Following the dissolution of the partnership of Cole, Maxfield & Co., Park Road, Birmingham which had been formed by Richard Wood, Arthur Maxfield and Isaac Cole the Franklin Sewing Machine Co. was established in March 1868 by Arthur Maxfield, Isaac Cole and Charles Fowkes. This partnership lasted until November 1872 when it dissolved through effuxion of time with the three partners going their separate ways.

Arthur Maxfield established another firm - A. Maxfield & Co., New Street Works, 71 & 72 Spencer Street, Birmingham where an improved version of the Agenoria which had a fast & loose balance wheel was produced. The firm also supplied machines to Thomas Norton of Summerhill who added a revised bobbin winder with level wind and these machines have T. Norton Maker on the cloth plate. In 1877 it is believed that A. Maxfield & Co. was taken over by the Royal Sewing Machine Co. Ltd.

Isaac Cole moved to Edinburgh forming Cole & Co and in 1873 Maxfield & Co. entered into an agreement to supply Agenoria machines to this firm and some Maxfield machines have Cole & Co. stamped on the stitch plate. Isaac Cole was made bankrupt in 1880.

Charles Fowkes continued to produce sewing machines at the Franklin Works until 1873 under the name Charles Fowkes & Co. using the crossed needles and bobbin Trade Mark of the old Franklin Sewing Machine Co.

Joseph Harris had purchased the Franklin Works by December 1873 and later renamed them the Imperial Works producing Agenoria machines under the name the Imperial Sewing Machine Co. which he had formed with John Judson in April 1873. The machines were retailed through Harris's premises at Oriel House, 41 Bull Lane, Birmingham.

The Royal Sewing Machine Co. Ltd. was advertising that it had purchased the business of Joseph Harris by April 1878.

See my published article on the history of the Agenoria sewing machine HERE


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 agenoria c1870

Agenoria Serial No. 4201.

Made by The Franklin Sewing Machine Company, Franklin Works, Park Road, Birmingham probably c1869 and has the name Agenoria on the arm.

The brass needlebar cover has a representation of the deity Agenoria - Goddess of Industry & Silence seated next to a prone Lion, there is also a Registered Design lozenge for 24th February 1869 (we think!) which appears centrally just beneath the machines name.

Engraved on the cloth plate is the company trade mark which represents a bobbin with crossed needles with "The Franklin Co." arched over it.

The cloth plate also has a stamp for S. Smith & Co 4 Charles St Soho London. The firm was established in 1867 and retailed sewing machines of various makes. The Charles Street premises were opened in late 1868 and the firm also had branches at Soho Bazzar, Edgeware Road and Queen Victoria Street.

 Franklin Agenoria

 agenoria c1870

Agenoria Serial No. 6909.

Another example of this beautiful machine probably produced c1870.

It is almost identical to the earlier machine but the balance wheel has a blanked boss which was in preparation for the provision of the fast & loose balance wheel.

 Franklin needlebar cover