My mother has an extensive antique and vintage clothing collection. One day while studying construction details I noticed that the entire skirt of a ladies suit (c1890) was serged! I realized I didn’t know when sergers were invented. A quick check on my phone dated the invention of sergers (or overlock machines) to 1881 and the patent dated to 1889. The machine was invented by Joseph Merrow and such machines are still made today by the company that bears his name.
We think the suit that led me to this information is one of the many which were offered ready to wear from catalogs back in the day. This suit is brown wool with a grosgrain ribbon trim. The overlock stitch used on it is a three thread stitch, but when I make my clothes I leave my serger with four threads. Makes me feel safer to have two seams!