Wheeler & Wilson

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Wheeler & Wilson

Factory: Crescent Ave, Bridgeport, CT.

Offices: 625 Broadway, New York; 44 Union Square, New York

Historical Pictures

Early Low Bed

Courtesy of Anne

Serial #10823

This model has a low (and wide) bed. It is not possible to say which model it is, because the model numbering changed over time.

Wheeler & Wilson Straight Needle Machine

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

In later forms of the Wheeler & Wilson rotating hook its cavity is made much deeper, to accommodate a wider spool containing a large supply of under thread. The brush check is also done away with in the larger machines and an automatic take-up completes one stitch before another is begun.

This model represents the same type of sewing machine, but fitted with a straight needle, instead of curved. The positions of all the parts are the same as in other machines, but with the additions of a needle bar and a link to connect the needle arm to it.

This machine is adapted for heavier work than the curved-needle machine of the earlier form, and serves, in a way, as a link to connect the older machines with the new types i.e. Nos. 6, 7 & 8 machines.

Wheeler & Wilson 5 Cylinder Bed

Courtesy of David Stirling

From a French curved needle Wheeler & Wilson brochure. Machine priced at 430 Francs. In the US this machine sold for $95.

"With glass presser, new-style hemmer, and braider. This machine is of the same capacity as the No. 1, but arranged with especial reference to shirt-making or other work where sleeves are to be sewed. It is also adapted for the use of tailors, cloak-maker, shirt makers &c. The machine is mounted on a polished mahogany or black walnut table."

This is an old style machine with a different bed.

Wheeler & Wilson 6

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

1872-3. In 1882 the "Wheeler & Wilson No. 6 or 7" was priced at £8 10 0. The rotary hook of the No. 6 is the same as No. 7, but lying in the opposite direction. There is therefore a slight difference in the feeding mechanism, due to the feed cam being tuned with the hook towards the operator, while the feed is constructed to act in the opposite direction. For sewing leather and heavy fabrics. The bobbins were designed to take more thread than other machines and the model was invented by James House. By 1878 a feeding device or attachment for ornamental stitching e.g. embroidery and flossing and working buttonholes and eyelets was available for this model. Also available with a cylinder bed as illustrated further down.

Chrys' illustration is of machines sold by a French dealer in France. No. 6 is clearly seen on the rear of the pillar.

Wheeler & Wilson 6 Cylinder Bed

Courtesy of Chrys Gunther

c1887. For boot and shoe manufacturers and others, with plain table. There are two classes of these machines - one to feed from the operator, the other to feed off the arm.

Serial #47417

Courtesy of Melissa

For boot and shoe work.

Wheeler & Wilson 7

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

The rotary hook of the No. 6 is the same as No. 7, but lying in the opposite direction. See description for the No. 6.

Wheeler & Wilson 8

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Rotary machine. Glass presser foot. Takes a straight needle, rather than curved as earlier models did (with the exception of the Straight Needle machine). Produced from the mid-1870s to the late 1880s. Please note this model is not covered by Mr NeedleBar's dating, which pertains to the earlier models taking curved needles, there are no dating records available for the model 8. It is not true to say that there is a difference between US and UK handcrank mechanisms on W&W 8 machines; there wasn't a W&W factory in the UK.

Wheeler & Wilson 8 Instruction Manual

There are a number of changes to manufacture over the production period:

A. Needles: The differences and progression from the early Wheeler & Wilson machines using a curved needle, the round needle of the Wheeler & Wilson 8 and the flat sided needle of the 9/D9.

The Wheeler & Wilson 6, 7 & 8 use a Boye 27. The Wheeler & Wilson 9 uses a 127x1 / Boye 18. Early model 9 may also use the round 126x1 or substitute a 16x231/DBx1 and set it down a little.

B. On the left is the earlier 'tension pulley' (upper tension "volute" spring) from machine #481676. On the right is the later style tension pulley spring from machine # 616121.

C. A comparison of bobbin housing assemblies from an earlier, curved needle machine, the August 27, 1878 patent (no release showing) and the May 18, 1880 patent with release lever to the lower left. A later version had the release lever to the right, as shown in this album.

D. The diameter of the bobbin is larger than used in later models and the mechanism has a lever to the lower right. This is the Old Style Wheeler & Wilson 8 bobbin case shown below. It bears the patent dates of August 27, 1878 (George Dimond) & May 18, 1880 (Clark Marsh & Daniel Marsh). The August 27, 1878 date is also when Aurelius Steward's patent for the Wheeler & Wilson 8 machine was issued, improvements on James House's model of 1872, 1873 and 1876.

E. The size of the bobbin is different from the earlier type, D. and the mechanism has the release lever on the left. This bobbin case is of a style used on later Wheeler & Wilson 8 machines AND early Wheeler & Wilson 9 machines.

