Whight & Mann

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Whight & Mann

Gipping Works, Ipswich, Suffolk, England

143 Holborn Bars, London EC

Whight & Mann were patentees and manufacturers of sewing machines.

See Topic.

Britannia Machines


This is a needle feed machine and pulls the material from left to right.

The machine is used by sitting facing the face. i.e. not with the balance wheel on the right, but at the rear. c1860-61

Excelsior machines were marked Whight & Co.

Prima Donna

Courtesy of Martin

Ad extracts:

1875 THE PRIMA DONNA LOCK-STITCH HAND SEWING MACHINE will do all the work required in a family in a most superior style. It is extremely simple and easy to learn

1876 THE PRIMA DONNA LOCK-STITCH HAND SEWING MACHINE, Awarded the First Prize in competition with all the leading makers. PRICE FOUR GUINEAS.

1877 THE PRIMA DONNA LOCK-STITCH HAND SEWING MACHINE, Unequalled for Beauty and Simplicity of Construction. It will sew any material, from the finest muslin to leather. Price complete, Four Guineas. Treadle 30s ad 35s extra.

Whight & Mann from the Newspapers

By Dave King

(Click images to enlarge)

The first mention of George Whight I can find is :-

January 12th 1861. Journal of the Society of Arts

Application for a Patent – Improvement in Sewing Machines. G. Whight, Ipswich.

March 29th 1861. The Morning Chronicle issue 29397. EXHIBITIONS OF INVENTIONS AT THE SOCIETY OF ARTS.

A sewing machine, called "The Excelsior," invented by Messrs. Whight and Mann, of Ipswich, is remarkable for its compactness, portability, low price, great simplicity, and real efficiency. It may be used by ladies without great exertion, and may do the finest and the coarsest work.

March 29th 1861, Catalogue of the Thirteenth Annual Exhibition of Inventions. (Journal of the Society of Arts)

Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Exhibitor No. 45. Improved Sewing Machine; Geo. Whight and Co., Station Road, Ipswich.

This is a machine, the needle of which, by its peculiar motion feeds itself, and thus renders the usual feed-apparatus unnecessary – thereby rendering all the parts much more simple and avoiding the difficulties incident to most machines, while working rough or loose goods – such as plush, or materials used in quilting with wadding between. The power being communicated directlt from the driving wheel to the needle, with but very few intermediate parts, reduces the friction, and renders the machine almost noiseless in its operation, while it may be worked at great speed with comparative ease. The working parts are all adjustable, and can be adapted to all kinds of sewing.

July 6th 1861 Ipswich Journal Issue 6374

Suffolk Agricultural Association.

Messrs. Whight and Mann, Ipswich, exhibited a Canadian dressing machine, for cleaning and separating all kinds of seed and grain; combined washing, wringing, and mangling machine; improved sewing machine, "The Excelsior," all of which were in operation, and attracted a great deal of attention.

October 12th 1861 Ipswich Journal Issue 6387

Box Advert, Heraldic top with "By Royal Letters Patent".

Ad for the Patent Dressing Machine only

N.B. Wanted a respectable, intelligent lad as apprentice.

October 19th/26th 1861 Ipswich Journal Issue 6388/9

Similar to above.

April 19th/26th 1862 Ipswich Journal Issue 6415/6

Larger box ad. The Excelsior!! A new and improved double thread tight-stitch sewing machine. The best and simplest machine in Europe.

Adapted for manufacturers, dress, stay, cap, and mantle makers; and unrivalled for family sewing.

Now showing a London Depot, 122 Holborn Hill EC

Exhibitors stand - Great International Exhibition, 1862 Class 7, B-Processes

Testimonials from Footman-Pretty and Nicholson, and H.& G.S. Clarke.

May 10th 1862 Ipswich Journal Issue 6418

Small box ad similar to Oct 12 1861 but no heraldic crest.

June 7th 1862 Ipswich Journal Issue 6422

Suffolk Agricultural Association.

Messrs. Whight and Mann, Ipswich, - Several specimens of the "Excelsior" sewing machine; improved dressing machine for cleaning and separating grain and seed.

July 6th 1862 Reynolds's Newspaper, London. Issue 621

Small headed linage advert for Excelsior.

Sept 8th 1862. The Morning Post Issue 27682

The International Exhibition.

Lots of good general info, W&M Excelsior gets a mention.

