The original Company was founded by Karl Schmidt in 1876 producing machines mainly for leather work and it wasn't until Hugo Henstenberg became a partner in 1878 that production of domestic sewing machines was increased. In 1883 Schmidt left the partnership and the firm became Hengstenberg & Co the following year.
By 1885 production of domestic machines totalled 50,000. Heinrich Wittler joined the Company and introduced the Westfalia in 1886 and the Anker Westfalia in 1894. The same year the firm started producing bicycles and Wittler left to join Dürkopp. In 1906 the Company name became Anker-Werke.
Anker: Serial No. 449402.
Hengstenberg & Co. produced this machine around 1900. Although it is a transverse shuttle machine note the size of the slide-plates when compared with the two machines below.
The decals are an unusual combination of flowers and seagulls! The centre decal of a steam sailing ship and anchor was used as the Company's Trade Mark from about 1895 to 1902.
Hengstenberg: Serial No. 452909.
Although there is no indication of maker this imported machine has been identified as being made by Hengstenberg & Co. Produced in 1898 it was designed by Heinrich Wittler.
The machine would have been sold through an importing Agent and an identical machine was sold by Fortescue Bros, West Street, Reading. There are remnants of filigree decals and inlaid Mother of Pearl roses to the centre bed.
It has the most amazing case, see our Restoration page
Thanks to Ludger Halbur for information regarding this machine.
Hengstenberg? Serial No. 455523.
This elegant machine has no makers name but is almost identical to the previous machine so was probably also made by Hengstenberg & Co. Note there is an additional slide plate on the bed.
It has Mother of Pearl flowers, swaged flowers and a bouquet to the centre bed. The base has an inlaid ruler, decorative marquetry and catch to hold the machine to the base.