F. The progression of bobbin cases used by the Wheeler & Wilson 8, the type used by both the 8 and 9 and the two newer Wheeler & Wilson 9 bobbin cases. OS = Old Style. NS = New Style.

Courtesy of Marco

Serial #165361

Last patent of 1878. This machine has simple gold decal lines, and the earlier, simple, flat balance wheel. The change in balance wheel seems to have occurred around serial #s 440000-480000. If you can add to this information please email nbforum@btinternet.com or post in the NeedleBar Forum.

Courtesy of Daveofsuffolk

Serial #408985

Patent dates range from March 5th 1872 to August 27th 1878. Different decals, especially around the central gold logo on the bed of the machine. The tension is the earlier style 'tension pulley'.

Courtesy of Fay

Serial #439629

The machine has the flat rimmed older style hand wheel, but appears to have the later spring type tension. Patent dates from March 5th, 1872 through to August 27th, 1878.

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Serial #481676

The key in the centre of the base release the metal rods, allowing them to protrude into the case and lock it into position. This locking system was patented by Wheeler & Wilson in 1879 and used for the Wheeler & Wilson 8 and 9. It was later used by the Domestic company.

Courtesy of Marco

Serial 611541

Last patent of 1878. Nickeled wheel.

Wheeler & Wilson 9

Wheeler & Wilson 9 Instruction Manuals

Courtesy of John

Wheeler & Wilson No. 9

Courtesy of Mae Lopez

Class 9W for Family Use

Wheeler & Wilson 9 - Threading Diagram

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Place the spool on the spool wire, which tips back for the purpose, pass the thread under the wire, through thread check 1, down IN FRONT and once around the tension pulley 2 [all the way around], thence under thread guide 3, though take-up 4, thread leader 5, and needle bar, thread guide 6, to the needle. The thread the needle from right to left, all as seen in the cut, and draw two or three inches of thread through the eye of the needle when the take-up is at its highest point.

See also Jones Spool Threading - Early & Later in the Jones album

Singer 9W, with model descriptions

Wheeler & Wilson 9 & D-9 Patent Dates

Early machines do not have D-9 on the plate. The last reported serial number on a Wheeler & Wilson D-9 so far is 3112894 (before the switch to Singer 9W), which shows only one patent of Aug. 2nd 1892. If you have a machine with a later serial number or different patent dates quoted, please post in the Forum.

Wheeler & Wilson 9 - Early

Serial #10452

Courtesy of Fay

This machine has a spool pin that lies central in its cover, rather than the more usual angled spool pin at the center of the arm. With the help of Chrys Gunther's trade cards, the date of the spool pin was narrowed down to before 1889. The card below shows a machine with a centrally placed spool pin on the shoulder of the machine, rather than the 'U' shaped spool holder of later machines. The trade card has a copyright date of 1888.

Wheeler & Wilson 9 Iron Based

This model originally sold without cover for $20, while the wooden based machine sold for $25. Note the position of the spool pin on the arm.

Wheeler & Wilson 9

Serial #178102

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Rotary hook. Last patent date on the slide plate of March 25, 1890. It has a large domed, bentwood case with leather covered rope handle, which locks with the usual Wheeler & Wilson four sliding protrusions. The bobbin fits in like one from a W&W8. The slide plate doesn't say D-9 anywhere on it. The bobbin winder engages from within the crank. The little lever on top disengages the crank. Free standing hand crank attachment. The silver colored catch at the front of the machine bed, in the center, is original. The W&W are intertwined on the pillar.

The inverted U shaped spool pin used on Wheeler & Wilson 9 machines as well as on so many German machines was invented by Wheeler & Wilson employee, James Fletcher, in 1887 and patented in 1890.

The idea was to prevent loose coils of thread from the spool accidentally getting wrapped around a spool pin, so that tension is increased and breaks, as occasionally happens and means the operator has to stop sewing. This situation particularly occurred when using stiff or glazed thread. Using this type of holder ensured that dropped coils of thread could pass freely without becoming wrapped around a spool pin.

This trade card below shows a Wheeler & Wilson 9 with the angled 'U' shaped spool pin. The card mentions the Paris Expo of 1889 on the rear.

Wheeler & Wilson 9 and D-9 Comparisons

The older version was called the Wheeler & Wilson 9, the newer version introduced in 1895 was the D-9 (later the model became the Singer 9W after Wheeler & Wilson was taken over). There are several differences including the change from free standing hand crank to a more compact one, the size of the bed and slide plates, bed castings, spool pin, take up lever, type of bobbin, thread cutter, serial numbers, even type of needle between the Wheeler & Wilson 9 and the Wheeler & Wilson D 9.

See full description of The New W. & W. Machine.

