Sewing Machines present at the

Exposition Universelle

PARIS 1889



Notwithstanding the fact that the Universal Exhibition was opened at Paris as far back as the 6th of May, it is only the past few weeks that the whole of the exhibits were placed in position. The display of manufactures and products is incomparably grand. We have done nothing in England in the way of industrial shows one-half as gigantic. Without at the present moment stopping to criticise the quality of the exhibits, merely dealing with the show as a whole, we are not prepared to dispute the claims of the French people that the present exhibition is the finest that has been held in the history of the world. No matter at what point entrance is effected, the eye is at once charmed with the shape and decorations of the enormous galleries, containing innumerable tastefully constructed showcases. It is undeniable that the executive have brought to bear upon the construction of the buildings and the arrangement of the exhibits all that wealth of artistic talent for which the French are justly famed. We do not think that any other nation would have lavished upon temporary buildings so much taste. These remarks apply particularly to the several domes, which are adorned with magnificent paintings and sculpture and decorated in a most costly manner. We might fill pages of this issue with a description of the exhibition generally, but have not the space at our disposal, so will at once pass on to the exhibits in Class 56, which is the sewing machine department. All the sewing machines are located in the gallery of the enormous machinery hall, a building with a glass roof of gigantic proportions. Passing first to the British section we find it to comprise the following :



Bridgeton, Glasgow.

This stand is tastefully arranged and is approached on three sides. In a conspicuous place is a case of medals won at previous exhibitions and at each side are shown portraits of Elias Howe, constructed of plaster and gilt. No machines are on exhibit but what we have previously described in these columns. It might be well to state in passing that the Howe machine has been very popular in France for many years and no type of machine is better known to the French people. The New Howe Company are now recommending their new high arm machines, the "Elias" Family and the "Crown" for manufacturing purposes. Both of these are light running and noiseless and fitted with the latest improvements. Two exhibits at this stand were shoe-repairing machines. At another part of the machinery hall this company had a splendid display of cycles.



257, Whitechapel Road, London, E.

This sewing machine veteran showed considerable pluck in taking his miniature machine, "The Little Rose", to Paris. Our readers may remember that we illustrated and described this machine as far back as May of last year. We then said it was the best of the so-called cheap machines in the market and nothing has been introduced since to cause us to alter our opinion. There are on exhibit two kinds, viz., a lock stitch and a single thread machine. Mr. Nasch has arranged his little machines in an attractive manner, several of them being placed on a bench and run by power.



62, Fore Street,London, E.C.

This concern has previously been noticed in our columns, it having been formed for the purpose of placing on the market a very ingenious over seaming machine, the invention of a well-known American expert, Mr. C. Lachmann. At the time of writing there are three machines placed on a bench, with power transmitters and shafting close by, but unfixed; in fact the machines are not yet on show. We understand that this will be remedied in the course of a week or so.


The above are all the sewing machines on exhibit in the British section. Passing to the American exhibits, one of the first stands to attract attention is that occupied by the:



Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A., 48, Holborn Viaduct, London and 34, Rue Truffaut, Paris.

The "King" machine is certainly housed in a palace. The stand is unique in design and quite oriental in style. To describe it intelligently is beyond our power; suffice it to say that it is topped by a very pretty ceiling of satinette, arranged in a most artistic manner, the whole being supported by wood columns of handsome shape. The machines are opened to inspection from three sides and on the walls are hung numerous specimens of plain and fancy sewing, embroideries, &c. So uncommonly handsome is the ensemble, that one is almost forced to enter the saloon. Mr. R. F. Curtis, or an American young gentleman, both over from the States specially for the purpose, are always at hand to explain the magnificent art work, or to describe and demonstrate the advantages of the "White" machine. We need not here dwell upon the construction of that well-known specimen of stitching mechanism. The high quality of the materials used in its production, the perfect manner in which the parts are fitted together and the excellence of the " White " system, are known to every dealer. All the various kinds, family and manufacturing, are on show by expert operators. Little wonder that ladies rarely pass this exhibit without making a prolonged stay.

The White Sewing Machine Company intend to make a good show at the Paris Exhibition. An expert operator is on the way to Europe from America to take charge of their stand.



Watertown, U.S.A., 24, Aldersgate Street, London and 48, Boulevard Sebastopol, Paris.