December 18th 1862 The Dundee Courier and Argus Issue 2919

Small Headed linage advert for Excelsior.

Repeated several times through to July 4th 1863.

July 25th 1863.Ipswich Journal Issue 6481.

Notice of Removal.

Moved from Holborn Hill to 143 Holborn Bars.

Ads for Excelsior and...

"W.& M. beg to announce they have just perfected their "New Star" Double Action Sewing Machine for Manufacturers, which, by a recently patented improvement, will sew either across or up its arm by simply turning a screw. This has always been a great desideratum, especially with Boot-makers and tailors, who are respectfully invited to call and examine before purchasing elsewhere.

February 14th 1864 Reynolds's Newspaper Issue 705 on

Numerous 'column filler type ads for the Excelsior.

Suffolk Agricultural Association, 1864.

4 Excelsior Sewing Machines

Roller Washboard

Two “New Star” Sewing machines for manufacturing. (I believe these are the Thomas patent machines)

December 10th 1864 The Wrexham Advertiser Issue 614-

Numerous small headed linage adverts for Excelsior.

January 21st 1865 Ipswich Journal Issue 6559


First Pictorial advert for the Excelsior.

April 15th 1865 Ipswich Journal Issue 6571

As Above.

May 6th 1865 to March 24th 1866 Ipswich Journal Issue 6574 - 6621

Numerous Small box adverts for Excelsior

June 12th 1865 The Morning Post Issue 28546

The Dublin Exhibition.

"The sewing machines may perhaps be classed among the machinery in motion. Their click is a familiar sound here, if not a very agreeable one. From the numerous firms exhibiting them, it might be supposed that every matron in the Queens dominions is a performer on the instrument. "Practical" people would no doubt think it an excellent substitute for the pianoforte; and, without giving an unqualified approval to the custom of perpetual strumming on the latter for the supposed entertainment of the wearied day-workers on their return to the domestic hearth, even that "exquisite" torture is preferable to the melody of the lock-stitch. The London exhibitors are the British Sewing Machine Company, Oxford Street; Grover and Baker, Regent Street; Guinness and Co., Cheapside; The well known Wheeler and Wilson, Regent Street; Whight and Mann, Holborn Bars; Wilcox and Gibbs, Regent Street; and Wilsons of High Holborn - a goodly array of Sempsters.

April 7th 1866 Ipswich Journal Issue 6623


Larger boxed pictorial advert for Excelsior

With three testimonials.

The Excelsior! An Elastic Stitch Prize Medal Family Sewing Machine.

With all latest improvements.

Price, complete, on stand £6 6s

N.B. Superior LOCK STITCH MACHINES, for BOOT WORK and TAILORING, from £7 7s each, warranted.

Whight and Mann having erected improved AUTOMATIC MACHINERY, driven by steam power, and specially adapted to the manufacture of the articles they sell, can offer immense advantages to the purchaser over mere vendors of sewing machines, both as to quality and price.


April 21st 1866 Ipswich Journal Issue 6625


Smaller version of above - no testimonials.

June 23rd As above.

In this issue Meadows advertises as Wheeler and Wilson agents.

July 14th 1866 Ipswich Journal Issue 6637


Treat to workmen. - On Saturday last, Messrs. Whight and Mann, patentees of the "Excelsior" sewing machine, Gipping Works, in this town, gave a treat to about forty of their employees. Omnibuses were hired for the conveyance of the party to Felixstowe, where they partook of a good substantial repast, and afterwards enjoyed themselves according to their several tastes, returning home in the evening well satisfied with the day's outing.

August 4th 1866 Ipswich Journal Issue 6641

Nisi Prius Court

Tyler V. Meadows. Meadows is now a Whight and Mann agent. Acting as creditor with debts due from an alleged bankrupt and thief. Needs further research to fully understand!

May 2nd 1867. The Standard Issue 1334

The Paris Exhibition

...And now I approach a subject interesting to the ladies. - Sewing-Machines. In the English department alone there are many of these at work, The "Alexandra Sewing-machine Company," "Bradbury & Co.", The Guiness Sewing-machine Company," "Pitt Brothers," "Simpson and Co.", "Thomas," "The Wanzer," "Whight and Mann," “Wilson Newton and co," and "Clements." all show machines for general or special purposes. These machines are all worked by young women, who while you are looking on can hem and sew, gather and braid, tuck and bind in an astonishing manner. Each machine will perform the whole of these operations, although, perhaps, each may execute some kinds of work better than another. In these matters there seems to be very little to choose between them; the great desideratum in a machine for general family use is that it shall perform all sorts of family work well, and be as little liable as possible to get out of order.

