BERNINA: Class-leading sewing machines
In 1932, in the small town of Steckborn, Switzerland, the first Bernina sewing machine was born into a family of inventors. The company’s innovative spirit, however, began decades earlier. It was in 1893 that young Karl Friederich Gegauf invented the world’s first hemstitch sewing machine, designed for trade, industry and small worshops.
In the early 1930’s, Karl Friedrich Gegauf’s son Fritz set out to create a home sewing machine that was superior in everyway. The result was the very first Bernina, introduced in 1932, and named for the souring heights of a nearby Swiss mountain to remind him of the standards he had set for himself and his company. By 1937, more than twenty thousand Bernina machines had left the factory.
Beginning in 1965, Odette Ueltschi-Gegauf, daughter of Fritz Gegauf, continued the family’s business and inventive spirit. Her warm-hearted approach and an innate ability to listen to the needs of others won her the devotion of her employees. She viewed Bernina as “one big family,” and that lives on today.
It was that same intuitive interest that Odette Ueltschi-Geguaf approached the needs of her customers. She regularly asked her team of designers, “Would this be of use to the seamstress and housewife, and is it easy to operate?” This soft of thoughtful questioning led her to develop the first fully electronic Bernina sewing machine.
The company is now run by Hanspeter Ueltschi, son of Odette Ueltschi-Geguaf and rock star of the sewing machine world. He has lead the company into the world of computerized machine embroidery as well as long arm quilting. We are excited to see what the next generation will bring!