from 1872 to 1878

Hamilton - Ontario

This company was started by two brothers, George and John F. Webster and with C. R. Smith as Secretary and Manager, operated from 1872 to 1878 in Hamilton, Ontario. At its peak it employed approximately 75 labourers.

The sewing machine to have been manufactured by the Canada Sewing Machine Company was the "Webster Patent Shuttle Sewing Machine".

First exhibited in 1872 at the Provincial Exhibition in Hamilton, the primary distinction of this machine was that it was constructed without gears or cams. The throat plate bears the following markings:

The Webster Patent June 29, 1872

Manufactured by the Canada Sewing Machine Company

Hamilton, Canada

This patent (CA 1.531) was issued to the Websters for "Webster's Improved Sewing Machine" which featured the following innovations:

1. a new and improved shuttle with fewer holes so the thread tension remains constant regardless how full the bobbin is.

2. Four-motion feed made with a much simpler mechanical device.

3. Face plate in two parts.

4. Stitch regulator at the base of the arm.


Another Patent for a Sewing Machine Treadle was

CA 2.126    March 7, 1873

Private collection
Private collection

"Webster's Patent Shuttle Sewing Machine" was popular in the early 1870s (height 16.5 cm, length 25.5 cm). Made by the Canada Sewing Machine Co.


Like most other sewing machine manufacturers, the Canada Sewing Machine Company displayed its wares at provincial and local fairs.

In 1873 at the Provincial Exhibition, ten different styles of the Webster machine were exhibited and to show off its capabilities a demonstrator stitched two thick pieces of sheet lead together for the audience.

At the 1876 Exhibition (?) the company held a draw, reportedly 1.142 women entered their names in the contest and gave away a free Webster machine.

In 1877 the company was advertising and selling in England a new model called Empress of India.

The Canada Sewing Machine Company did rather well financially, considering it was one of six Hamilton companies producing family machines.

In 1878 the company was bought by R.M. Wanzer & Company which shortly thereafter discontinued the Webster machine and expanded its factory on the site of the former Canada Sewing Machine Company works.


Empress of India

Shortened to King-Emperor or Queen-Empress, was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 to 22 June 1948. The Emperor/Empress's image was used to signify British authority; his/her profile, for instance, appearing on currency, in government buildings, railway stations, courts, on statues etc. "God Save the King" (or, alternatively, "God Save the Queen") was the former national anthem of British India. Oaths of allegiance were made to the Emperor/Empress and his/her lawful successors by the governors-general, princes, governors, commissioners in India in events such as Imperial Durbars.

The title was abolished on 22 June 1948 by the Indian Independence Act 1947 and George VI subsequently became King of the two new Dominions of India and Pakistan. The monarchies were abolished when George VI ceased to be head of the new Republic of India in 1950, after it became a constitutional republic and when Elizabeth II ceased to be head of the new Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956, after it became an Islamic republic.

1877 Advertisement
1877 Advertisement
Empress of India # 3.143 (between 1877 and 1878)
Empress of India # 3.143 (between 1877 and 1878)

The Empress of India possessed a patented shuttle. Machines were shipped to Canada Sewing Machine Company's European office and depot at 46 Wood Street, Liverpool where the manager was R. S. Daville, aboard the Steamship Caspian and other steamers. The Empress of India model was sold for £4, 4 s. in England, the same price as a Raymond Household in the 1880s.

The Empress of India was similar to the design of the Jones & Co. machine and the Jones was similar to The Kimball & Morton machine.

So now you know why I ask, who really did make the First Machine?

see ISMACS article


In addition to the Empress of India model, the company apparently also produced The Webster and Webster's Improved Sewing Machine.