DATING WILLCOX & GIBBS
From 1857 to the turn of the century, the style of the Willcox and Gibbs sewing machine changed very little (fig. 39). It was the most popular and the most reliable of the many chainstitch machines. In addition to the basic mechanical patents, Gibbs also patented the design of the sewing-machine head in 1860. In the specifications, he described it as an open ring set on a base or pedestal. The lower part of the open section supported the cloth plate. The design of the head, intentionally or not, formed a perfect letter G, the initial of the inventor. Later the machine head as a letter G was incorporated into the company’s trademark. Additional patents were also granted to James Willcox for a leg and treadle design and to Charles Willcox for mechanical improvements.
It has not been possible to secure information on records of serial numbers from the late 1870s through the 1920s to aid in dating machines of that period. For the preceding years, however, the machines may be dated approximately as follows:
Serial Number Year
Although the Willcox and Gibbs company is still in existence, for the past several decades the company has limited itself to the production of specialized manufacturing machines rather than family machines.
(Smithsonian photo 58986.)