American Sewing-Machine Companies of the 19th Century

 

During the latter half of the 19th century, there was a total of two hundred or more sewing-machine companies in the United States. Although a great many manufacturing-type machines were sold, this business was carried on by relatively few companies and most were primarily concerned with the family-type machines. A representative number of these family machines together with information concerning both the company and serial-number dating are found in figures 68 through 132. A great many of the companies were licensed by the “Combination,” but, in addition, some companies were constructing machines that did not infringe the patents, other companies infringed the patents but managed to avoid legal action, and there were numerous companies that mushroomed into existence after the “Combination” was dissolved in 1877. Most of the latter were very short-lived. It is difficult to establish the exact dates of some of these companies as many of their records were incomplete or have since disappeared; even a great many of the“Combination” records were lost by fire. A summary of the existing records kept by the “Combination” is given in figure 37.

As will be noted in the subsequent listing, only a small percentage of the companies were in business for a period longer than ten years; of those that continued longer, all but a few had disappeared by 1910. Today there are about sixty United States sewing-machine companies. Most of them manufacture highly specialized sewing machines used for specific types of commercial work; only a few produce family or home-style machines. Foreign competition has increased, and the high cost of skilled labor in this country has made competition in this consumer-product field increasingly difficult. The countless varieties of American family sewing machines, so evident in the 19th century, have passed away.

 

 

Sewing Machine Manufacturer or Company First Made or Earliest Record Discontinued or Last Record

Aetna

 

 

Aetna Sewing Machine Co., Lowell, Mass.

ca. 1867 ca. 1877

Aiken and Felthousen

——, Ithaca, N.Y. ca. 1855 before 1880

Alsop

—— ca. 1880
American

American Sewing Machine Co.

1854

American Buttonhole, Overseaming and Sewing Machine (fig. 68)

American Buttonhole, Overseaming and Sewing Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1869 ca. 1874

Later New American (fig. 69)

American Sewing Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pa. ca. 1874 ca. 1886
American Magnetic (fig. 70)

American Magnetic Sewing Machine Company, Ithaca, N.Y.

1853 1854

Atlantic (fig. 71)

——

1869

 

ca. 1870

 

 

Atwater (fig. 87)

——

1857

 

ca. 1860

 

Avery

Avery Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y.

1852 185-
Avery

Avery Manufacturing Co., New York, N.Y.

 

1875 1886-1900
A. Bartholf Manfr. A. Bartholf, manufacturer, New York, N.Y. ca. 1850 185-
Blodgett & Lerow patent 1849 (see also)
A. Bartholf Manfr. A. Bartholf, manufacturer, New York, N.Y. 1853 ca. 1856
Howe’s patent, 1846 (fig. 72)

Bartholf

A. Bartholf, manufacturer 1857

 

1859

 

  Bartholf Sewing Machine Co. 1859

 

 

ca. 1865

 

 

Bartlett (fig. 73)

 

Goodspeed & Wyman 1866 ca. 1870
 

Bartlett Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y.

 

ca. 1870 1872
Baker ——

 

before 1880

 

Bartram & Fanton (fig. 74)

Bartram & Fanton Mfg. Co., Danbury, Conn.

 

 

1867 1874

 Bay State

 

—— before 1880

Beckwith (fig. 75)

Barlow & Son, New York, N.Y.

 1871

 

1872

 

  Beckwith Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y. 1872 ca. 1876

Blees

Blees Sewing Machine Co.

1870

 1873

 

 

Blodgett & Lerow

O. Phelps, Boston, Mass.

1849

 1849

 

 

(fig. 21) Goddard, Rice & Co., Worcester, Mass. 1849 1850
(fig. 20) A. Bartholf, manufacturer, New York, N.Y. 1849 185-
Bond —— before 1880
Boston J. F. Paul & Co., Boston, Mass. 1880
Later New Boston Boston Sewing Machine Co., Boston, Mass. after 1886
Boudoir (fig. 76) Daniel Harris, inventor and patentee
Manufacturer—several
1857 ca. 1870
Bradford & Barber Bradford & Barber, manufacturers, Boston, Mass. 1860 1861
Brattleboro Samuel Barker and Thomas White, Brattleboro, Vt. ca. 1858 1861
Buckeye Wilson [W.G.] Sewing Machine Company, Cleveland, Ohio ca. 1867 ca. 1876
Later New Buckeye (fig. 77) (see Wilson)
Buell, “E. T. Lathbury’s Patent” A. B. Buell, Westmoreland, New York ca. 1860
Burnet & Broderick Burnet, Broderick and Co. 1859 ca. 1860
Centennial (fig. 78) Centennial Sewing Machine Co. (see McLean and Hooper), Philadelphia, Pa. 1873 1876
Chamberlain Woolridge, Keene and Moore, Lynn, Mass. 1853 ca. 1854
 
