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Main Page Index / Canadian Makers Index

The Gardner Sewing Machine Company

61-73 James Street S, Hamilton, Ontario. Gardner was first listed in directories as an engineer in 1865. By 1867 he and Diggery Northey were partners manufacturing knitting machines, known as Gardner Northey.

In 1871 the company was formed out of a partnership between Frederick A Gardner and Frederick Macklin Willson, who became President of the company. George Lee was named as manager, William McBeth was foreman. Together with the company's mechanical engineer, William Vassie, Willson patented an early sewing machine light on behalf of the company in 1875. In 1885 the Ontario Sewing Machine Company was listed at the same address.

In 1886 the company went out of business with liabilities of $25,000, mainly to the Bank of Commerce, who held a mortgage on the real estate and machinery etc. Assets were believed to be nominally in excess of liabilities, but it was thought that unsecured creditors would receive no dividend. The original capital of $50,000 was lost. Vassie retired to Florida.

Gardner's 'Improved Sewing Machine'

Serial No. O(?) 939

Courtesy of Ludger Halbur

This is an iron based hand crank machine. Both slide plates are stamped with 939.

Gardner's 'Improved Sewing Machine'

Serial No. J(?) 7603

Courtesy of Helen Scarth


Royal Gardner

Serial No: 2445

Courtesy of Jennifer Hill

The wooden base of the machine has the logo of the seller, that of F C Andrews, Ironmonger, Bury St Edmunds. The underneath is distinctive.

Gardner 'Royal' - Shuttle Speedwell

Serial No: 15511

Courtesy of Ludger Halbur

This machine is said to be the Royal model, but it has Shuttle Speedwell on the front slide plate.


Serial No: There are 2 numbers stamped on the stitch plate: 286 and 99

Courtesy of Vangy

The bobbin winder is driven off the inside of the hand wheel. This machine appears to have been of the Lehnmann/Baach & Klie design from Germany and sold or made by Gardner, as Gardner is stamped on the slide plate. The Lehnmann model was produced in Germany for 20+ years, mainly for export using various agents, there are various differences between this model and other Lehnmanns, discussed in this Topic.

Another Hamilton Company, the Canada Sewing Machine Company, produced the Empress of India, a machine very similar to the Jones Hand RS machine and it was not uncommon for one company to produce an order of machines for another or under an agreement.