Most of our readers are aware that the Davis machine is the same as the Vertical Feed, the makers of which are ably represented in England by Mr. George Phillips. In France Mr. Victor Andre is sole importer and that gentleman and his son have had an experience of the trade second to none. He used to be sole importer of the old Howe machine in its palmy days and later, when the opportunity presented itself, he secured the agency for the Davis, because, as he informed us, he saw that it was well made and its special feature, a vertical feed, seemed to him to be a great improvement on the usual feed mechanism. At first he had uphill work to convince the French people of the value of the vertical feed, but now it is recognised on all hands and his sales are always on the increase. Of course, at this stand there was a good display of art work, exhibited in a very large and well filled show case, the specimens of embroidery being handsome in the extreme. One thing is undoubted, that the persons responsible for the arrangement of this stand have placed the machines in such a manner that they can be seen to great advantage and the lady visitors gaze with admiration at the fine work which is produced by the operators before their own eyes. There is a large display of hand and treadle family machines and all kinds of woodwork; also this company's latest invention, a manufacturing machine driven by power. Mr. Andre has already obtained several substantial orders for this machine to work on military clothing.



New York, 41, Chippenham Terrace, Harrow Road, London and 20, Boulevard Sebastopol, Paris.

This well known company is represented in France by Mr. A. Ricbourg, one of the oldest and most enterprising importers in that country or any other. That gentleman has arranged his exhibits in a most attractive manner. The covered stand is very elaborate and substantial, with an aisle down the centre. At each side is shown the various machines made by this company; also very fine specimens of fancy and ornamental sewing. It is very clear that no expense has been spared in making the stand attractive and the president of the New Home Company, who was on a visit to Paris at the time of writing, must have felt highly gratified at the taste displayed by his French agent. The New Home machines hold in French estimation a very high place for skillful and sound construction. Mr. Richbourg's trade in them far exceeds the estimate we had hazarded in our own mind and wherever the machine finds a buyer it finds a firm friend.

Among the French exhibitors is:

M. A. Richbourg, agent for the New Home Co.




New York, 21, Queen Victoria Street, London and 105, Boulevard Sebastopol, Paris.

The exhibits at this stand are, perhaps, better arranged to arrest the attention of manufacturers than is the case elsewhere. Not that family machines are unrepresented, several splendid specimens being in the front rank; but Mr. W. H. Payne, the company's mechanical expert, has charge of quite an extensive range of machines for use in factories, which, by means of a complete arrangement of shafting, he is able to run by power. This stand, like two or three others in the Exhibition, is not covered in, but has an aisle down the centre and is closed in on one side only. The partition is utilised for the exhibition of work done on the Wheeler & Wilson machines. Several of the specimens are particularly fine, notably the boots. We never remember to have seen such perfect work of its class at any previous exhibition. Several samples of stitching on patent leather with coloured silk were handsome in the extreme, being faultless in workmanship and artistic in design. The exhibits of manufacturing machines are too numerous to be mentioned in detail. Of course, the famous W&W No.12 and its relative the W&W No.12D, are shown fitted for running by power and their enormous speed and superior sewing can be instantly shown to visitors. Then we observe several buttonhole machines for hosiery, leather and cloth. The former attracts considerable attention, owing to the difficulty experienced in producing good buttonholes on such fabrics. Close by are two zigzag machines, one with a three-stitch traverse and the other with  one. A hem-stitch  machine is  next  observed  and  also  a  W&W  No.5 cylinder machine, largely used in France by shirt manufacturers. Undoubtedly this stand is the most interesting in the Exhibition to manufacturers, who can see the machines to great advantage accompanied by such a competent guide as Mr. Payne. Several young ladies are in charge of the family machines and they do not omit to point out to the full all the merits of the W&W  No.9. No wonder that this machine is admired in France. For domestic work it is a gem of the first water and, although not yet a year old, its career has already been most successful.



This gigantic corporation has displayed its machines in a saloon which is extremely handsome and they have placed in charge, Mr. W. Lonney, jr., their Cincinnati City manager, who is a capital operator and a salesman of no mean order. He does not allow visitors to remain for long unconscious of the beauty of the stand, including its ceiling of muslin with a charming border, all the embroidery and sewing being done on a Singer. On all sides are interesting exhibits of art work. We particularly admired a reconnoitre in the Soudan by natives and an American wild turkey in colours, life size. The latter was awarded a medal at the Cincinnati Centennial Exhibition and thoroughly deserved it. Passing several specimens of embroidery work representing the passion flower and the clematis, done on boating cloth (silk), we reach a large frame containing numerous photographs of .persons in the Singer Co.'s employ. Among these'we noticed the company's Zulu, China, Japan, Tunis and Madagascar representatives, all of them natives. So magnificently fitted up is this stand with an aisle down the centre and with partitions at the sides, that one must be excused for examining the machines last. Not that the machines are uninteresting; on the contrary, they are particularly interesting, being in such great variety and run in many cases by power. Among the thirty specimens are "family" of several kinds, including the oscillating shuttle and the vibrating shuttle and manufacturing of all kinds. One of the first machines of the latter class to attract attention is an oscillator with a central bobbin of a capacity double that of the ordinary oscillator. Next a 32  in. belting machine, an oscillator fed by a pair of rollers at the back, instead of the ordinary feed. It will sew up to an inch of heavy duck, with a limit of two stitches to the inch. Another exhibit is a 26 in. sweatpad machine, also an oscillator, with a plunger or presser foot, which works ahead of the needle. Near at hand is a 26 in. machine for heavy military boots. Of course the '' lightning stitcher " for under wear and the Singer buttonhole machines for leather and cloth find a place on this stand; so, too, does a two-needle machine with two oscillating shutters; also an eyelet machine and, lastly, an oscillator for uppers, which sews and trims at the same time.