Chicago Singer Scates, Tryber & Sweetland Mfg. Co., Chicago, Ill. 1879 1882
Later Chicago Chicago Sewing Machine Co. 1882 ca. 1885
Chicopee      
(see Shaw & Clark)
Clark (fig. 42) D. W. Clark, Bridgeport, Conn. ca. 1858 after 1860
Clark’s Revolving Looper [double thread] (fig. 79) Lamson, Goodnow & Yale, Windsor, Vt. 1859 1861
(see Windsor)
Clinton Clinton Brothers, Ithaca, N.Y. ca. 1861 ca. 1865
Companion Thurston Mfg. Co., Marlboro, N.H. 1882
Crown Florence Sewing Machine Co., Florence, Mass. 1879 after 1886
(see Florence)
Dauntless (later New Dauntless) Dauntless Mfg. Co., Norwalk, Ohio 1877 after 1882
Davis J.A. Davis, New York, N.Y. ca. 1860
Davis Vertical Feed Davis Sewing Machine Co., Watertown, N.Y. 1869 after 1886
Davis Vertical Feed and Rotary Shuttle Davis Sewing Machine Co., Dayton, Ohio after 1886 1924
Decker (also The Princess) Decker Mfg. Co., Detroit, Mich. before 1881
Demorest Demorest Mfg. Co (formerly N.Y. Sewing Machine Co.) 1882 1908
Diamond (formerly Sigwalt) Sigwalt Sewing Machine Co., Chicago, Ill. 1880
Domestic Wm. A. Mack & Co. and N. S. Perkins, Norwalk, Ohio 1864 1869
Domestic Domestic Sewing Machine Co., Norwalk, Ohio, acquired by White Sewing Machine Co. in 1924 and maintained as a subsidiary at Cleveland, Ohio. 1869 [A]
Dorcas John P. Bowker, Boston, Mass. 1853 185-
Du Laney (fig. 80)      
Also called Little Monitor (see)      
Durgin Charles A. Durgin, New York, N.Y. 1853 after 1855
Eldredge Eldredge Sewing Machine Co., Chicago, Ill. 1869 1890
Elliptic      
Sloat’s Elliptic George B. Sloat and Co., Philadelphia, Pa. ca. 1858 ca. 1860
Sloat’s Elliptic Union Sewing Machine Co., Richmond, Va. 1860 1861
Elliptic Wheeler & Wilson Mfg. Co. 1861 ca. 1867
  Elliptic Sewing Machine Co., N.Y., N.Y. 1867 before 1880
Empire (fig. 86) Empire Sewing Machine Co., Boston, Mass. ca. 1860 1869
Later Remington-Empire
Empress Manufactured on order through Jerome B. Secor, Bridgeport, Conn. 1877
Estey Estey Sewing Machine Co. ca. 1880 1882
Estey, Fuller-Model Brattleboro Sewing Machine Co., Brattleboro, Vt. 1883 after 1886
Eureka (fig. 81) Eureka Shuttle Sewing New York, N.Y. 1859
Excelsior Excelsior Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y. 1854 1854
Fairy (figs. 51, 52) Madame Demorest, New York, N.Y. 1863 ca. 1865
Finkle, M. (fig. 82) M. Finkle, Boston, Mass. 1856 ca. 1859
Finkle & Lyon Finkle & Lyon Sewing Machine Co., Boston, Mass. ca. 1859 1867
Later Victor
First and Frost First and Frost, New York, N.Y. ca. 1859 ca. 1861
Florence (fig. 83) Florence Sewing Machine Co., Florence, Mass. ca. 1860 after 1878
Later Crown
Folsom Folsom, J. G., Winchendon, Mass. 1865 ca. 1871
(see Globe and New England)
Fosket and Savage Fosket and Savage, Meriden, Conn. 1858 1859
Foxboro Foxboro Rotary Shuttle Co., Foxboro, Mass. ca. 1882
Franklin Franklin Sewing Machine Co., Mason Village, N.H. 1871 1871
Free Free Sewing Machine Co., Chicago and Rockford, Ill. 1898 [A]
Gardner C. R. Gardner, Detroit, Mich. 1856
Globe (figs. 84, 85) J. G. Folsom, Winchendon, Mass. 1865 1869
Gold Medal (chainstitch) Gold Medal Sewing Machine Co., Orange, Mass. 1863 1876
Gold Medal (running stitch) —— 1863 ca. 1865
Gold Hibbard Hibbard, B. S., & Co. 1875
Goodbody (sewing shears) Goodbody Sewing Machine Co., Bridgeport, Conn. 1880 ca. 1890
Goodes Rex & Bockius, Philadelphia, Pa. ca. 1876 before 1881
Goodrich H. B. Goodrich, Chicago, Ill. ca. 1880 ca. 1895
Grant Brothers (fig. 90) Grant Bros. & Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1867 ca. 1870
Greenman and True (fig. 91) Greenman and True Mfg. Co. Norwich, Conn. 1859 1860
Morse and True 1860 1861
Green Mountain —— ca. 1860
Griswold Variety L. Griswold, New York, N.Y. ca. 1886 ca. 1890
Grover and Baker (figs. 34-36, 92) Grover and Baker Sewing Machine Co., Boston, Mass. 1851 1875
Hancock (figs. 93, 94) —— 1868 before 1881
Heberling Running Stitch John Heberling 1878 ca. 1885
Herron’s Patent (fig. 95) —— 1857
Higby Higby Sewing Machine Co., Brattleboro, Vt. ca. 1882 after 1886
Later Acme      
Home
Home Shuttle
Johnson, Clark & Co., Orange, Mass. 1869 after 1876
Homestead —— ca. 1881
Household Providence Tool Co., Providence, R.I. 1880 ca. 1884
Household Sewing Machine Co. ca. 1885 1906

