White Peerless : Serial No. 487459.
Thomas Howard White started producing chain stitch machines in 1858 in Templeton, Massachusetts. In 1866 he established a factory at Canal Street, Cleveland, Ohio and was trading as the White Manufacturing Company making New England type machines. The firm was incorporated as the White Sewing Machine Co. in 1876, expansion followed with the Company diversifying and moving to new premises.
In 1880 the Company had its Principal European Office at 19 Queen Victoria Street, London until December 1887 when it relocated to 48 Holborn Viaduct. By 1901 it had been reduced to an Agency operated by Bishop's Cluster Co. Ltd located at 14 Golden Lane, London.
In 1916 White bought the Raymond Manufacturing Company based in Canada and in 1924 acquired the Domestic Sewing Machine Company.
The White Sewing Machine Co. is one of the few early sewing machine Companies to have survived to the present time.
This White Peerless dates to around 1885 and has eight U.S. Patent dates listed on the rear slide plate, the first being Mar 5 1872 the last Nov 26 1881. The tension discs are on top of the arm and the handcrank is directly driven.
At some point in its long history the machine has suffered serious damage to its iron stand - there are two cracks, one to the rear and another to one side. Metal plates have been carefully rivited inside the base the work having been done so well it's hardly noticible.
The centre decal is largely intact and features a landscape scene with the figures of a woman and child. Many White machines have variations on this design. Note the brass boss recessed into the bed of the machine by the bobbin winder which gives the retailer as
E. G. Benford, 16 Castle Square, Brighton. These premises were in a prominent positon just yards away from the Royal Pavilion which having fallen out of favour with Queen Victoria was being used as Assembly Rooms. Since the Second World War the
Royal Pavilion has been restored to its former glory.
Many thanks to White for information supplied. The history of the Company may be viewed at White Sewing Machine Company
White Peerless : Serial No. 903564.
This White Peerless dates to around 1891 and has the same U.S. Patent dates listed on the rear slide plate as the above machine.
On top of the arm there is an illegible name followed by Brighton. This town is on the South Coast of England and this is presumably where the machine was sold having been imported from America.
The centre decal is largely intact and features two deer in a landscape scene.
The handcrank is of a design peculiar to White, it unscrews and folds back behind the machine in order to fit in its case.
New White Peerless 'B': Serial No. P25500.
The New White Peerless was produced as three versions based on identical heads. The 'A' and 'C' both appear to have cast bases but were fitted with different hand crank mechanisms.
This machine however is the type 'B' with elegant Bent Wood cover and Wood Base and was made in Cleveland around 1899.
It is in very good condition, with attractive Lily of the Valley floral decals. Eleven U.S. Patent dates are listed on the rear slide plate, the first being Mar 20 1877 the last Mar 11 1890 with other patents pending.
The bentwood case has carved ends with decorative moulding on the sides and the Company name in black letters.
White Gem: Serial No. Unknown.
Very little is known about this model, the only documentary evidence I have seen shows that these machines were being imported into the Great Britain from 1886 to 1893.
Unusually for White machines the slide plate simply gives the company name and address but no patent dates. Some White Gem machines have a serial number stamped into the casting under the front slide plate others do not which is something of a mystery.
On this example the shellac coating which protects the decals had yellowed however when WD 40 was applied this disappeared although the decals are still not as bright as one would like. The name Gem can just be made out on the arm.
The machine is mounted on a cast iron base which to improve stability could be mounted on a wooden plinth. The machine uses the same shuttle and bobbin as White's Peerless machine.
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