AMF REECE - sewing machines

History Company AMF REECE

The present AMF Reece company was formed in 1991 by joining together of two of the industry’s oldest and most respected specialized sewing machine manufacturers.

AMF Sewn Products Inc. and The Reece Corporation. The merger brought together the resources and technical expertise of two companies that had been developing innovative and revolutionary products for the sewing industry since the late 1800’s.

In 1995 AMF Reece Inc. purchased the Minerva Company based in Prostejov the Czech Republic. The Minerva Company had also been designing and manufacturing a wide range of sewing machines, including eyelet buttonhole models. This acquisition was a strategic move by AMF Reece, giving the company additional manufacturing and engineering capacity.


Eyelet Buttonhole History

Eyelet Buttonhole History

Mid 1800’s

  • Hand sewn garments
  • Very basic machines
  • Many efforts to develop a practical sewing machine


Sewing industrial revolution

  • first practical sewing machine invented by Elias Howe in 1846
  • simple overcast buttonhole stitch replaced by highly-refined stitch devised by artisan tailors
  • buttonholes having eyelet at one end to encircle the shank of the button
  • 18 patents issued between 1846 and 1880 by inventors (Batchelder, Singer, Wilson, Groveraker, Gibbs) to produce a Buttonhole machine. All of these quite impractical for use in production


John Reece

  • born in 1853 in Stanstead Quebec Canada
  • intuitive knowledge of mechanics
  • reputation for fixing neighbors sewing machines
  • dedicated to invent specialized sewing machines
  • developed the First Automatic Eyelet End Buttonhole Machine in 1874, the largest bobbin in the world used in the shoe industry
  • Reece Model J patented on 26.04.1881, won acclaim and honors in many exhibitions, including the World fair of 1893 in Chicago
  • First production machine leased in 1883 (until the 1970’s Reece Company only leased machines and collected weekly rental plus payments for amount of buttonholes sewn)


Button shoe industry

  • Difficult to sew in leather
  • Earlier attempts were crude and required many steps
  • High Speed Shoe Machine of 1907 and Rapid of 1915, successors used in production of shoes (single boot contained 12 or more buttonholes), collars, work clothes and rainwear