Howe

(figs. 96, 97)

Howe Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y. 1853 1873
(company of A. B. Howe sold to Howe Machine Co.)    
Howe    (fig. 98) Howe Machine Co., Bridgeport, Conn. 1867 1886
Howe’s Improved Patent (fig. 107) Nichols and Bliss, Boston, Mass. 1852 1853
J. B. Nichols & Co. 1853 1854
which became Leavitt Nichols, Leavitt & Co., Boston, Mass. 1854 1856
N. Hunt, which became Hunt and Webster (figs. 99, 100) N. Hunt & Co., Boston, Mass. 1853 1854
Hunt and Webster, Boston, Mass. 1854 1857
Later Ladd and Webster (see)      
Improved Common Sense (fig. 102) —— ca. 1870
Independent Noiseless Independent Sewing Machine Co., Binghamton, N.Y. 1873
Jennie June June Mfg. Co., Chicago, Ill. 1881 1890
  Later Belvidere, Ill.    
Jewel Jewel Mfg. Co., Toledo, Ohio 1884 after 1886
Johnson (fig. 103) Emery, Houghton & Co., Boston, Mass. 1856 after 1865
Keystone Keystone Sewing Machine Co. before 1872 ca. 1874
Ladd & Webster (fig. 101) Ladd, Webster & Co., Boston, Mass. 1858 ca. 1866
Ladies Companion (fig. 115) —— 1858 ca. 1858
(see Pratt’s Patent)      
“Lady” (fig. 104) —— 1859
Landfear’s Patent (fig. 105) Parkers, Snow, Brooks & Co., West Meriden, Conn. 1857
Langdon L.W. Langdon 1856
Lathrop (fig. 106) Lathrop Combination Sewing Machine Co. 1873
Leader Leader Sewing Machine Co., Springfield, Mass. 1882
Leavitt (fig. 108) Nichols, Leavitt & Co., Boston, Mass. 1855 1857
  Leavitt & Co. 1857 ca. 1865
  Leavitt Sewing Machine Co. ca. 1865 1870
Leslie Revolving Shuttle Leslie Sewing Machine Co., Cleveland, Ohio 1881
Lester (fig. 109) J.H. Lester, Brooklyn, N.Y. ca. 1858 early 1860
  Lester Mfg. Co., Richmond, Va. early 1860 late 1860
  Union Sewing Machine Co., Richmond, Va. late 1860 1861
Little Gem —— ca. 1870
Little Giant Domestic Sewing Machine Co., Norwalk, Ohio ca. 1882
Little Monitor (not associated with Monitor) G.L. Du Laney, Brooklyn, N.Y. ca. 1866 after 1875
Love Love Mfg. Co., Pittsburgh, Pa. 1885 after 1886
Lyon Lyon Sewing Machine Co. 1879 ca. 1880
Macauley Thos. A. Macauley Mfg., New York, N.Y. before 1879
Manhattan Manhattan Sewing Machine Co. ca. 1868 ca. 1880
McKay McKay Sewing Machine Assoc. 1870 1876
McLean and Hooper B. W. Lacy & Co., Philadelphia, Pa. ca. 1869 ca. 1873
  (see Centennial)    
Meyers J. M. Meyers 1859
Miller’s Patent —— 1853
Monitor (fig. 88) Shaw & Clark Sewing Machine Co., Biddeford, Me. 1860 1864
Moore Moore Sewing Machine Co. ca. 1860
Morey & Johnson (fig. 18) Safford & Williams Makers, Boston, Mass. 1849 ca. 1851
Morrison Morrison, Wilkinson & Co., Hartford, Conn. 1881
Mower —— ca. 1863
National Johnson, Clark & Co., Orange, Mass. 1874
National (also sold under distributor’s name) National Sewing Machine Co. (consolidation of the June and Eldredge Companies), Belvidere, Ill. 1890 1953
Ne Plus Ultra (fig. 110) O. L. Reynolds Manufacturing Co., Dover, N.H. 1857
Nettleton & Raymond (fig. 111) Nettleton & Raymond, Brattleboro, Vt. ca. 1857
