The Campbell Bosworth harness stitcher is the main sewing machine we use at Quillins. It is a 300 pound type of sewing machine that was developed by Campbell Bosworth in the late 1800s (patient date is 1904). It was designed specifically for the purpose of sewing halters and harnesses, which are the leather straps used to attach horses or other animals to carts, wagons, or plows.
The harness stitcher uses an awl, needle and bobbin that stitch with a strong, durable thread. The machine was operated by a foot pedal, and the leather was guided through the machine by hand. Adding electric motors is the one thing that has changed - everything else in our shop is still pretty much how harness and halters were made in the early 1900s.
The Campbell Bosworth harness stitcher was a significant innovation in the leatherworking industry, as it greatly increased the efficiency and speed of harness production. Prior to the invention of the harness stitcher, harnesses were typically sewn by hand, which was a slow and labor-intensive process.
We run 7 Campbells, they just produce a better, tighter stitch ,in our shop, while other shops largely replaced them with more advanced industrial sewing machines, but it remains an important piece of historical technology that played a significant role in the development of the leatherworking industry.