Mini range - Maxi sales
Perhaps the greatest tribute to the original design by James Gibbs is the fact that it stood the test of time far better than just about any other.
The patent machine in the Smithsonian Institute is so similar to machines from the 1930s that the uninitiated would have to look twice to see the difference.
Originally the Willcox and Gibbs featured a horizontal bobbin. However, this soon gave way to the conventional vertically-mounted cotton reel, but with the famous glass tensioner that we cite today to differentiate the earlier W&G machines from those which came later.
Last of the line for the domestic models featured yet another angle for the bobbin. This time it was at 45 degrees (the only such on a ) with tension now taken care of by the patented thread-locking plunger driven off one of the machine's connecting rods.
In its later years the company concentrated on industrial machines for every facet of the clothing, leather and packing trade. Yet many of these developments still maintained the original shape of the machine.
Of all , the W&G also holds the distinction of having more patents applied for modifications to it than any other manufacturer - probably more than all the others put together. This was because the machine's basic simplicity allowed it to be easily modified for specific commercial operations.
The first indication I have found of the W&G machine being offered for sale in England is an 1868 advertisement in the Englishwomans' Domestic Magazine. It is virtually certain, however, that they were available here before that date as the company already boasted offices in London and Manchester, with depots in Liverpool, Nottingham, Bristol, Bradford, Halifax, Wakefield, etc.