Boston, U.S.A.

(English agents: Berridge & Co., 78, Finsbury Pavement, London, E.C.)

The stand of this company attracts considerable attention and well it might. The machine is one of the most ingenious ever invented, and its speed is almost incredible. It will cut and work, in one hour, 150 of the largest holes on cloth, or 300 on boots. The work it produces is of first class quality. Although the French claim for France the birthplace of the sewing machine, we do not hear much in this country of their modern skill in inventing and making sewing machines, except of a special kind such as the Bonnaz. It was, therefore, with feelings of great interest that, after visiting the British and American sections, we passed on to inspect the French machines. With few exceptions, the stands are all grouped together, and it is only true to say that the impression one forms at first sight is not at all favourable. Nearly all of the machines made in France are G shaped, which certainly gives them the stamp of antiquity and the impression that the French makers are behind the times is not removed when the machines are turned over on their sides, and their shuttle-driving mechanism inspected. Most of them are built on the Howe principle and the cams used heavy in the extreme. Space will not, however, allow of our discussing this matter further, as we intend to deal with each exhibit separately.



Fig 1 - The Reece buttonhole sewing machine by the "International Button Hole Sewing Machine Company"
Fig 1 - The Reece buttonhole sewing machine by the "International Button Hole Sewing Machine Company"

The exhibit of the International Buttonhole Sewing Machine Company was in the body of the hall with the shoe machinery and attracted as much attention as any single machine in the Exposition, the rapidity with which it performed its work and the perfection of the product were so remarkable. The machine is so well known and extensively used in the United States that a description of the mechanism in detail is not needed. A general view of the machine which formed the principal feature of the company's display at Paris is given by Fig 1. It works a regular eyelet buttonhole, with a cord set in the stitching around the hole and makes a square bar across the small end. The work is clamped immovably to a stationary bed, the machine then cuts the buttonhole, after which the needle and other stitching mechanism travel around the hole automatically. The needle works along one side of the hole, then around the eyelet end, turning about its axis meanwhile, then works back along the other side of the hole and finally moves back and forth crosswise of the end several times to form the bar and stops automatically. When stopped the needle stands out of the cloth, so that the work can be shifted or removed without obstruction. The movements of the stitching mechanism are given by cranks and very quiet working is obtained at a high rate of speed. The loose ends of thread and cord are fastened by hand, or, on shoe-work, the ends are stitched to the inside of the buttonhole pieces by a special machine, which will do the finishing for eighteen or twenty cases of shoes in a day.  





The principal makers in France are:

HURTU & HAUTIN, whose works and offices are at 54, Rue St Maur, Paris.

C. PEUGEOT & CIE, works at Audincourt.

CIE. FRANÇAISE DE MACHINE A COUDRE VIGNERON, of 74, Rue de la Folie-Regnault, Paris.


BRION FRERES, whose works are at Malakoff (Seine).


The British section is very weak as regards sewing machines.

The Howe Company.

Jones & Co., of Guide Bridge.

The Harrison Knitting Machine Company show knitting machines.

Mr. Isidor Nasch of Whitechapel has taken space at the Paris International Exhibition for exhibiting his various sewing machine inventions, including his button-hole machine.

The Kohler Sewing Machine Company and also the

Lachmann Sewing Machine Company, intend exhibiting their inventions at the Paris Exhibition.


The American makers are naturally the best represented, among them being:

Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine Company being represented at their stand by Mr. Payne, their expert.

On Monday last the jury examined the machine exhibits. No information has yet leaked out as to what firms will receive the highest awards.  


Awards to United States exhibitors


International Button Hole Machine Company

Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing Company

Davis Sewing Machine Company

New Home Sewing Machine Company

Singer Sewing Machine Company

White Sewing Machine Company

Paine Shoe Lasting Machine Company