Woman of the Century/Helen Augusta Blanchard

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BLANCHARD, Miss Helen Augusta, inventor, born in Portland, Maine, is a lineal descendant HELEN AGUSTA BLANCHARD.jpgHELEN AGUSTA BLANCHARD. of the celebrated Huguenot exile, Sir Thomas Blanchard. Her father, Nathaniel Blanchard, was one of the most prominent and honored business men of Portland. In girlhood Miss Blanchard began to show that inventive power which has made her name famous. The death of her father and the embarrassment of his estate called forth her latent energies and developed the ability and ingenuity which determined her course as an inventor. She applied her powers to the intricacies of machinery, and in 1876, by the results of her inventions, she established the Blanchard Over-seam Company, of Philadelphia, which was the originality of what is now called zigzag sewing, both inside and outside of material sewed, and which achieved a signal success. A number of great industries have sprung from that company, and the benefits of that invention have spread through the country. The ambition and energy that have marked her life were stimulated by the numberless annoyances and obstacles that always beset the pathway of a persevering inventor, in the shape of Patent Office delays, mercenary infringement of her rights and unscrupulous assaults upon the products of her brain. Among her numerous inventions are the Blanchard over-seaming-machine, the machine for simultaneous sewing and trimming on knitted fabrics, and the crocheting and sewing machine, all of which are in use by immense manufactories and are ranked among the most remarkable mechanical contrivances of the age. For many years Miss Blanchard lived in Philadelphia, managing and directing her business in that city, but for the last few years she has made her home in New York. In all the rush and publicity that have surrounded her she has preserved those qualities of gentleness, dignity and modesty which adorn her character and secure her a grateful welcome into the social life of the metropolis. Aiding with open-hearted generosity the meritorious efforts of struggling women wherever she has found them, she has distinguished herself as a benefactor of her sex.