Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Perhaps it's time to talk again about perseverance. Sometimes we persevere because of a challenge, sometimes because of an inward vision, and sometimes because we are stubborn and we follow a prompting that says we must go on. I think that's probably what happened to Elias Howe.

It all started during an argument in 1839 in Boston. The owner of a small machine shop and a fellow mechanic were arguing about the need for a device to sew things together. The heated discussion ended with the words of one of the men. "Do it and I'll assure you an independent fortune".

Working in the shop and listening to the argument was a lame, shy, curly-haired mechanic by the name of Elias Howe. He was tired of working 60 hours a week and earning three dollars. When he heard that a fortune could be made by making a machine that would sew, he decided he would do it.

It is a testimony to his courage that he succeeded, for what followed were many years of little money, family illnesses, experimentation, and design failure until he got the idea of using two threads to make a stitch with the aid of a shuttle and the sewing machine was invented.

A year later Howe was granted a patent, but poverty continued. No one wanted to manufacture the contraption. He went to London and tried, a few were made, but he made no money. When he returned penniless to America, he discovered several mechanics were making a sewing machine under his patent, but none paid him royalties, including Issac Merritt Singer.

It took a lawsuit against the pioneer manufacturer and finally 10-years after his patent, Howe received 15-thousand dollars from Singer for a license to manufacture.

When Howe died 18 years later, he left an estate appraised at 13-million dollars.

After writing this post, I'm wondering: do you think with perseverance against the daily demise of legitimate broadcast and cable journalism we could find a news organization willing to cover news the old way - based on facts, not conjecture. While we are at it, how about a fair, non-opinionated presentation and a balanced, not hyped, sane dissemination of information?


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