A sewing machine is a machine used to stitch fabric and other materials together with thread. Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing and textile factories. Sewing machines are designed to sew straight seams, but are capable of creating a variety of decorative stitches as well. Sewing machines are classified according to how the fabric is fed through the machine. The three most common types of sewing machines are the straight stitch, zigzag, and overlock machines. The first sewing machine was invented by French tailor, Barthelemy Thimmonier, in 1830. Thimmonier's machine was capable of sewing 800 stitches per minute. The machine was large and bulky, and powered by a foot pedal. In 1846, Elias Howe, an American, invented the first sewing machine that used a needle with an eye at the point, and a shuttle to form the stitches. Howe's machine was much smaller and more portable than Thimmonier's machine. Isaac Singer, another American, invented the first practical sewing machine in 1851. Singer's machine was designed to be used in the home, and was powered by a hand crank. Singer's machine was much easier to use than previous machines, and became very popular. Today, sewing machines are used in a variety of settings, including homes, schools, and factories. They are an essential tool for many people who sew, and have made the process of sewing much faster and easier.