Every one of the exhibitors present can produce a long list of printed testimonials certifying that the sewing machines constructed by them are in no way liable to get out of order. But everyone knows that the experience of our lady-friends, whatever may be the kind of machine they have purchased goes exactly the other way.

The fact is, that undoubtedly when worked by really skilled hands, sewing machines seldom do get out of order. But such is not the case in families. Materfamilias may work very carefully, and all goes well; but perhaps she entrusts a piece of work to her daughter, aged twelve, who goes at it at great speed, and the result is that the machine has to go back to its maker to be repaired. Or perhaps materfamilias goes out, and little Jane, aged five, thinks she should like to sew her dolls frock, and to this end climbs upon a chair, and employs her brother, who is two years her senior, to work the treadles. The result is that next time the machine is required it is found to be hopelessly out of order. What is wanted, then, is strength and great simplicity of the parts.

Boulton, Townshend, and Heath, all show needles for sewing machines. Bartlett and Milward both exhibit needles and fish hooks, and Kirby and Beard their well known needles and pins.

July 9th 1867 Bury and Norwich Post. Issue 4437

Needham Market Fine Arts and Industrial Exhibition.

T.M. Bear (Bury) and W&M Exhibited.

July 16th 1867 Ipswich Journal Issue 6689B

W&M exhibited at the Royal Agricultural Society exhibition, stand 190 (Wheeler and Wilson were on stand 109, and Grover and Baker on 171).

January 18th 1868. Ipswich Journal Issue 6716

Whight and Mann were owed £21 17s 11d by bankrupt George DuPont of Lavenham, with many others.

February 8th 1868 Ipswich Journal.

A wall blew down in a gale to the rear of the W&M premises on Commercial Road.

March 28th 1868 Ipswich Journal Issue 6726

Testimonial of respect to an apprentice.

A very gratifying tribute of respect has just been paid to the memory of one of the apprentices of Messrs. Whight and Mann, sewing machine manufacturers, named Samuel Smith, who died after a short illness bought on by a cold about three months ago. The lad was only 17 years of age, but so greatly had he endeared himself to his fellow workmen by his unvarying good conduct and obliging manners that it was resolved by all the men and boys on the firm to send his bereaved parents a letter of condolence and sympathy for their loss. The letter was couched in the most feeling terms, and after acquainting the youth's friends of a special contribution having been entered into by both masters and men to erect a gravestone to his memory, concluded by saying, "We regret the loss of one who, while he was with us, was noted for his civility an steadiness of conduct."

A very chaste but neat stone, executed by Mr. Ireland, has been purchased by the contributions before mentioned and placed over the lad's grave, to stand alike as a memorial of the departed youth's worth, and of the respect with which he was held by his fellow-workmen, and also as an example to other to follow in his steps.

May 23rd 1868 Ipswich Journal Issue 6734

First mention of the W&W principle lockstitch machine. Pictorial advert of machine on conventional treadle frame.

July 1st 1868 Essex Standard Issue 1959

FIRST mention of the Alberta, pictorial advert on the tripod treadle base.

August 8th 1868 Ipswich Journal Issue 6745

Alberta advert, showing Silver Medal and advertised under CJ Meadows as agent. Furnishing Ironmongery Depot, Tavern Street, Ipswich.

Also a newsline mention of Meadows exhibiting the Excelsior and Alberta at the Ipswich Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition.

December 26th 1868 Ipswich Journal Issue 6767

Christmas Tree at the Assembly Rooms, Ipswich.

A Christmas tree and sale of fancy work, or what is generally termed a bazaar, was held at the Ipswich Assembly Rooms......In aid of the Church Missionary Society......Messrs. Whight and Mann, of the Gipping Works, which is situated in the parish of St. Peter, with great liberality, sent one of their seven guinea machines, the proceeds to be given in aid of the parish schools. The machine was at work during the day and we believe, if it was not sold at the bazaar the understanding is that it will be on some future occasion.

