WILLCOX & GIBBS - Fiddlebase
DATING WILLCOX & GIBBS. From to the turn of the century, the style of the Willcox and Gibbs sewing machine changed very little (fig. 39). It was the most. New Listingvintage willcox & gibbs sewing machine w/case. Very dood working . Antique Willcox and Gibbs sewing machine pat. date Good condition. The Willcox and Gibbs Sewing Machine Co. (New York) was formed in by James Willcox and his son Charles, of Philadelphia and James E.A. Gibbs of.
The orders then went up to 1, then 10, Profits soon started to roll in. One cannot but admire the beauty and accuracy of the machine's movements, and the entire absence of all noise, even when it is running at the rate of two-thousand stitches and upwards per minute. It was these points that were later to produce the wonderful machine collectors seek today.
Also their training schemes were so good that unskilled apprentices were enrolled and slowly taught their skills over a training period of five years. The adjustment of the needle is an important feature and often falls to untrained women and children employed as machinists to try and accomplish this.
It has long be desired to accomplish this by an automatic action, without failure and with no need of skill. Among those who worked on Willcox and Gibbs machines at the Brown and Sharpe factory was one Henry Leland who was in charge of the sewing-machine assembly department from until See a little note of interest I have added at the bottom about Henry Leland.
And so inthe company had finally began the manufacture of a chainstitch sewing machine which gained popularity at once. Half the price, half the size and half the threading. Incidentally that was double what Richard Mott Wanzer would later sell his Little Wanzer lockstitch for.
Don't forget the weekly wage was little more than a few dollars in The machines were a great success as they were cheaper than the competitors and generally regarded as the most reliable of any single thread or chainstitch machines. Gibbs advertised his machines as having an elastic chain stitch and they certainly handled many different fabrics with ease.
Early Machines have a wealth of patent info on them. This one is very unusual as having an date. In fact there are five pre dates! Once all these patents expired it was no longer necessary to have them on the plates. And then inthe brainwave of all sewing machine brainwaves, an automatic tension.
The only sewing machine in the world without a tension. This was truly mass production on a superb quality and scale. Their machines were much lighter and smoother than the competitions and were ideal for such difficult tasks as hat making. Offering Free trials at home was another stroke of genius as no one would want to give a machine back once they had used it.
The Automatic No Tension Sewing Machine possesses features and advantages which make it the most valuable sewing machine in the world. It is superior and in advance of every other machine.
Sewing Machine Pages - Willcox and Gibbs Chainstitch Machines
It is the only sewing machine in the world without a tension. Ladies careful of health should have no other. Let us go back a little and look at exports in the early years of the company. The wood base was also added.
Due to the weight of shipping the machines to Europe and England, the firm had special hand wheels cast, originally in Coalbrookdale, England, been there it's great.
These hand wheel or hand crank versions were completely different to the large cast iron treadle ones that sold in the States and have proved a great favourite with collectors. Coalbrookdale Coalbrookdale has been referred to as the one of the most extraordinary places in the world.
It was where the industrial revolution all started in the 18th century. A steep valley with the fast flowing River Severn cutting through its middle it was the perfect place. It had all the mineral resources in abundance and pioneers like Abraham Darby and Thomas Telford concocted their magical potions. They made miracles come true and changed our world forever. Early Coalbrookdale iron and steel is highly collectible today. Ladies spending a few weeks at the seaside or in the country, or when travelling find the compact hand machine a great convenience.
Only the Coalbrookdale hand cranks had these special markings. If one thread will do, why bother with two, To break, to confuse, and to tangle?
There is not a sound when my looper goes round, No shuttles or bobbins to jangle. I am quick, yet I make not a single mistake, You have only to keep me a-going. But do all the family sewing. All have confessed, that I am best For fine robes for dear baby I prepare; While the boisterous boy will fail to destroy My work with the roughest of Wear.
In Britain, orders we initially taken by a Miss Headdon of Fleet Street as can be seen from the advert below. In they moved to larger more prominent premises at Regent's Street, London. They must have all known each other and been in competition with each other.
Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Sewing Machines
Unfortunately after just a few weeks into service in the cavalry he contracted typhoid and then pneumonia and was sent home to recover. After recovering James bought up his old home and acres surrounding it in Rockbridge County and rejoined the Confederate Army, this time as a lieutenant in the Ordinance Department. In Virginia Valley he oversaw the manufacture of Saltpetre, but as the war spread to his valley, his home, and his works were laid waste by the Union Army.
James and his men escaped and on 5 June they fought as a unit in the battle of Piedmont in Augusta County. Here he once again came up against his old foe Major General David Hunter, the very same man who had laid waste to his Saltpetre Works and his home. The battle was a disaster for the Confederates. The Confederate leader, Brigadier General William "Grumble" Jones was killed in a charge during the engagement and the Confederates were routed with appalling casualties, which only came to an end with a spirited rearguard action by the retreating Confederates near the Village of New Hope.
As the war finally came to a close, James Gibbs was a ruined man, his Confederate uniform was in tatters and his home a wasteland. I suspect that some of the "straw hat" machines are still working hard for a living The early machines had a "glass" tension unit, which is adjusted in the usual way with a nut.
Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Sewing Machine
Later machines had a most ingenious and easy-to-use Automatic Tension, and the serial numbers on these are usually prefaced with the letter "A" The machine above is my own Automatic, and still works beautifully, as you will see below For a good article and links on the history of these machines, try HERE for more information And Google It's important to match the stitch length to the weight of the thread and needle for the most even results. A heavy thread needs a thicker needle, and will prefer a longer stitch.
Underneath, the stitch is chained, as there is only one thread. This has the disadvantage that the whole seam can be unravelled by pulling one end unless it is finished off properly. Some later 60s Singers had additional widgets to make a chainstitch for this purpose.
How Many, and When?
None work terribly efficiently. The chained seam is also slightly more elastic, so that a curved seam is stronger in use.
And no bobbins to wind. These do use slightly more thread per inch of sewingServiced Rewired Antique Electric Willcox & Gibbs W&G Chain Stitch Sewing Machine A681271