For information about the history of the Letter "S" and Family No. 1 click on the title above.
All material copyright David G. Best 2002 - 2017 All Rights Reserved.
This machine dates to late 1890 or early 1891. The gold decals have survived well and are in very good condition. The Nickel plating on the slide plates has worn with the brass base metal showing through. The other bright work showed signs of corrosion but has cleaned up nicely.
What is particularly interesting is the unusual centre decal which is in the form of a Heraldic shield supported by two owls with a third on top. The shield has 3 stars and a hanging sheep below. Beneath is the motto "Pro Rege et Lege" which translates to "For King & the Law".
The Coat of Arms belongs to the City of Leeds, why this should appear on the machine is not clear however an International Exhibition was held in Leeds in 1890 and this Coat of Arms appears on the prize medals so was it an attempt to impress the judges!
Jill & Shane Ross kindly donated this machine to our collection and Chris Dyer identified the Coat of Arms and translated the motto. Our thanks to all concerned.
This machine was sold through Bradbury's Cardiff agent Henry Thomas, not only is the machine badged for him but it came with it's original manual and a receipt dated 31st July 1891.
The machine is well worn but the centre decal is largely intact (see close up below). This machine has the Jappaned balance wheel.
The receipt refers to the machine being a Plain Family Hand sewing machine with stand, sadly the stand has long since been lost but the machine would have sat on top of the table like the later combination machines.
The centre decal is slightly worse for wear but has a inter-twined TH in the centre with the words Manufactured For Henry Thomas Cardiff round the outside.
The earliest mention of Henry Thomas we have found is from 1867 with an address of 1 St John's Street Cardiff in 1874 he moved to the New Sewing Machine Depot, 2 Working Street, Cardiff, and shortly afterwards took the St John's Church Square premises. By late 1893 A. W. Spencer was advertising as successor to Henry Thomas and continued as Bradbury's agent from the St John's Church Square premises until at least 1905.
A slightly later version of the Family machine probably dating to 1895. This example has very fine gold decals which are in good condition.
The machine came complete with its original manual which refers to the machine being the "Family Machine". The last medal date in the manual is 1890.
Bradbury's Low Arm Family.
This machine dates to around 1900, the name Bradbury's Family is now on the arm and the decals although worn are clearly blue and gold in a design usually associated with the High Arm Family machine.
The blue and gold decal as it appears on the top of the arm.
Bradbury Family No.1
Although there is no company Trade Mark either on the bed or on the pillar the design of the bobbin winder confirms it is a Bradbury and the serial number dates it to the 1880's, but all is not what it seems.
The machine has infact been refinished - not by some missguided collector but the work was professionally done when sewing machines were in short supply just after World War Two. The original finish has been stripped and the machine rejappaned and new decals applied.
On the centre bed is a shield confirming it was refurbished by "R Weeks & Sons Bideford" which is in Devon. The location of the serial number was covered when the machine was re-japanned but on this model it is repeated on the crank beneath the machine.
INDEX of BRADBURY PHOTOGRAPHS
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