The Wheeler &. Wilson Company's
Whilst some makers of sewing machines are content to go on year after year supplying precisely the same article and never giving a thought to improvements, it is remarkable to observe the unbroken activity of the Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing Company. Here we have an instance of one of the earliest makers, with a record of triumphs almost without a parallel in the trade, ever on the alert to discover new principles to apply to plain and fancy stitching. Most firms possessing machines of such merit as this old-established company, would be tempted to rest upon the past, but not so the Wheeler and Wilson Company, who, figuratively speaking, appear to be always sighing for fresh worlds to conquer. Without the fear of contradiction, we can emphatically state that no makers of sewing machines have introduced so many real improvements in sewing mechanism, as the worthy company under notice. We do not propose in the present article to review all the novelties introduced by the company for the past few years, as we have referred to most of them on former occasions. What we intend to do is to refer to several inventions which have been brought to perfection by the Wheeler & Wilson Company only the past few months and are just being introduced to the trade. It is well known that the Wheeler & Wilson No. 1 , or curved needle machine, was their first production and their enviable reputation was mostly derived from its success. A few years since they brought out other machines, also on the hook principle, but of different shape and tried to supersede their curved needle machines by others of more recent invention; but they found that the public and manufacturers insisted upon the old and well-tried No. 1 and all their efforts to supplant it have failed. They then set themselves to work to see if any improvements were possible in their old favourite and the records of the British Patent Office bear testimony to no small measure of success. These improvements include a new cast-off and needle guard for the rotating hook, which will enable manufacturers to obtain a speed of about 2.000 stitches per minute, being an increase of about one-third. This will be good news to the underclothing, umbrella, shirt, and collar trades, which through out America and very largely in this country, use curved needle machines exclusively.
A British patent has also been taken out for an improvement to this company's No. 12 machine, which machine has met with remarkable success in the boot and shoe trade. The improvement consists in the use of one of the most ingenious devices we have ever examined. By its aid the presser foot is caused to vibrate, no matter what be the thickness of the material or whether or not there be seams. By very simple mechanism the vibrator can be thrown out of gear when not required. It is silent in use, owing to it being actuated by a cam in the driving wheel. Another improvement to the No. 12 is to fit it with a seam trimming attachment, by which the material is trimmed at the same time the seam is made, the cutters being adjustable to suit various widths.
Last year (1889) the Wheeler & Wilson Co. introduced a twin needle machine, which produced two rows of sewing simultaneously. This machine, called the No. 12 B, has been overhauled and a decided improvement introduced. Formerly there was a difference in the quality of the two rows of stitches, but this is not so with the new machine, the stitches being alike pearly in each row.
The new machine can be used for two distinct purpose viz., for back strapping and for vamping. In the latter case, special guides are used. The needles of this twin needle machine are so arranged that they can be shifted to allow of four distinct variations in the width of the rows of sewing. We have formerly referred to the Wheeler & Wilson zig-zag machine. It is now made in four styles, to produce one stitch, two stitches and three stitches in the traverse and fourthly, the company have a twin needle zig-zag machine which makes one stitch in the traverse and the parallel rows of sewing can be produced with different coloured threads and made to look very ornamental. These zig-zag machines turn out a great variety of fancy work, which must be seen to be fully appreciated. It is not generally known that the shirt and collar button-holes in use in America have differed from those made here, our manufacturers preferring those barred at each end. It was this difference in taste which at first stood in the way of the Wheeler & Wilson Co.’s buttonhole machine being a success in this country. The company, however, have completely won over the shirt and collar makers to their way of thinking that the American button-hole is the strongest. Having removed this prejudice, they were able to get a few machines into the shirt factories and now have a large number in use throughout the United Kingdom, giving the best possible satisfaction. The speed of these machines is extraordinary, viz., from 3.500 to 4.000 button-holes per day, varying according to the skill of the operator. This machine is absolutely automatic in action, the cutter doing its work entirely independent of the operator. The makers are now introducing a special stand to enable the machine to be worked by foot power. Not content with the foregoing catalogue of improvements, the Wheeler & Wilson Co. have two or three more novelties almost ready for the market and to which, we hope to refer in the course of a month or two.
The Sewing Machine Gazette (February 1890)