The (earlier) Wheeler & Wilson 9 hand crank case is larger, it has a rope handle that was covered in leather (as with Wheeler & Wilson 8 machines). This was superseded by a metal handled bentwood case when the model became the D 9. This model was sold with a roll-top accessories box (see below), called a "revolving shutter box", which fits neatly under the arm of the machine. Later D 9 hand crank machines have a slim-line case that is significantly smaller than earlier bentwood cases.

The Wheeler & Wilson 9 measures 19" across the top of the case and the width of the base is approximately 10".

The bed of the machine itself is approx. 14" long x 6 1/2" wide.

The later version of the D-9 case is smaller, measuring 17" across the top of the case and the width of the base is approximately 7 1/4" wide. The case handle is recessed.

The bed of the machine is approx. 13 1/2" long and 6 1/2" wide. Note the shorter slide plate. The D-9 hand crank model was available with and without accessories box to the right.

Bobbins: The earlier machines (Wheeler & Wilson 9) take a 'bagel' shaped bobbin in a holder that slides into position, like the later Wheeler & Wilson 8. The D-9 machines use a latch arrangement for holding the bobbin, without a holder. Bobbins are not quite the same for both models; the D-9 has a small hole in the bobbin, whereas the 9 has a small hole in the holder.

It appears that the early Wheeler & Wilson 9 machines take a round shank needle ( Boye 27), whereas the later D 9 machines take a flat shanked 127x1 (Boye 18).

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Courtesy of Micael

D-9 machines #2,430,055 treadle (left) and #2,329,737 handcrank (right). This picture illustrates some of the differences, most notably in the bed-casting. The under part of the machine had the greatest change; this improvement consisted in adapting the mechanism of the "No. 11," a manufacturing machine, to the "D 9," which is exclusively for domestic use.

#229,218 & 2,878,031

Courtesy of Miller Fulks

The take-up lever on the earlier one, at the top, has a roller end much like a re-located Wheeler & Wilson 8, while the later one is self threading.

Shanks of the feet: Dimension-wise they are all identical & the bottom of the notch in the #9 & D-9 is in same location as the hole in the #8, despite slots being on different sides. Topic

Sleeve clamp: Earlier machines don't have a sleeve clamp, later ones do. If anyone sees a machine without a sleeve but two screws; one for clamping the needle & the other for aligning the flat, please send in pictures and details.

Wheeler & Wilson D-9

Serial #2417125

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

The 'W' on the pillar is composed of two Ws intertwined with an & in the middle.

To Place the Bobbin and Thread the Bobbin Case: With the left hand place the bobbin in its case with the thread leading from the top towards you, holding the end with the right hand, guide the thread into the notch and close the latch, then pull the thread from you until it is drawn up under the notch at the end of the tension spring. Or, draw the thread into the notch under the spring before closing the latch. Or, close the latch and draw the thread up around the end of the latch until under the tension spring.

This type of bobbin is often referred to as a 'bagel'. Very often the inner ring is made of brass.

Looking through a drawer frame, the wooden brake swivels from the rest on the left down onto the edge of the flywheel to help prevent the wheel turning backwards. When not required it may be rested on the pin to the left. The metal it attaches to is part of the treadle belt guide. Topic

Wheeler & Wilson D-9 (Later)

Serial #3042701

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Late style W&W decals on the arm i.e. side by side, and showing the remains of the bed decals. The decals on Wheeler & Wilson D-9s seem to be more delicate than those on many other machines of a similar age, exercise caution when cleaning them.

Wheeler & Wilson D-9 Short Bed

Serial #2770541

Courtesy of Richard Boughton

This short bed version of the popular Wheeler & Wilson D-9. You can see that it has a completely different profile from the larger version. It has 9-2 on the throat plate, which is not a sub-model as the longer bed D-9 machines also have this.

These machines were produced late in the production period of the Wheeler & Wilson 9. Machines have the late style of decals (side-by-side WW) on the pillar (if you have one with the earlier style please report it in the NeedleBar Forum).

The wooden base has treadle belt holes cut into the base and the bobbin winder may be used on a treadle as well as with the hand crank, as shown. It has a hinged accessories box. Last patent of August 2nd, 1892.

The machine bed measures 10 1/2" x 6 1/2". The case measures 14" across the top and the base is approx. 7 1/4" wide.

Wheeler & Wilson D-9 and D-9 Short Bed Comparisons

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

The short bed model has a completely different profile from the larger model. The height from the bed of the machine to the top of the face plate is 8", the same as for the Wheeler & Wilson 9 and D-9. The short bed version is closer to a 3/4 sized machine rather than a half sized model. In comparison, the Wheeler & Wilson 8's bed measures 12" x 6".

The short model's case measures 14" across the top and the width of the base is 7 1/4" wide. Compared with the larger D-9's 17" x 7 1/4".

