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HISTORY OF THE "WILCOX & GIBBS"
The Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine company was founded by inventor James
E. A. Gibbs and investor James Willcox.
In 1855, Gibbs saw an illustration of
a Grover & Baker sewing machine while reading the newspaper. Because the
picture was not accompanied by a description, he came to the conclusion
that it used a single thread. Based on this assumption, he was able to
develop a sewing machine.
In 1856 he saw a Singer sewing
machine at a Virginia tailorís shop. Although he was impressed by it, he
felt that it was much too expensive, large, and complicated.
James Gibbs then decided to continue
the development of his own sewing machine that he believed would be
easier to use and cheaper in cost. Because Gibbs was a poor farmer with
a family to support, he could only spend a limited amount of time on his
machine. As he did not have many tools at his disposal, his machine was
made almost completely of wood.
Gibbs met James Willcox, a
manufacturer of new inventions, in Philadelphia. Willcox was immediately
impressed with the sewing machine and both men agreed to form the
Willcox & Gibbs company.
In 1858, the company began the
manufacture of a chain stitch sewing machine which gained popularity at
once. While Grover & Baker and Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines were
selling for $100, the Willcox & Gibbs machine sold for $50.
In 1876, the company introduced its
Automatic model that was a chain stitch sewing machine with an automatic
tension device. This machine would continue in production until 1947 at
which time Willcox & Gibbs stopped production of its domestic machines
to concentrate on specialized industrial models.
--From The Encyclopedia of
Antique Sewing Machines, 3rd Edition
Now they are owned by PEGASUS SEWING