through the 19th century, sewing clamps were used to either
hold fabric while stitching or to hold thread during winding.
Mounted on a C-clamp, a spring-powered clip held the fabric
or thread in place.
The first sewing bird patent was granted to Charles Waterman
of Meriden, Connecticut, in 1853. Although Waterman's bird
clamp was by far the most popular, the clamps came in a variety
According to his daughter, Mr. Waterman designed the bird
to make sewing easier. Advertised at the time as having "health
preserving" properties, these clamps allowed for proper
posture while working over a piece of sewing. They acted as
a third hand holding the piece of fabric taut, which allowed
sewers to sit up straight rather than hunch over their work.