Are you a fan of Bernina sewing machines? I know I certainly am. Along with a very small number of other storied brands, Bernina seems to represent the pinnacle in sewing machine quality. I know many sewists who can talk about their beloved Bernina sewing machines that have been handed down from generation to generation and still seem to work as well today as the day they were new.
Bernina Factory Tour
I learned only recently that I was going to have the opportunity to travel to Switzerland in the coming weeks. So, as any fan of Bernina sewing machines would do, I immediately researched the opportunity to organize a visit to the famous Bernina factory at Steckborn on the shores of Lake Constance about an hour north of Zurich. I was, of course devastated to learn that the factory was closed for the summer holidays.
We were delighted to learn that Bernina would open the factory and organize a special tour for our little group!
A History of Quality Manufacturing and World Firsts
For over 120 years, Bernina has been manufacturing quality sewing machines in Switzerland as a family-owned and run company.
- In 1893, the company’s founder, Karl Friedrich, invented the hemstitch sewing machine that was capable of sewing 100 stitches per minute.
- In 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression, Bernina manufactures its first household sewing machine at the factory in Steckborn.
- In 1938, Bernina manufactures the first zigzag sewing machine.
- In 1945, Bernina develops the first portable zigzag machine with a free arm.
- In 1954, Bernina launches the first semi-automatic buttonhole sewing machine.
- In 1986, Bernina produces the first computerized sewing machine with fully automatic one-step buttonholes.
- In 2002, Bernina introduces the first sewing machine with a Microsoft Windows operating system.
For our many readers in Australia, here’s an interesting history of Bernina from a uniquely Australian perspective:
Questions about Bernina sewing machines?
I’ve certainly got a good list of topics to research about Bernina sewing machines already, but I’d really like to get your help. If you have questions you’d like me to ask or any ideas to explore with Bernina, please let me know as soon as possible in the comments below. We’ll do a follow up post with answers to the questions and photos from the factory tour after the visit. Thanks in advance for your help.