Willcox and Gibbs: Serial No. 158679.
The Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Company was founded in 1857 by James E. A. Gibbs and James Willcox and opened its London Office in 1859 at 135 Regent Street . By 1871 the Company's Chief Office for Europe was at 150 Cheapside, London, this office was later moved (post 1885) to 94 - 96 Wigmore Street, then 37 & 39 Moorgate Street (by 1891 to post 1907) and later 20 Fore Street, London .
Right from the initial production the manufacturing of the Company's single thread, chain stitch machine was undertaken by Brown & Sharpe, Rhode Island and this continued up until 1948.
A special hand crank mechanism was produced in England for the European market, but the general design of the Willcox & Gibbs remained essentially the same throughout its production. The only major improvement was in 1875 when the glass tension discs were replaced with an automatic tension device which ensured the machine could not get out of adjustment.
In addition to the domestic hand and treadle machines the company produced a wide range of industrial models.
The Company finally closed in 1973.
This Willcox & Gibbs came complete with its wooden carry case. The machine was made in America in the late 1860's but it has the ornate hand crank produced at Coalbrookdale near Telford, England which was, in Victorian times, renown for producing high quality ornate iron castings. This machine has the glass tension discs which were used on domestic models until 1875. The Willcox & Gibbs badge is located on the rear of the base casting and it also has a deep wooden base.
The cloth plate has various American patent dates, four dating between 1857 & 1860 relating to J. E. A. Gibbs, three dating between 1860 & 1864 relating to Chas H. Willcox (son of James Willcox), the machine was also licensed under five other patents including the infamous Elias Howe patent of 1846.
There are only two English patents one for J. E. A Gibbs and the other for James Willcox.
Willcox and Gibbs: Serial No. A539298.
This Willcox & Gibbs came complete with its wooden carry case which is shown on the Cases and Bases Page.
It was made in America in 1903 and has the less ornate but still elegant hand crank produced for the European market. The cloth plate has a stitch length indicator as well as various patent dates for both the U.S.A. and Great Britain the last of which is 1894. Note the automatic tension device just below the shaft of the bobbin holder.
See also Willcox & Gibbs Principle machine