To better understand the development of Frister & Rossmann sewing machines, it's important to know the development of Americans sewing machines. Although the F&R sewing machines were fine made and good quality, they were still copy of Americans sewing machines.




Picture from Wolfegang's Collectibles and Chuck Oslakovic
Picture from Wolfegang's Collectibles and Chuck Oslakovic
















The earliest Vibrating Shuttle (VS) sewing machine manufactured by             Domestic S.M. Co.  from 1863-1870's was much more modern than its competitors and was the first true "high arm" machine. 

Picture of Donna Kohler
Picture of Donna Kohler



Picture from  NeedleBar
Picture from NeedleBar

Singer patented and start to produce in the USA, a new sewing machine, the New Family 12. In Europe it was markets in the next year and was later made at Kilbowie in Scotland as well as Elizabeth Port New Jersey, USA .The letter K was add to those machine made in Kilbowie. The New Family sewing machine also became known as the Fiddlebase due to the fiddle-shape of the bed. From this machine almost every manufacturer copied this transverse shuttle system and other innovations .


It is widely reported in various texts about early sewing machines, that Singer's New Family or Model 12 machine began to be produced in 1865. New evidence presented here shows that this is incorrect and it is now known that the first Model 12s were produced in 1863. 





    Frister & Rossmann advertises their first sewing     machine based on the Wheeler & Wilson System.

1865 Advertise
1865 Advertise




1870 Advertise
1870 Advertise

Frister & Rossmann possibly start to produce a copy of Singer New Family . We are not sure if those machines were made under Combination's License.




FB-1  s/n  158.167 # 18.167
FB-1 s/n 158.167 # 18.167




With the end of the"COMBINATION", the fundamental features of the sewing machine were no longer controlled by anyone. Open competition by the smaller manufacturers was possible, and a slight reduction in price followed. Many new companies came into being--some destined to be very short-lived. In the period immediately following the termination of the "Combination," however, only a few improvements of any importance were made, and most of these were by the member companies.




Picture from NeedleBar
Picture from NeedleBar




Singer made the Improved Family model 15. This model was the longest manufactured machine in sewing machine history, it was just about perfect.




The Dutch Sewing Machine Trade

We have received from all parts of England and the Continent congratulatory letters, many of which we should have inserted had we been hard up for            " matter," which, however, we have never been. We give a few extracts, however, from a most interesting letter from Rotterdam received a day or two before Christmas :

I cannot help remarking that English manufacturers seem to absolutely neglect our market. Is it because they have sufficient to do elsewhere, or is the country too small in their estimation ? There is perhaps one reason, i.e., that foreign—I mean English and American —manufacturers do not apply themselves to the construction of nice-looking hand sewing machines, and cannot, consequently, compete with the German makers, as far as outward appearance is concerned. And yet, this is now-a-days a great factor in our trade, especially when treating with private customers, who believe in the good qualities which the dealer claims for his machines, but feel rather inclined to buy a good machine, which looks nice and pretty at the same time. That is the reason why some machines, which have such great success in all parts of the world, do not sell here, because they look uglv by the side of the German Singers of Pfaff, Frister and Rossman, Seidel and Nauman, and many others.

Several German manufacturers are now introducing new high-arm machines, retaining the Singer form, but with woodwork in- the American style. They are very nice and good machines.

an extract from the Sewing Machine News

Although the German sewing machine industry seemingly continued to produce machines that were technically out of date, new developments did take place, perhaps most importantly was the introduction of the family High Arm or TS machine. This machine was designed using a transverse shuttle mechanism combined with a high arm which had first been seen on American made machines such as the Domestic.

So successful was the German High Arm Family machine that several British manufacturers copied the design and even Singer eventually developed its 48K to compete with the highly decorated German machines




Picture from  NeedleBar
Picture from NeedleBar

Singer introduce a new machine call Vibrating Shuttle. Two years later, it evolved into the improved "Vibrating Shuttle 2", later 27 & 28 (eventually 127 & 128), designed purely for the home use. Frister & Rossmann had to wait about 14 years to market in England it's own model.



F&R introduced their first High Arm (TS) sewing machine.

TS-48-1 s/n 562.421  c. 1888
TS-48-1 s/n 562.421 c. 1888

It tooks some time to F&R to make some improvements such the bobbin winder and other mechanism. F&R send out a great number of attachments with their Singer System machines and respecting two improvements they have made on the original Singer machine, one is for getting the shuttle out of the carrier when the bobbin required to be filled . In the original Singer (that is to say, the Singer Company's Family and Medium machines) to get the shuttle out, the operator as a rule lifts is by the thread guide, which is often puled off on the account or it is prized out with a pair of scissors inserted under the heel. In the F&R machines the shuttle is made to fly out by simply pressing a stud. The Singer Company have not adopted some such plan at the end of 1887. The other improvement is , when the presser foot is raised from the work, the upper cotton is released from between the tension discs, so that the work can be easily pulled out without having to pull the cotton down, as it is necessary to do on the SINGER & Co.'s machines.



F&R ended the production of Low Arm (FB) sewing machines.

In the same time a second type of High Arm (TS) was made.

TS 1   s/n   573.493 #  321493
TS 1 s/n 573.493 # 321493




Frister & Rossmann introduced their first Vibrating Shuttle (VS) sewing machine, about 14 years after the Singer VS (1886)

VS 1    s/n 892.460
VS 1 s/n 892.460
Sewing Machine Times (July 1990)
Sewing Machine Times (July 1990)

In 1900 about, Singer manufactured the Transverse Shuttle Family High Arm machine or Singer 48K and only in Singer's Kilbowie plant .


For more informations see :




In 1902 , Singer ended the New Family 12 production.