How a dream about cannibalism gave us the sewing machine March 26th, 2009
Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter from Investors Business Daily who was doing a story on Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine. He was intrigued by the fact that Elias was able to perfect his sewing machine invention because of a dream!
Howe had been struggling to invent a machine that would sew with the same speed and efficiency as Hargreaves’ and Cartwright’s new machines would spin and weave, but with no success. As the tale goes, exhausted by frustration, Howe fell asleep at his workbench one night and had this dream:
He is in Africa, fleeing from cannibals through the jungle. Despite his frantic efforts to escape, the natives capture him, tie him up hand and foot, and carry him back to their village slung from a pole. There they dump him into a huge iron pot full of water. They light a fire under the pot and start to boil him alive.
As the water starts to bubble and boil around him, he discovers that the ropes have loosened enough for him to work his hands free. He tries repeatedly to take hold of the edge of the pot and haul himself out of the hot water, but every time he manages to heave himself up over the edge of the pot, the natives reach across over the flames and forcibly poke him back down into the pot again with their sharp spears.
When Howe awoke from this “nightmare,” much of his mind was absorbed with sorting through the emotions of the dream–but another part was able to note with objectivity, “That’s odd–those spears all have holes in the points….” As Howe came more fully awake, he thought, “Holes in the points… holes in the points! That’s it! That’s the answer!
As he awoke, Howe realized that the trick to making his sewing machine work was to move the thread transport hole up to point of the needle (as opposed to a handheld needle, where the hole is on the base). It then was a relatively simple matter to design a system of gears that would cause the needle to poke the thread down through the layers of cloth, wrap it around a second thread, and then pull it up again, all very neatly and efficiently. And with the invention of the sewing machine, the last bottleneck to the mechanical production of clothing was broken–this dream lead very directly to the realization of the industrial revolution!
Howe’s cannibal dream not only reflected that his invention was “eating away at him” and “consuming” his every thought, it also gave him the exact solution he needed.
The song Yesterday
the Kevlar bullet proof vest
The Twilight Books
The Theory of Relativity
These are all million dollar ideas and a part of our culture and our history AND they all came to be because of a dream. You’re getting amazing ideas and perfect solutions for your life too, every single night! If you aren’t remembering or understanding your dreams, all these ideas, solutions and advice are sadly being wasted.
Go Here to learn how to easily remember ALL your dreams, completely understand every detail and use your dreams advice to dramatically improve your life. Everyone around you will notice the change… and they will be so jealous!!!