In the early 1800s, clothing was made by hand, families sewed their pants, shirts, and dresses using a needle and thread. But in 1846 Elias Howe changed all that, he came up with another way to make clothes, he patented the first practical sewing machine. The sewing machine industry based on his original invention made possible the mass production of clothing on a much larger scale than had ever been possible with hand-stitching.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Sewing Machine price guide: sold listings for a value indication.