The History Of Elna

Elna Sewing Machines is a Swiss brand that has been a household name in the sewing industry for over 80 years. Founded in Geneva in 1940, Elna quickly established itself as a leading manufacturer of high-quality sewing machines that were designed to meet the needs of both amateur and professional sewers.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Elna continued to innovate and improve its sewing machines, introducing new models that were designed to meet the changing needs of sewers. In 1952, the company launched the Elna Supermatic, which was the first sewing machine to feature automatic buttonholing.

The company's founder, Dr. Ramon Casas, was a Spanish engineer who had previously worked for the Swiss watchmaker, Rolex. He saw an opportunity to apply his expertise in precision engineering to the sewing machine industry, which was then dominated by bulky and unwieldy machines that were difficult to use.

Elna also pioneered the use of computer technology in sewing machines, introducing the Elna Carina in 1978, which was the first sewing machine to be controlled by a microchip. This technology allowed sewers to create more complex and intricate designs with greater precision and accuracy.

Dr. Casas set out to design a machine that was not only smaller and lighter but also more user-friendly and versatile. He incorporated a number of innovative features into the design, including a free-arm mechanism, a tension control system, and a zigzag stitch that could be adjusted in width and length.

Over the years, Elna has continued to evolve and expand its product line, offering a wide range of sewing machines and accessories that cater to a variety of sewing needs. The company's commitment to quality and innovation has earned it a loyal following among sewers around the world.

The first Elna sewing machine, the Elna #1, was introduced in 1940 and quickly gained a reputation for its exceptional performance and durability. It was also notable for its elegant and compact design, which made it a popular choice among fashion-conscious sewers.

Today, Elna is part of the Janome Group, a leading global manufacturer of sewing machines and related products. Despite the changes in ownership, Elna has maintained its commitment to quality and innovation, and continues to be a trusted and respected name in the sewing industry.

Elna Through The Years

  • 1940 Elna #1 - the first portable, free-arm sewing machine with electronic motor and built-in light, The carrying case also served as a sewing table. Invented by Ramon Casas, this machine constituted a revolution in the field of household sewing machines.
  • 1952 Supermatic - another revolutionary concept as the first domestic sewing machine with fully automatic stitches. Interchangeable cams controlled the sideways movement of the needle as well as the forward and reverse feed of the fabric.
  • 1963 First overlock stitch on a home sewing machine.
  • 1964 Star Series - the first electronic sewing machines, offering new features including built-in and interchangeable utility and decorative stitches as well as an automatic buttonhole.
  • 1968 Lotus - a truly innovative concept. The first compact household sewing machine due to its reduced size and weight. The protection flaps replaced the carrying case and formed a sewing table when opened. The accessory case was built into the top of the machine. Selected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for its "Design Collection".
  • 1972 Elna is chosen as the Official Sewing Machine of the Olympic Games in Munich.
  • 1973 Introduction of the Elnapress, a professional pressing system for the home.
  • 1976 Double overlock stitch.
  • 1978 Air Electronic - first sewing machine with electronics operated by a pneumatic foot control.
  • 1980 Elna Stella - retained the advantages of the Elna Lotus while improving on its design and added new features for sewing comfort. Electronics became an integral part of these new machines.
  • 1982 Carina - first sewing machine to use super overlock stitch on all types of fabrics.
  • 1985 Elna 5000 - first Swiss sewing machine with an electronic memory and first machine in computer range.
  • 1986 First Elna overlocks introduced, featuring one revolution tension dials, recessed movable cutter with lockable blade system, marked adjustable pressure control, sliding thread guide for lower looper.
  • 1987 Elna 7000 introduces updatable stitch package through use of cassettes.
  • 1987 Elnalock L-5 - first portable 5-thread domestic overlock, 2-needle, 2/3/4/5 thread machine.
  • 1988 First ironing press with a built-in sleeveboard.
  • 1989 Elna 9000 computerized sewing machine introduced - with 7mm stitch width, face to face and mirror image, multiplication key, 6 memories.
  • 1991 Elna PRO 5 DC - first computerized domestic overlock, with exclusive electronic speed reducer.
  • 1992 Elna Diva - the sewing machine that can do it all with 370 stitches, 7 buttonholes, alphabets, monograms.
  • 1994 PRO 905 DCX and 904 DCX - first overlocks with computer controlled tensions and expandable programming with exclusive PRO Card system. 905 is first domestic overlock to offer a cover hem..
  • 1994 Elna 9006 computerized embroidery sewing machine, offering traditional sewing type stitches as well as automated hoop embroidery. EnVision Cards provide additional embroidery designs.
  • 1996 Elna 925 DCX - first domestic overlock to offer three variations of the cover hem, including triple cover hem.
  • 1998 EnVision software program introduced, compatible with home computer and Elna CE 20 and 8006 sewing machines.
  • 1999 Elna introduces the 945 overlock - the extensive memory allows the sewer to have up to 48 built-in programs.
  • 2001 Opal press introduced - with first digital LED temperature panel
  • 2001 Xquisit - computerized sewing/embroidery machine with fully automated threading from spool pin to needle and automated bobbin winding for embroidery
  • 2001 Xpressive software - semi-professional embroidery software for Xquisit sewing/embroidery machine
  • 2002 686 overlock with built-in 2 thread converter, built-in reference cards and automatic tension release
  • 2004 7200 Quilter's Dream PRO computerized sewing machine includes industrial features
  • speed and a long sewing arm - along with home sewing features - a versatile stitch package and knee lifter
  • 2004 6600 Quilter's Dream 2 computerized sewing machine offers innovative side storage with tilt-forward compartments
  • 2005 8200 Xperience - Elna's first embroidery only machine
  • 2005 Xchange - multi access converter box reads and writes embroidery designs in most home formats
  • 2007 The Elna 9900 : for the first time in Elna's range a semi-professional embroidery machine with four needles.
  • 2007 Digitizer EX, the professional embroidery software for design and embroidery passionates.
  • 2008 The Elna 434 : a machine for cover hem. It is an ideal addition to an overlock machine and ensures a perfect control over modern, synthetic or stretch fabrics, as well as basic fabrics.
  • 2010 Elna celebrates its 70th anniversary with a special edition of the Elna 6200.
  • 2010 Elna 9600 Haute Couture, a sewing, embroidery and quilting machine. With a direct connexion to your computer, you can download your own beautiful creations.
  • 2011 The Elna eXcellence 740, an automatic sewing machine with an extra long free arm of 28cm and a large working space.
  • 2011 Elna celebrates its 40th anniversary and launches a new range of three new models : Elnapress 720, 520 and 320 with a dedicated website :
  • 2012 Elna updates its greatest classic and launches the new Elna Lotus. A compact sewing machine, with the easiest use ever and a new concept of simplicity. The Lotus spirit - -
  • 2012 The eXcellence 730 and 760. Ideal automatic sewing machines for patchwork and quilting passionates. These two machines offer a maximum sewing width of 9mm for large decorative or utility stitches.