From the Catalog of Smithsonian Photos: John Howe's pin-making invention showing both patent model and factory machine. Before 1840 Americans imported hand-made pins. Howe, a physician, invented a pin-making machine in 1832 and 1835. His invention made him wealthy. From "Engines of Change" an exhibit in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American history telling the story of the American Industrial Revolution. Smithsonian Photo by Eric Long.