Inventors are inspirational. Helen Blanchard was an inventor and businesswoman. While some details of her life are unknown, we do that she received 28 patents between 1873 and 1915. Most of her patents were for sewing machines and sewing technology.
Helen Augusta Blanchard was born on October 25, 1840 in Portland, Maine. Her father was a shipowner and businessman and her family, at the time of her birth, was wealthy. Helen had five siblings. Her father, following the business panic in 1866, lost his business and the family lost their homestead. Her father soon died and Helen moved to Boston, Massachusetts. She patented multiple inventions related to sewing machines in the early to mid 1870s. After inventing ways to employ zigzag stitching and overseaming, Helen moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She then founded the Blanchard Overseaming Company to market her inventions. She then founded the Blanchard Hosiery Machine Company. Next, Helen moved to New York. She kept inventing items related to sewing, even surgical sewing, and invented a pencil sharpener.
In 1901, she was able to buy back her family homestead in Portland, Maine and moved there. She was once again wealthy. She continued to invent until she suffered a stroke in 1916. She passed away in 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island, however was buried in the family plot in Portland, Maine.
Helen Blanchard’s 28 patents were received over about forty-two years. Her first improved sewing machine is in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Be inspired! Have a bright day!