Home of the Sewalot Site. By Alex I Askaroff. For antique and vintage sewing machines. Book s to buy. Sewalot, Our Collection Reviews. See a day in the life of a travelling sewing machine repair man.

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Alex has spent a lifetime in the sewing industry and is considered one of the foremost experts of pioneering machines and their inventors. He has written extensively for trade magazines, radio, television, books and publications world wide. See Alex Askaroff on Youtube. Most of us know the name Singer but few are aware of his amazing life story, his rags to riches journey from a little runaway to one of the richest men of his age.

The story of Isaac Merritt Singer will blow your mind, his wives and lovers his castles and palaces all built on the back of one of the greatest inventions of the 19th century. For the first time the most Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines story of a forgotten giant is brought to you by Alex Askaroff. Some say the sewing machine represents the finest piece of '19th Century' precision engineering in the world. This is hard to argue with seeing that so many are still working on Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines daily basis years later.

Their beautiful lines and superb stitching make them a collectors dream. Let me Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines you what I have learnt about this amazing machine and the men who built it. James Edward Allen Gibbs He was born three miles as the crow flies from Raphine on 1 August His mum was Isabella Poague Gibbs from Connecticut. As James grew he worked, like all children in those days, for his father on the farm and in his father's carding business. Carding was a popular business as wool and cotton had to be disentangled from clumps of fibre into a continuous thread for cloth manufacture by the use of cards which were basic brushes with wire pins that stripped the wool into straight fibres.

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In a fire broke out in his father's carding business, Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines he ran from a mill on the farm, and it completely destroyed everything. The business ruined, James at the age of 16, decided to leave home and strike out on his own.

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I can just imagine the arguments that happened that year and the sorrow as a family and business was torn apart. Little could they imagine as their son walked away from the farm with all his worldly goods over his shoulder that one day he would own hundreds of acres of Rockbridge and live the life of a lord of the manor.

Over the next few years James tried his hand at what he knew best, the carding business, but each attempt failed to make a living, it was a highly competitive trade with many slave owners undercutting prices.

So James tried a bit of work as a Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines, machinist, millwright and even a bit of surveying until he sliced a chunk Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines of his own kneecap while clearing pines in West Virginia. Seven hard years pass in these various trades and travels. Over the winter of James, now 22, is found helping in the construction of a saw and grist mill grain grinding for one Colonel S Given in Nicholas County.

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Here he used his piercing blue eyes and easy manner to good use on the Colonels' daughter. Catherine Given was smitten and in the late summer of Catherine and James were married. They went on to have four daughters. No sooner were they a couple than he set of again to Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines County where he took up his old trade of carpentry.

So how did James get started in the sewing machine business? During these years, like most people, James rarely saw the outside world except what arrived Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines the papers of the day. He was transfixed by this new gadget that had the potential to change the world. Over the next few months in his spare time he tried to copy the construction of the machine working out how each piece must work.

He did this with his carpentry tools, a penknifechisel, a few farm tools and some wood and spare bits of metal.

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From this I saw that it could not make a stitch similar to handwork, but must have some other mode of fastening the underside and, among other possible ideas of doing this, the chain stitch occurred to me.

From this early attempt at a sewing machine his models went on to be one of the best-selling sewing machines of all time and certainly the longest production run of a single model in the history of the world. This in turn made James Gibb phenomenally wealthy. Inwhen James had amassed a fortune he bought his eldest daughter, Florence Gibb who had married Benjamin Cason Rawlings a farm near Raphine which they called Las Vegas.

Ben Rawlings had been a gold prospector and Civil War Veteran. James Edward Allen Gibbs wooden patent modelnothing like the model that Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines went on sale. The innovation was the underneath looper Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines catch and twist the thread.

Click here to date you Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines So how does James fit into the invention and the development of the sewing machine? This is where his stroke Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines genius came in. James Edward Allen Gibbs manufactured a lower revolving hook to catch the top thread and twist it into a loop to lock it into the fabric with the following thread.

His later hooks were much improved on this first method; which tales say he carved from a piece of twisted mountain ivy. It was this twist in the thread that gave the stitch flexibility and strength, something no other chainstitch machine did. I could shape a piece of hard ivy into the different contours needed to grasp the thread and hold it for the necessary duration of the stitch formation.

With the use of a steam kettle and a Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines, after 47 separate and exasperating attempts, I found the ideal shape that performed the task. I then set about fashioning this most intricate piece out of metal. It was a hugely time consuming effort. Early patent diagram describing the motion of the hook which unlike other hooks held onto the thread until the second stroke of the needle caught it again.

What James Gibbs had not realised yet was that he had invented a completely new method of sewing. In fact he did not even patent it for a while. However by April of James had found that local sawmill owner, John J Ruckman, saw the potential of his machine.

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Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines James sold him half the interest in his machine. Using the income from selling half his idea, James Edward Allen Gibbs decided that he would hop on the train and head for Washington, the centre of new ideas in America at the time. In Washington he ploughed the streets, shows and fairs looking to see if anyone had a machine similar to his.

James Gibbs spotted a Singer model A made by the pioneer and multi-wife holder Isaac Singer in a shop and examined it carefully. Some say he saw his first real sewing machine being used in a tailors shop in Virginia. Anyway realising that his idea was completely different to Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines normal sewing machine he knew he was on to a winner.

None of the machines he encountered on his travels looked or operated exactly like his. They were also heavy cumbersome beasts and amazingly expensive.

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So he hit the Patent Office and after detailed research found that he had two ideas that no one had patented, his looper method and feed method. He needed to get his machine patented as soon as humanly possibly.

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Isaac Singer was busily patenting anything that could be used in sewing as were hundreds of others. The race was on. For both of his unique ideas, he applied for patents. Now all he had to do when he got home was make a smaller, cheaper, metal, working model and he was in business.

The Gibbs sewing machine. There Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines no under-feed mechanism and no bottom thread.

See the slipper that pulled the work through on top! Made in metal the James Gibbs sewing machine would be half the price and half the size and half the threading of his competitors. All he had to do was get his patents. He had one minor patent granted but in he hit the big time. The design is intended to use a single upper thread Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines caught by a lower looper or revolving hook. The thread-loop having been caught and twisted half a revolution, or one hundred and eighty degrees between each stitch is then Dating willcox and gibbs sewing machines into the next loop of thread.

This method is repeated to form the continuing stitch from the single upper thread. The material to be moved forward by pressurised wheel gears. James Edward Allen Gibbspatented the first practical and workable chain-stitch single-thread sewing machine on June 2, This was after his earlier patent for part of a sewing machine feed in H e was awarded patent number 17, on his machine.

You can clearly see that his first Patent machine was nothing like the actual machine that went into production.

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The Gibbs chainstitch. I have to say that on his early machines there are at least five patent dates that pre-date his. This is because he had to use an pay for other peoples patents under licence.

One patent was as early as !

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Probably one of the Howe patents. Anyway, James Gibbsnow a businessman, carpenter, farmer, millwright, surveyor, machinist, engineer and patent holder became an entrepreneur. Both the Willcox's were entrepreneurs, investors and manufacturers of new fangled ideas.

James Willcox had made his money as a hardware merchant and, as his businesses flourished, he looked for new ideas to invest in.

His son had an inventive streak and the pair were instantly drawn to James Gibbs.