New England (figs. 112, 113) Charles Raymond (also by: ca. 1859 1866
  Grout & White, Orange, Mass.; 1862 1863
  William Grout, Winchendon, Mass.; 1863
  and J. G. Folsom, Winchendon, Mass.) 1865 1865
Newell —— 1881
New Fairbanks J. H. Drew & Co. 1878 1880
  Thomas M. Cochrane Co., Belleville, Ill. 1880
New Home New Home Sewing Machine Co., Orange, Mass. (in 1928 became affiliated with Free Sewing Machine Co.) 1876 [A]
New York ——, New York, N.Y. ca. 1855 ca. 1855
New York Shuttle N.Y. Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y. (later Demorest Mfg. Co.) before 1880 1882
Noble Noble Sewing Machine Co., Erie, Pa. before 1881 after 1886
Novelty C. A. French, Boston, Mass. 1869
Old Dominion Old Dominion Sewing Machine Co., Richmond, Va. ca. 1858 1860
Pardox —— ca. 1865
Parham Parham Sewing Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pa. ca. 1869 ca. 1871
Parker Charles Parker Co., Meriden, Conn. before 1860 after 1865
  Later Parker Sewing Machine Co.    
Pearl —— Bennett ca. 1859
Philadelphia Philadelphia Sewing Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pa. ca. 1872 ca. 1881
Post Combination Post Combination Sewing Machine Co., Washington, D.C. before 1885 after 1886
Pratt’s Patent (fig. 114) —— 1857 ca. 1858
Later Ladies Companion      
Queen Dauntless Mfg Co., Norwalk, Ohio ca. 1881
Quaker City (fig. 116) Quaker City Sewing Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1859 ca. 1861
Remington Empire
Later Remington
Remington Empire Sewing Machine Co. 1870 1872
  E. Remington & Sons, Philadelphia, Pa. 1873 ca. 1894
Robertson (dolphin & cherub) (figs. 40, 41) T. W. Robertson, New York, N.Y. 1855 after 1860
Robinson F. R. Robinson, Boston, Mass. 1853 ca. 1855
Robinson’s patent sewing machine with Roper’s improvement (fig. 117) Howard & Davis, Boston, Mass. 1855
Later Robinson and Roper (fig. 118) same 1856 before 1860
Royal St. John (formerly St. John) Royal Sewing Machine Co., Springfield, Ohio (later Free Co.) ca. 1883 1898
Ruddick —— ca. 1860
Secor Secor Machine Co., Bridgeport, Conn. 1870 1876
Sewing Shears (Hendrick’s patent) (fig. 43) Nettleton & Raymond, Bristol, Conn. ca. 1859
Sewing Shears American Hand Sewing Machine Co., Bridgeport, Conn. ca. 1884 ca. 1900
Shaw & Clark Shaw & Clark Co., Biddeford, Me. ca. 1857 1866
Running Stitch Machine (fig. 53)      
Chainstitch Machine (fig. 119)      
Chainstitch Machine (fig. 120) Shaw & Clark Co., Chicopee Falls, Mass. 1867 1868
  Chicopee Sewing Machine Co., Chicopee Falls, Mass. 1868 ca. 1869
Sigwalt Sigwalt Sewing Machine Co., Chicago, Ill. ca. 1879
Singer (figs. 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 121, 122) I. M. Singer & Co. (later Singer Mfg. Co.). Moved from Boston to New York to Elizabethport, N.J. (factory). 1851 [A]
Springfield Springfield Sewing Machine Co., Springfield, Mass. 1880
Standard (chainstitch) (fig. 123) —— 1870
