Universal Sewing Machines Ltd was formed in early 1954 and by April was selling "shop soiled" Tailor-Bird machines. In the following year it advertised for Tailor-Bird machines "working or not" which it re manufactured adding an electric motor and plywood base which it claimed were equal to new.

The company started manufacturing new machines based on the Tayor Bird design in late 1957 at the company's factory, offices and showroom 27 - 33 Hurst Street, Birmingham where some 300 employees produced 35,000 machines a year.

The SL model was produced in 1958/9 then in late 1959 the company further refined the design releasing the SewMaid which has more angular castings, simple bobbin winder and uses a plastic shuttle. This continued to be produced until around mid 1963 after which the company started heavily discounting the machine and offering free gifts presumably to clear its stock of machines but it was still available in November 1965.

In May 1962 it was announced that due to demand and lack of suitable premises in Birmingham it was outsourcing production of sewing machines to a company in Manchester (probably Jones) although the showroom and offices remained in Birmingham.

The company also sold a number of labelled machines with names such as: the Consort made in Italy, the Zephyr made by BSM in 1954 and in 1963/4 by Jones, three models of the Viceroy with the Model H being made in Spain in 1960, the Cavalier Free arm 1965, the Sewglyde made in Spain, Britannic Type 3a made by BSM, Regal, Commodore and Majestic.

See also Tailor Bird Sewing Machine Co.


Published
Articles
A-Z of British
Manufacturers
Bradbury & Co.
Busy Bee
Sewing Machine Co.
The Franklin
Sewing Machine Co.
Heron,
Gresham & Craven
Hopkinson Bros
Howe Machine Co.
Ideal
Sewing Machine Co
Imperial
Sewing Machine Co.
Jones & Co.
Kimball & Morton
Moldacot Pocket
Sewing Machine Co.
Newton Wilson & Co.
The Royal
Sewing Machine Co.
William
Sellers & Co.
Shepherd, Rothwell
& Hough
Singer
Sewing Machine Co.
Smith, Starley & Co.
Tailor Bird
Sewing Machine Co.
W. F. Thomas & Co.
Universal Sewing Machines Ltd
Varley & Co.
Vickers Ltd.
Edward Ward
James Weir
Oldham
Manufacturers
Return to
The Gallery
Contact Us

 Universal SL

Universal SL Serial No. E4035.

This Universal machine is badged SL and so was made in 1958/9. It features the same basic layout of the Tailor Bird including the same walking foot mechanism, slide plates and almost identical shuttle but has a electric motor and foot pedal.

The body is cast aluminium with Universal cast into the Arm and Unisomac British Made on the pillar. The castings are quite rough and are overpainted silver giving a quite stylish effect.

The 1/15th HP electric motor made by the company is mounted to the rear of the pillar. It drives a large flywheel and is controlled by a neat metal foot-pedal.

The machine has two prongs and thumb catch which hold it into the thin plywood base. The cover is hardboard with a thick decorative card outer and reinforced at the corners. It's held in place with two latches.

Universal Foot Pedal

The machines heritage can be clearly seen the Slide plates and style of bobbin winder are classic Tailor Bird features.

Universal Slide Plates
Universal Bobbin Winder.jpg
Universal Sewing Machine