Take a look back at our past.
BERNINA has combined quality, tradition and innovation since the end of the 19th century. Learn more about the history of BERNINA's innovative products.
In 1893, Karl Friedrich Gegauf invents the hemstitch sewing machine. This machine can sew 100 stitches per minute. It was the world's first machine of this type, and also caused a major sensation abroad. The mechanical production of hemstitching was subsequently known simply as "gegaufing".
By 1900, 70 to 80 people were employed in the workshop; it had become a small factory. Karl Friedrich Gegauf was the technical director. His brother Georg was in charge of the business interests. The hemstitch sewing machine had found widespread use and was also being sold abroad.
After the death of Karl Friedrich Gegauf in 1928, his two sons Fritz and Gustav Gegauf took over their father's factory. Gustav Gegauf left the company in 1947. Fritz Gegauf was a creative person whose character defined the company for many decades and whose inventions have an effect to this day.
The household sewing machine with the BERNINA brand name leaves the factory in Steckborn. The logo contains a rounded "A" and is set off by a background of shiny black lacquer. The company's namesake is the Piz Bernina, the highest summit in the eastern Alps.
BERNINA's first zigzag sewing machine enters the market. To visually reinforce the Swiss quality, the brand's logo now adorns the arm.
The first portable zigzag sewing machine appears in 1945. As demand developed, production numbers rose steadily upward: By 1963, BERNINA had produced one million zigzag sewing machines.
The world keeps on sewing - and BERNINA continues to develop the machines. In 1954, the company markets the first machine with a patented clip-on presser foot and a semi-automatic buttonhole sewing function.
From 1959, Fritz Gegauf entrusted his daughter Odette Ueltschi with the leadership of BERNINA and she was able to take over as president of the company in 1979.
BERNINA produces continuous innovations under the direction of Odette Ueltschi-Gegauf. In 1963, BERNINA introduces the first machine with a patented, knee-activated presser foot lifter. The Free Hand System FHS, which not only raises the presser foot, but also lowers the feed dog, is still an important feature of almost every BERNINA.
A sewing machine with electric foot control - the BERNINA 830 - follows in 1971. This machine establishes itself as a top model in the 70s, remains the best seller for eleven years and enjoys legendary status today.
Odette Ueltschi-Gegauf continues to drive innovative thinking. The BERNINA 930 is the first model with a stretch stitch function and an especially powerful engine.
In the mid-80s, BERNINA produced the1130, the first computerized sewing machine with fully automatic one-step buttonholing and stitch pattern memory.
Hanspeter Ueltschi, great-grandson of the company founder, takes over the leadership of Fritz Gegauf AG in 1988 from his mother Odette, and from now on leads the company with considerable skill and flair. Under his leadership, BERNINA develops into an iconic brand among quilters in the United States.
The 1230 model has expanded memory and fully automated one-step buttonholing. Odette Ueltschi-Gegauf continues to shape the company so effectively that the sewing machine line bernette is named after her: a combination of her first name and the brand name BERNINA.
BERNINA made more innovative leaps in the 90s. The top-of-the-line 1630 model features 9mm (3/8 in.) stitch width, over 400 stitch patterns, monograms, 5 alphabets and enables sewing in 16 directions.
Hanspeter Ueltschi introduces the first BERNINA sewing computer, the artista 180. The company has finally entered the computer age.
Many "buttons" now adorn BERNINA machines. The top-of-the-series activa 145 model is equipped with CPS software for customized settings. Scanned images can be converted into embroidery patterns with the appropriate BERNINA software.
The world's first sewing computer with a Microsoft Windows operating system enters the market. Other features include CD-ROM drive, LCD display and memory functions for stitch combinations and embroidery designs.
In 2004, BERNINA establishes another first: The company markets the BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR) for uniform stitch lengths in free-motion stitching. The BSR earns BERNINA the "Best Innovator" award from A.T. Kearney. The aurora 440 QE, which is equipped with the BSR, becomes the preferred machine for demanding quilters around the world.
The new artista 640 and 730 machines resemble computers more and more. Features such as utility and decorative stitch programs, built-in embroidery software and - in the case of the artista 730 - even a touchscreen, are testaments to innovation and progress.
The BERNINA 830 is a machine of superlatives - the biggest and fastest machine ever produced at a BERNINA factory. For this product alone, 15 patent applications were filed. The Swiss precision of the B 830 guarantees an unforgettable sewing and embroidery experience.
With the CutWork Tool and CutWork software, BERNINA customers can design shapes onscreen for the first time and then cut them out with the sewing machine. CutWork was awarded the Swiss Technology Award in 2009.
The introduction of the new 5 Series (BERNINA 530, 550 QE and 580) presents a new image for the BERNINA brand. The logo is now embroidered and supplemented with the claim "made to create".
Simple and classic are a couple of words that describe the new
BERNINA 7 Series. At BERNINA, we concentrate not only on
sophisticated technologies, but also on setting new standards
in product design and performance.
With the launch of the 7 Series, BERNINA presents a world’s first, the BERNINA 9 Hook (B 9 Hook). Combining the two best hook technologies, the B 9 Hook is patent pending.
Creativity has three new dimensions: combine embroideries with CutWork, PaintWork, or CrystalWork. You'll be amazed at the magnificent effects you can achieve.
With BERNINA accessories, you’re ideally equipped even for challenging sewing, quilting and embroidery projects – quality accessories for perfect creative endea...
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