The short machine bed measures 10 1/2" x 6 1/2". The larger D-9 is 13 1/2" x 6 1/2".

Wheeler & Wilson #9 Cabinets

Library Cabinet

Courtesy of Linda Wade

Wheeler & Wilson called this a library cabinet. Sometime in the 1890s the price for it was $80.

There were 2 other styles available. One had a regular door on the front with a wood embossed wreath design. It was $75. The other one had the entire front as a mirror that swiveled up and down to use as a dressing mirror. It was $85.

Serial #2472790

Courtesy of Pam D

The cabinet has beveled glass mirror on the front and the two glass 'windows' are intact. Some faux books have been added.

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

From the manual accompanying treadle #215764 with a last patent date of 1890.


Serial #183989

Courtesy of BarbaraB

Serial #215764

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Last patent date of March 25, 1890. The cabinet has faux-leather on the table. It was referred to as Style D. A.E. Antique Oaks, Bronze trimmings $65 (four drawers) and Style D. A.A. Oak, Bronze trimmings, or Walnut, Nickeled trimmings $60 (four drawers). Also Style C.C.G. Oak, Nickel trimmings, $55 (two drawers).

Serial #2885780

Courtesy of Arianna

Wheeler & Wilson Attachment Boxes and Attachments

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

The embossed rectangular Wheeler & Wilson box is more commonly recognised. Wheeler & Wilson's use of comb joints and push button are easy to spot. The plain rectangular box is harder to come by.

The chunkier, squarer box is rarely encountered. It was supplied with and fits easily under the arm of Wheeler & Wilson 9 machines. Although it has the same comb jointed corners and push button it is not commonly found nor recognised. The larger box with roll top, a "revolving shutter box" dates from 1895, as witnessed by Wheeler & Wilson's own advertising. One example shown accompanied a machine with a last patent date of 1892. Discussion Topic

The rosewood Wheeler & Wilson needle case with copper top is another item not commonly found. The needle case and index was invented by Calvin D Wheeler in 1859. His patent was re-issued in 1860.

This adapter enables you to use the easily obtainable and ordinary Singer Presser feet attachments on your plain sewing Wheeler & Wilson domestic machines (Wheeler & Wilson 9 and Singer 9W), instead of the hard-to-get and expensive Wheeler & Wilson Presser Feet. It was available for sale in the 1950s, having been patented by Max Ingwar for Consolidated Sewing Machine & Supply Company Inc. of New York, NY in April 1950.

Courtesy of Jane Gardener

The more commonly found embossed box is shown at the top, with the newer tin attachments box on the left and the newer still cardboard box of attachments for the Singer 9W (the Wheeler & Wilson 9 after Singer took over the company).

Courtesy of Eleanor Beck

A looper to convert the machine to a chainstitcher. The machine this came with also had a sales receipt. Other companies making similar chainstitch loopers include White, Standard & Domestic. See the White album

This box is embossed on the outside, yet has an embossed top inside the bottom. Are there any others like this out there? Topic

Courtesy of Dave King

These are standard accessories for the post-1892 D-9s.

Wheeler & Wilson Irons

Wheeler & Wilson 10

Wheeler & Wilson D10

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

An automatic cutter button-hole sewing machine complete with power transmitter. A special hook guide and hook-guide cap are used to give sufficient clearance below the throat plate for the button-hole cutting blade.

A special hook and hook-driver are made for the D.10 button-hole machine; the regular hooks and driver should not be used. The special hook is used for both whip and purl stitch; for purl stitch use the bobbin case having the long stop; to the upper thread give a heavy tension and a very light tension to the bobbin thread. For whip-stitch, use the special bobbin case with short stop and extra slots for threading. The tensions should be the same as for regular sewing.

Steam power machines can be fitted with either foot or hand clamp, foot power machines with hand clamp only. The tension release is not applied to foot power machines.

Wheeler & Wilson 11

Wheeler & Wilson 11W2

Serial # 26538

Courtesy of Claire Sherwell

Last patent of Aug. 2nd 1892.

Wheeler & Wilson 12

Wheeler & Wilson 12

Serial #L12 3 1

Courtesy of Margie.

This industrial has the late style decals from Wheeler & Wilson.

The D-12 is a Tailoring and leather sewing machine for general clothing, overalls etc and for general leather stitching, boot and shoe work etc. It is fitted with tight pulley for steam power or loose pulley for foot power.

For stitching leather the D-12 is fitted with the usual presser-foot, or with roller foot, and with the four motion feed which may be reversed so that the goods move from or towards you, or wheel feed, as preferred, and has knee presser-lifter.

The D-12 is the same as the No. 15 in size, and is used on the same stand and fits in the same table top as the No. 15, without change.

Wheeler & Wilson 15

Wheeler & Wilson 15

Serial #411

Courtesy of John