Picture: History

Milestones stitch by stitch

BERNINA has combined quality, tradition and innovation since the end of the 19th century. Learn more about the history of BERNINA's innovative products.

 

1893

The year 1893: The world's first hemstitch sewing machine

The year 1893: The world's first hemstitch sewing machine

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".

 

1900

A factory is established

A factory is established

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.

 

1928

The Fritz Gegauf era begins

The Fritz Gegauf era begins

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.

 

1932

The sewing machine for use at home

The sewing machine for use at home

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.

 

1938

The zigzag machine arrives

The zigzag machine arrives

BERNINA's first zigzag sewing machine enters the market. To visually reinforce the Swiss quality, the brand's logo now adorns the arm.

 

1945

Zigzag with free-arm

Zigzag with free-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.

 

1954

The semi-automatic arrives

The semi-automatic arrives

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.

 

1959

The next generation takes over

The next generation takes over

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.

 

1963

The year 1963: Committed to Swiss quality

The year 1963: Committed to Swiss quality

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.

 

1971

The year 1971: BERNINA pushes the pedal

The year 1971: BERNINA pushes the pedal

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.

 

1982

The year 1982: Even more sewing power

The year 1982: Even more sewing power

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.

 

1986

The year 1986: The dawn of the computer age

The year 1986: The dawn of the computer age

In the mid-80s, BERNINA produced the1130, the first computerized sewing machine with fully automatic one-step buttonholing and stitch pattern memory.

 

1988

The year 1988: Hanspeter Ueltschi takes the reins

The year 1988: Hanspeter Ueltschi takes the reins

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.

 

1989

The year 1989: Odette becomes bernette

The year 1989: Odette becomes bernette

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.

 

1993

The year 1993: Material for further advances

The year 1993: Material for further advances

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.

 

1998

The year 1998: The first true sewing computer

The year 1998: The first true sewing computer

Hanspeter Ueltschi introduces the first BERNINA sewing computer, the artista 180. The company has finally entered the computer age.

 

2001

The year 2001: New functions, new possibilities

The year 2001: New functions, new possibilities

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.

 

2002

The year 2002: BERNINA and Microsoft Windows

The year 2002: BERNINA and Microsoft Windows

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.

 

2004

The year 2004: Non-stop innovation

The year 2004: Non-stop innovation

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.

 

2006

The year 2006: Progress is our policy, now and forever

The year 2006: Progress is our policy, now and forever

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.

 

2009

The year 2009: The greatest BERNINA of all time

The year 2009: The greatest BERNINA of all time

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.

The year 2009: The next innovation award

The year 2009: The next innovation award

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.

 

2011

The year 2011: A new look for BERNINA

The year 2011: A new look for BERNINA

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".

 

2012

The year 2012:  BERNINA 7 Series – Extended space for sewing, quilting and embroidering

The year 2012: BERNINA 7 Series – Extended space for sewing, quilting and embroidering

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.

The year 2012: BERNINA 9 Hook – unlimited creativity

The year 2012: BERNINA 9 Hook – unlimited creativity

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.

The year 2012: BERNINA DesignWorks Software Suite

The year 2012: BERNINA DesignWorks Software Suite

Creativity has three new dimensions: combine embroideries with CutWork, PaintWork, or CrystalWork. You'll be amazed at the magnificent effects you can achieve.

 

2013

The year 2013 - BERNINA 880

The year 2013 - BERNINA 880

The BERNINA 880 is our most sophisticated creation and leaves nothing to desire. Discover new stunning functions like the Stitch Designer or the Color Wheel.

The year 2013: BERNINA Embroidery Software 7

The year 2013: BERNINA Embroidery Software 7

Get creative turning embroidery dreams into reality with great new threedimensional (3D) features like PunchWork, StumpWork, Trapunto and Raised Satin. The new DesignerPlus Embroidery Software 7 includes a range of 3D effects for unique surface embellishments.

 

2014

The year 2014: BERNINA E 16

The year 2014: BERNINA E 16

BERNINA’s first multi-needle Embroidery machine. The BERNINA E 16 represents the latest in embroidery technology, delivering the highest quality stitching, ease of use and industrial durability.