April 3rd 1869 Ipswich Journal Issue 6769

Chit Chat Meeting at the Ipswich Mechanics Institution.

......Mr. Hill exhibited a button hole working machine, which fairly astonished everyone who saw it, at the marvellous rapidity and precision with which it worked. Mr. George Whight (Whight and Mann) exhibited, at work, two of the Excelsior sewing machines. These are common enough now in almost every home, but the work performed on Tuesday evening was by no means common-place, and many a lady visitor lingered by the machines admiring, and perhaps envying the masterly skill with which the machine was made, by the young lady in charge, to turn off the most beautiful of embroidery work......

June 16th 1869 Daily News Issue 7215

Box advert for The Automaton Lawn Mower. "More than 2,400 Automaton lawn mowers have been sold since 1867..." 40 Brooke Street, Holborn Bars London EC.

July 31st 1869 Ipswich Journal Issue 6786

Contribution to the Ipswich Mechanics Institution.

August 7th 1869 Ipswich Journal Issue 6787

Trip from London to Ipswich on a Bicycle.

On Saturday Last, W. Nicholson, a workman in the employ of Messrs. Whight and Mann, mounted on one of their bicycles started from their shop, 143 Holborn Bars, London, at half past four in the morning, and reached Gipping Works, Ipswich, by four o'clock the same afternoon. Two-and-a-half hours were spent taking refreshment on the road. The average speed to Colchester was eight-and-a-half miles per hour. The road from Colchester to Ipswich being somewhat hilly the pace was rather slower, but the whole journey was accomplished at the average rate of eight miles per hour, the distance from Holborn Bars, London, to Gipping Works, Ipswich, being about 72 miles. The rider was by no means unduly fatigued, and returned to London the same evening. Nothing could better prove the utility of the bicycle as a means of locomotion as well as of recreation.

May 21st 1870 Illustrated Australian News P104.

Large advert.

The New Velocipede, Warranted perfect in style and finish. The Very Best, £10. Will pack in small compass.

Sewing Machines Unequalled. Lock stitch and double lock elastic stitch, to work by hand or tread. Lock Stitch Machine from 75s.; With stand 20s extra.

The New Patent Vegetable Slicer, A real boon to families, hotels, &c.

Patentees and manufacturers, Whight and Mann, Holborn-Hill, London.

September 24th Morning Post issue 29889

Police Intelligence.

Guildhall. Edward Heritage, of Rosemary Place, charged with obtaining £3 by false pretences, from Whight and Mann.

November 12th 1870 Ipswich Journal Issue 6852

Fraud upon Messrs. Whight and Mann. At the guildhall Metropolitan Police Court, on Thursday last, Frederick Wright, of Doris Street, Lambeth, was brought before Alderman Sir Robert W. Carden, on a charge of obtaining a sewing machine, of the value of four guineas, from the establishment of Messrs. Whight and Mann, 143, Holborn Bars. The prisoner went to the shop and saw Mr. Mann, and there asked for a machine in the name of Mr. Collier, a customer of the firm. The prisoner represented the matter as urgent, as the machine was wanted for a lady who was about leaving town that afternoon, and Mr. Mann let him have a machine, but saw no more of him till he was captured by the police. Prisoner pretended to be deaf and dumb when apprehended, but when he got hungry at the station house, he recovered his faculties, and requested some food might be purchased with some of the money found upon him. The prisoner, who had been previously convicted of a similar charge, was remanded.

April 29th 1871 The Graphic Issue 74

New Hand Machines for 50s listed. (Could be the Weir New England machines)

July 8th 1871 The Graphic Issue 85

FIRST advert for the Prima Donna at 84s

August 26th 1871 Ipswich Journal Issue 6932

Whight and Mann made a £2 2s donation to the Stowmarket relief fund for Widows, Orphans, Wounded and Operative Sufferers following a devastating explosion at the gun cotton works. CJ Meadows donated £1 1s.

October 14th 1871 Ipswich Journal Issue 6945

Accident. On Wednesday last, R. Campion, a lad about 15 years of age, met with a serious accident at Messrs. Whight and Mann's Sewing Machine Factory, Gipping Works. It seems he was employed to assist a workman by holding parts of his work, and at intervals of a few moments was left to himself. During one of these intervals, he was seen to reach up and clasp a bright smooth shaft working over his head, and cautioned not to do so again; but it would seem the poor lad, in a spirit of daring, again repeated the act, and was instantly drawn up, his left arm catching in a drum or pulley and dropping off. The engine was instantly stopped, and the lad was disengaged from his perilous position, and conveyed to the East Suffolk Hospital, where he is progressing favourably. Great praise is due to the engine driver (Thos. Hacon), for the prompt manner in which the engine was stopped, not more than a few seconds having elapsed before this was done.