Standard (shuttle) Standard Shuttle Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y. 1874 ca. 1881
Standard Standard Sewing Machine Co., Cleveland, Ohio (acquired by Singer Co.) 1884 ca. 1930
Stewart Henry Stewart & Co., N.Y., N.Y. 1874 1880
Later New Stewart Stewart Mfg Co. 1880 ca. 1883
St. John (later Royal St. John) St. John Sewing Machine Co., Springfield, O. 1870 ca. 1883
Taggart & Farr (figs. 124, 125) Taggart & Farr, Philadelphia, Pa. 1858
Thompson C. F. Thompson Co. 1871 1871
  T. C. Thompson, Ithaca, N.Y. ca. 1854
Union Johnson, Clark & Co., Orange, Mass. 1876
Victor Finkle & Lyon Mfg. Co. 1867 ca. 1872
  Victor Sewing Machine Co., Middletown, Conn. ca. 1872 ca. 1890
Wardwell Wardwell Mfg. Co., St. Louis, Mo. ca. 1876 1890
Watson (fig. 126) Jones & Lee 1850 ca. 1853
  Watson & Wooster, Bristol, Conn. ca. 1853 ca. 1860
Waterbury Waterbury Co., Waterbury, Conn. 1853 ca. 1860
Weed T. E. Weed & Co. (became Whitney & Lyons) 1854
Weed Weed Sewing Machine Co. (reorganized from Whitney & Lyons), Hartford, Conn. 1865
Family Favorite   1867
Manu. Favorite   1868
General Favorite   1872
Hartford   1881 ca. 1900
Wesson Farmer & Gardner Manufacturing Co. 1879 1880
  D. B. Wesson Sewing Machine Co., Springfield, Mass. 1880
West & Willson (fig. 127) West & Willson Co., Elyria, Ohio 1858
A. B. Wilson (fig. 23) E. E. Lee & Co., New York, N.Y. 1851 1852
A. B. Wilson’s patent seaming lathe Wheeler, Wilson, Co., Watertown, N.Y. late 1851 1856
Later Wheeler and Wilson (fig. 26, 27, 128, 129) Wheeler & Wilson Mfg.Co., Bridgeport, Conn. 1856 1905
  Wheeler and Wilson Singer Co., Bridgeport, Conn. 1905 1907
White (fig. 130) White Sewing Machine Co., Cleveland, Ohio 1876 [A]
Whitehill Whitehill Mfg. Co., Milwaukee, Wis. ca. 1875 after 1886
Whitney Whitney Sewing Machine Co., Paterson, N.J. ca. 1872 ca. 1880
Whitney & Lyons Whitney & Lyons (a machine based on the 1854 patent of T. E. Weed) ca. 1859 ca. 1865
Wickersham Butterfield & Stevens Mfg. Co., Boston, Mass. 1853
Willcox & Gibbs (figs. 39, 131) Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Co., New York, N.Y. 1857 [A]
Williams & Orvis Williams & Orvis Sewing Machine Co., Boston, Mass. ca. 1859 after 1860
Wilson (fig. 89) Wilson (W.G.) Sewing Machine Co., Cleveland, Ohio ca. 1867 after 1885
(see Buckeye)      
Windsor (one thread) Vermont Arms Co., Windsor, Vt. 1856 1858
Windsor Lamson, Goodnow & Yale, Windsor, Vt. 1859 1861
(see Clark’s Revolving Looper)      
Name Unknown John W. Beane 1853
Henry Brind 1860
Garfield Sewing Machine Co. 1881
Geneva Sewing Machine Co. 1880
Gove & Howard 1855
Charles W. Howland, Wilmington, Del. ca. 1860
Miles Greenwood & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio ca. 1861
Hood, Batelle & Co. 1854 1854
Wells & Haynes 1854 1854
Wilson H. Smith, Birmingham, Conn. ca. 1860

  

 

[A] Still in existence.

Produced by Chris Curnow, Joseph Cooper, Louise Pattison

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

UNITED STATES NATIONAL MUSEUM