Charles & William Harwood
1852 - 1875
Thomas sewing machines were manufactured in Birmingham by Charles & William Harwood, who were die and press-tool makers at 54 New Summer Street. As trade increased premises were acquired in Lower Loveday Street, which became know as the Britannia Foundry.
During the 1870's sewing machine making was a competitive trade, a lengthy list of sewing machine makers, although a fair proportion were agents and suppliers for machines produced elsewhere and works closures and bankruptcies were regular events within the industry.
Charles and William Hardwood faced similar problems. They transferred their business to 101 Newtown Row, where Thomas machines were continued to be made but which quickly in financial trouble and suffered liquidation in 1875.
The factory was then taken over by William Frederick Thomas & Co., who continued sewing machine making there until about 1884.
...The machines were manufactured for Messrs. W. F. Thomas & Co., by two brothers of the name of Harwood, Charles & William, at Birmingham, practical men fully conversant with the use of the file and the turning tool, but knowing nothing of jigs and milling machines, of spiral and four-spindled drills. They made the machines, and made them well ; trade increasing and high prices continuing they speedily became substantial themselves, and were enabled to erect and fit up a large factory in the Aston Road, known as the London Machine Works...
William Newton Wilson (Jan. 1892)