The sewing machine helped permit the production of low-cost shoes by eliminating the heavy work of hand sewing. Blake then sold the patent to Gordon McKay a year after for $8,000 in cash and a $62,000 share of future profits.[4] Blake later worked for McKay from 1861 until his retirement in 1874, working on improving the machine.[1] The McKay sole-sewing machine was at the top of the market for twenty-one years in both the United States and Great Britain. Blake died on October 5, 1883, at the age of 48.[5]


  1. ^ a b Mary Bellis. "Lyman Reed Blake (1835 - 1883)". Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  2. ^ "Lyman Reed Blake (1835 - 1883)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  3. ^ "July 6, 1858 in History". Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  4. ^ Edward Tenner (2000). "Lasting Impressions". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  5. ^ "Today in Science History". Retrieved 2007-02-10.