Wheeler, Wilson & Co.


Factory : Watertown  1851-1853

Office   265 Broadway,  N.Y.  1853


Wheeler & Wilson Mfg Co.


Factory :  Watertown     1853-1856

                                               Bridgeport      1856-1905

Office and Warerooms  343 Broadway,  N.Y.     1854-1857

                                                        625 Broadway,  N.Y.



In 1848 Mr. Wheeler joined the firm Warren & Woodruff of Watertown, Connecticut, under the name of Warren, Woodruff & Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler took the full charge. With such success he was seeking other branches of work to add when he was by accident introduced to the sewing machine invention.

In 1850 the inventor and manufacturer, Nathaniel Wheeler, made the acquaintance of Allen Benjamin Wilson, who was engaged in perfecting a prototype for a reciprocating shuttle machine but needed aid in patenting his invention and introducing it to the public. Allen B. Wilson induced Mr. Wheeler to join in that enterprise. A second reciprocating shuttle sewing machine was made and Wilson's  first patent, US 7.776, was granted on November 12, 1850


The Warren, Woodruff & Wheeler Co. contracted E. Lee & Co. of New York, a company who were the principal owners of the Wilson's patent to build 500 machines of the "Wilson first patent shuttle sewing machine".



Mr. Wilson, meanwhile, assisted by Joseph Wheeler, brother of Nathaniel, well remembered as one of Watertown's mechanical geniuses, perfected his rotary hook machine, which was patented in 1851 and improved and patented again in 1852.

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In August 121851 Allen Benjamin Wilson applied for a second patent, US 8.296 and a partnership was formed by Alanson Warren, Nathaniel Wheeler, George P. Woodruff and Allen B. Wilson, with a capital stock of about $80.000, under the firm name of Wheeler, Wilson & Co. It is said that Mr. Warren at that time remarked to his son that he would probably live to see the day when they would make and sell 25 machines per day.



In 1852, in order to avoid patent litigation that the reciprocating shuttle might have caused, Allen B. Wilson developed his third unique invention, the stationary bobbin, patent US 9.041, issued on June 15, 1852 , assignor to Nathaniel Wheeler, Allen B. Wilson, Alanson Warren and George P. Woodruff.


In October 5, 1853 the company was reorganized as the Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing Company, with a capital stock of $160.000, Alanson Warren being chosen president and George P. Woodruff, secretary.


In 1854, Allen Benjamin Wilson patented his four-motion feed, which the sewing machines of other inventors were forced to adopt. (US 12.116December 191854) Assignor to W. P. N. Fitzgerald.



In 1856, the company moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut and became the largest and most successful manufacturer of sewing machines in the 1850s and 1860s.

picture from ISMACS
picture from ISMACS

In 1861, the company Wheeler & Wilson introduced the famous glass presser foot, patent US 31.604 issued on March 5 of that year by J.  Little  Hyde. The presser foot was made of metal but shaped like an open, into which was slid a small glass plate, with a hole for the needle descent. The glass allowed the seamstress to observe the stitching and to produce very close-edge stitching. It remained a favorite of many women for years.



In 1872 the Wheeler & Wilson Company introduced a new hook, forming an improvement upon Wilson's original device.

In 1874 to Allen Benjamin Wilson was denied by Congress his petition for a second extension of his patents and his patents expired.  




In 1876, the new W&W No. 8 machine was introduced and a new series of serial numbers was initiated.

1870-2 - 625 BROADWAY
1870-2 - 625 BROADWAY



An interesting reading not to be missed