The Smocking pleater was invented by Mrs. Read's husband in South Africa during the late 1940's to assist in his wife's smocking venture. He was a very ingenious man. Since then we've had two other innovators, Lord Stanley (Mr. Read's son-in-law) who invented the first 24 row pleater that worked and Jerry Konistra of Australia who took the 24 row pleater to another level by changing the traditional metal plates and screws that hold the front roller bar ( and needles) in place and adding side pins as well as enlarging the handle bars to accommodate thicker pieces of fabric such as corduroy.In the 1950's Grace Knott, a Canadian, pioneered the smocking movement as it is known today. She promoted the technique known as English Smocking, which differs from the American style, in that you make up the pleats first and then do the embroidery stitches. The effect is basically the same but the look is much different. Around this same time, the smocking pleater, invented in South Africa in the 1950's by Read Company, became readily available to the American and Canadian public through Grace's company - Grace Knott Smocking.The 1980's saw the growth of Smocking Guilds around the world.