BIESOLT & LOCKE
Biesolt & Locke was a small German company, founded by Maximilian Biesolt Reinhold and Hermann Locke in Meissen in 1869.
In May 1905, they filed for patent infringement in Manila court, in the Philippines, against a company that was selling Biesolt & Locke sewing machines rebadged as ‘Corona.’ Biesolt & Locke’s machines had been supplied by a company in Holland. The Philippine company had tried to register Biesolt & Locke’s sewing machine trade mark as their own in the Philippine office of the Bureau of Patents, Copyrights & Trade Marks. The court notes reveal that Biesolt & Locke used the names ‘B&L Long Shuttle’ and ‘Wettina’ prior to 1886, but registered them in that year, in Germany, France, Russia and Denmark. The ‘B&L Vibrating Shuttle’ machine is reported to have been introduced prior to 1901. As a result of the recent Spanish-American War, the Philippines, at this time, was a colony of the United States (hence retained court records).
They introduced a new model, the Afrana, in the 1890s, which then became the company’s main product. The company went out of business in 1914, after a factory fire and Seidel & Naumann used the Biesolt & Locke name until around 1925.
Why did Bettmann pick Biesolt & Locke sewing machines for reselling when he started his new company? The larger sewing machine companies would have had a good back-up service, but if their sewing machines were already well-known in England, presumably he would not have found it so easy to compete on price?
The above court report suggests that Biesolt & Locke’s business was conducted by agents in various countries. It’s not known if Bettmann rebadged the Biesolt & Locke sewing machines he sold, or added a Bettmann & Co transfer or plaque alongside the Biesolt & Locke name. But I spotted a c1902 Biesolt & Locke treadle machine in Australia, imported by Ward Bros and badged as the ‘ANA’ – which actually stand for ‘All Native Australian.’ So rebadging of Biesolt & Locke sewing machines seems to have been standard practise, perhaps part of the attraction for a new company such as Bettmann & Co to import and resell Biesolt & Locke’s products, in order to build up their inventory without the considerable bother and investment required for manufacturing their own products.
Bettmann & Co were the company’s sole agents in Great Britain for reselling Biesolt & Locke machines:
‘Biesolt & Locke have appointed Messrs S Bettmann & Co, of 9, Coleman St, E.C, London, their sole wholesale agents for the United Kingdom.’