Vibrating Shuttle

Sewing Machines History 

Although popularized by Singer's 27 and 127 model series sewing machine, the vibrating shuttle was not invented at Singer. It was actually invented by Allen Benjamin Wilson in 1850, just one year before he would invent the rotary hook design that would eventually prevail over all other lockstitch bobbin driver designs. Allen B. Wilson's original patent is US 7.776, granted on November 12, 1850, with reissues RE345 on January 22, 1856 and RE414 on December 9, 1856. The second page of his patent, showing the shuttle in its arc, is shown above. Allen B. Wilson  was soon beset with patent litigation from the owners of the John Bradshaw patent.

US 5.942                              John  Bradshaw              November 28, 1848

He was approached by the owners of the Bradshaw 1848 patent, who claimed control of the double-pointed shuttle. Although this claim was without justification, as can be seen by examining the Bradshaw patent specifications, Wilson did not have sufficient funds to fight the claim. In order to avoid a suit, he relinquished to A. P. Kline and Edward Lee, a one-half interest in his patent US 7.776. His machine had a considerable sale, but was not satisfactory to its inventor, who set himself to work to produce something more practical, a new rotary hook design.

The vibrating shuttle got a new lease on life two decades later, in 1876 when all those patents had expired. The White Sewing Machine Company developed a machine around it which became the company's flagship product, so much so that it was originally named the "White Sewing Machine", only later taking the name "White Vibrating Shuttle" when a rotary hook model was added to the product line.

US 174.703                           Porter  &  Baker                    March 14, 1876

An improved version of the White vibrating shuttle sewing machine was introduced in 1883.

The vibrating shuttle's next development came in 1885, at the hands of Scottish immigrant Robert Whitehill. He designed a new machine around it which Singer bought and popularized.

US 326.821                          Robert  Whitehill           September 22, 1885

US 326.822                           Robert  Whitehill   September 22, 1885

The initial design of the Porter/Baker shuttle would change little throughout the 86 years that it would remain in production at White and then at Singer. This can be seen in the shuttle-threading diagrams taken from the White and Singer instruction manuals.

en.wikipedia.org

***************************************************************

It's surprising to me that it was never mentioned the connection of Charles Morey, Job A. Davis and Daniel Harris (Dorcas Sewing Machine) with the vibrating shuttle machines. Although the paternity of the vibrating shuttle machine is attributed to Mr. Allen B. Wilson, what about the British patent GB 12.752 issued to Morey in August 30,1849 or February 28, 1850? 

Where am I wrong?

Morey
Morey
Wilson
Wilson

Harris (Dorcas)
Harris (Dorcas)
Davis
Davis

 

 

*********************************************************

US PATENTS FOR

"Vibrating Shuttle System"

*********************************************************

US 7.776                                Allen  B.  Wilson

Lock-stitch, vibratory shuttle pointed at both ends, feed-bar

November 12, 1850

*********************************************************

US 11.934                               Daniel  Harris

Lock-stitch, upper-thread controller

Assignor to John P. Bowker Jr.

Sold in 1854 by American Sewing Machine Company as:

"DORCAS SEWING MACHINE"

November 14, 1854

*********************************************************

US RE345                               Allen  B.  Wilson

January 22, 1856

*********************************************************

US RE414                                Allen  B.  Wilson

December 9, 1856

*********************************************************

US 27.208                            Job  Anthony  Davis

February 21, 1860

*********************************************************

US 38.592                               William  A.  Mack

May 19, 1863

*********************************************************

US 174.703                             Porter & Baker

Mach 14, 1876

*********************************************************

US 326.821                            Robert  Whitehill

September 22, 1885

*********************************************************

 

***************************************************************

The design of the model 27 series began with Allen Benjamin Wilson, who invented the vibrating shuttle in 1850 and sold machines built around it. Two decades later, when the patents had expired and the Sewing Machine Combination patent pool had dispersed, White Sewing Machine Company  employees D'Arcy Porter and George W. Baker built a new machine that made successful use of it. The "White Sewing Machine", as it was first named, entered production in 1876. It was popular in its time and some of them remain.

US 174.703                          Porter  &  Baker                    March 14, 1876

Whitehill's patent US 326.821
Whitehill's patent US 326.821

In the decade that followed, another gentleman applied his mind to advancing the state of the art. Scottish immigrant Robert Whitehill (1 June 1845 – 24 November 1903), founder of the Whitehill Manufacturing Company, became interested in sewing machines and subsequently patented an improvement to the take-up arm.

He proceeded to manufacture his own machines from about 1875 until 1883.

He then designed the sewing machine which would shortly became Singer's answer to the White machine.

 

Robert Whitehill made an application on 1 July 1884 and he obtained a Letters  Patent US 326.821 on 22 September 1885. In his design Whitehill retained the White machine's dimensions and most aspects of its exterior; his contribution mainly consists of the new interior. That is, he rethought the entire powertrain, the mechanism that carries energy from the handwheel to the needlebar, to the bobbin driver and to the feed dogs. He also conceived the bullet-shaped shuttle, which the White machine promptly adopted over its more traditional boat shuttle.

Model 27 advertising card: "This machine is unequaled" (obverse). He took his prototype to the Singer head office and showed it to the office manager James Bolton (1832–1916). Bolton was thrilled with the machine and suggested a sewing competition against the best Singer models on-hand at the factory. Whitehill's prototype prevailed and he sold the rights to it for USD 8.000 (USD 212.000 adjusted), with USD 1.000 held in reserve until he had perfected it for them.

At the time, Singer was already selling two "high arm" models (one a chain stitcher, the other an oscillating shuttle) which represented a new break from the company's established history of "low arm" machines.

 

The Whitehill design became the third Singer machine with a high arm and quickly eclipsed the other two, neither of which Bolton liked anyway. The Whitehill machine took the name "Vibrating Shuttle 1" when, two years later, it evolved into the improved "Vibrating Shuttle 2".

Within a couple of years Scientific American took notice and printed the following praise for Whitehill's design, especially for its powertrain:

Of Vibrating Shuttles

These are shuttles of the long description, moving in a segment of a circle. There are several varieties. The most novel machine of this kind is the vibrating shuttle machine just produced by the Singer Manufacturing Company. In this case the shuttle itself consists of a steel tube, into the open end of which the wound reel is dropped and is free to revolve quite loosely. Variation of tension is thus obviated in a very simple manner. The chief point of interest in the machine is undoubtedly the means employed in transferring the motion from the main shaft to the underneath parts, an arrangement as ingenious and effective as any device ever introduced into stitching mechanism. It is the invention of Mr. Robert Whitehall and consists of a vertical rocking shaft situated in the arm of the machine. Motion is imparted to it by means of an elbow formed upon the main shaft acting upon two arms, called wipers, projecting from the rocking shaft, the angle formed by the arms exactly coinciding with that of the elbow in its revolution. This admirable motion will no doubt attract much attention from mechanists and engineers.

Pedigree of the model 27 series

By Txinviolet - Own work, Public Domain
By Txinviolet - Own work, Public Domain

 

 

en.wikipedia.org