Sewing Machine Research
ISMACS International
International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society

How Many, and When?

Production figures for the early years are a little vague, but it is estimated that by 1863, when the factory was turning out 700 a month, 20,000 machines had been produced.

First available figures are for 1867 when 14,000 machines were produced. This total steadily increased until 1872 - the year in which women and children were barred from working in coal mines in Britain - when over 35,000 left the production line.

Something strange happened in 1873, for production crumbled to less than 16,000, and similar drops were recorded by other sewing-machine manufacturers. Perhaps one of our American readers could fill us in on this.

Approximate dating of early machines can be made from the following table compiled by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Serial Number Year Serial Number Year
1-10,000 1857 100,001-115,000 1867
10,001-20,000 1858 115,001-130,000 1868
20,001-30,000 1859 130,001-145,000 1869
30,001-40,000 1860 145,001-160,000 1870
40,001-50,000 1861 160,001-190,127 1871
50,001-60,000 1862 190,128-223,766 1872
60,001-70,000 1863 223,767-239,647 1873
70,001-80,000 1864 239,648-253,357 1874
80,001-90,000 1865 253,358-267,879 1875
90,001-100,000 1866 267,880-279,637 1876



Copyright Graham Forsdyke ISMACS