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Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Co: (New York) The partnership of James Willcox and his son, Charles, of Philadelphia and James E.A. Gibbs, formed in 1857 to make the first practical single-thread chain-stitch machine for domestic use, as patented by Gibbs in 1856 and 1857. The actual manufacturing was undertaken by J.R. Sharp & Brown, who continued to make the components until 1948, when Willcox & Gibbs undertook all aspects of production. Their first office was opened in 1859 at 658 Broadway, New York.

In 1867, London offices were opened at 135 Regent St; the English company of Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Co. Ltd. was founded in 1908. Prices in England in 1867 ranged from 8 pounds to 15 pounds. All machine heads were built in the USA, but handwheels and wheel mountings were made in England by such founders as the Coalbrookdale Co. in Shropshire; the Coalbrookdale brackets carry a registration mark for 1869. After the Second World War, manufacture of industrial machines was begun in England.

In 1875 the "Silent Automatic" was introduced, with an automatic device adapting itself to various thickness of fabric. Between 1878 and 1884, the company marketed the "Straw" machine, the "Bag" machine, and the "Handstitch" machines, all for industrial use. In 1889 a two-thread "Overlock" machine was introduced, capable of 3000 stitches a minute. In 1889, the first "Willcox and Gibbs" lock-stitch machine was marketed. In 1912, the "Flatlock" for seaming knitted underwear was introduced, followed in the 20's by the "Feldlock" for seaming tubular articles.

 

  
Willcox & Gibbs Manufacturing Dates

 
1857
1858
1859
1860
1861
1862
1863
1864
1865
1866
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871
1872
1873
1874
1875
1876
1877 - 1904
1905 - 1906
1907 - 1908
1909 - 1911
1912 - 1913
1913 - 1914
1915 - 1916
1917 - 1921
1- 10,000
10,000 - 20,000
20,000 - 30,000
30,000 - 40,000
40,001 - 50,000
50,001 - 60,000
60,001 - 70,000
70,001 - 80,000
80,001 - 90,000
90,001 - 100,000
100,001 - 115,000
115,001 - 130,000
130,001 - 145,000
145,001 - 160,000
160,001 - 190,127
190,128 - 223,766
223,767 - 239,647
239,648 - 253,357
253,358 - 267,879

279,638 - 540,000
540,001 - 550,000
550,001 - 560,000
560,001 - 570,000
570,001 - 580,000
580,001 - 590,000
590,001 - 650,000
650,001 - 660,000
Another source for dates of Willcox & Gibbs machines can be found at www.needlebar.com

Home
Invention of the Sewing Machine ~ Canadian Sewing Machine Manufacturers
Sewing Machine Values ~ Singer Dates ~ Willcox & Gibbs Dates ~ Needle Threading
Shuttle Identification ~ Common Problems ~ Why Make Quilts? ~ Sewing With Children
Packing a Sewing Machine ~ Paint a Featherweight ~ Favorites and Links

 

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