December 16th 1871 Ipswich Journal Issue 6964

The Ipswich Fat Cattle Club's Great Christmas Show.

Whight and Mann were awarded a prize for the collection of sewing machines.

August 28th 1872 The Blackburn Standard.

Address shown as 143 Holborn and Brook Street EC.

October 12th 1872 Ipswich Journal Issue 7049

Death From A Fall. On Tuesday the coroner, SB Jackaman, Esq., held an inquest at the Orwell Hotel, Stoke, on the body of Joseph Bowels, the son of Susannah and Henry Bowells. On the Thursday previous the deceased, who is employed at Messrs. Whight and Mann's sewing machine warehouse fell from a toolbox on to the wooden floor of the machine room, the distance being but very slight, viz., 26 inches. On Saturday he complained of feeling unwell to his mother after he came home from his work and she gave him two pills. On Sunday Night Mr. Rumpf, assistant to Mr. J.H. Staddonsaw the deceased and prescribed for him. His mother applied a linseed poultice to his chest on the Sunday night, and on the Monday morning she applied a bran poultice, about an hour after which the deceased died..... Post mortem revealed bleeding on the brain, verdict accidental death.

November 9th 1872 Ipswich Journal Issue 7057

Speedwell relief fund.

Donation of £2 2s to the widows and orphans of those lost in the above steamer.

December 7th 1872 Isle of Man Times.

Normal small advert but with Agents Wanted line added.

June 18th 1873 Hampshire Advertiser

Hants and Berks Agricultural Show, Southampton. June 17 - 20th

The largest stock of sewing machines in the show. Comprising the celebrated Elia Howe, Taylor's Patent, Whight and Mann's &c.

The Great Central Sewing Machine Company, 16, 18, 20 The Arcade, Landport, have made arrangements for the display of sewing machines by all the best makers.....Easy terms, one month free trial, Carriage paid to any railway station. Prospectus, history of the sewing machine, &c. Post free on application. WM. Triggs, Manager.

August 2nd 1873 Ipswich Journal Issue 7133

Charitable donation to the East Suffolk Hospital on Hospital Saturday. £1 7s 6d

August 2nd 1873 Ipswich Journal issue 7133

A slight mishap occurred at the sewing machine manufactory of Messrs. Whight and Mann on Wednesday.

A lad named Leach it appears was at work at a machine driven by steam power, and thoughtlessly rested his arm on some of its working parts, whereby it was drawn in, and he sustained a severe laceration and some contusions, which rendered it necessary to be carried in a sling for a few days.

September 20th 1873 Ipswich Journal issue 7147

Great Show of Poultry, Dogs, Cats, rabbits Pigeons, dead poultry, butter and eggs, in the Provision Market, Ipswich. October 14th and 15th. Together with the grand exhibition of sewing machines.....W&M exhibited sewing machines and pianofortes.

October 18th 1873 Ipswich Journal issue 7155

Grand International Sewing Machine Contest at Ipswich. Whight and Mann have the pleasure to announce that the first prize for domestic hand machines was awarded to them for their Prima Donna which works either by hand or treadle, at 4 guineas. An equal first prize was also awarded to them for their "Alberta" Family treadle lockstitch sewing machine. Complete on stand from 5 Guineas. And an equal first prize for their manufacturing machines for Stay, Leather, and Cloth Work.

Also a special prize for the new Cottage Celeste piano Manufactured at their works, St. Clements, Ipswich.

June 27th 1874 Ipswich Journal issue 7229

Annual Show of the Suffolk Agricultural Association.

Messrs. Whight and Mann exhibited their Celeste Piano - we were going to say in motion they were so near the machinery - but they were played by Mr. C Batchelor, of London. These instruments were greatly admired, and several sales were effected. It was a very pleasant rest from the labours of the day to sit beneath the shade of the trees, near Messrs Whight and Mann's stand, and listen to the music discoursed by Mr. Batchelor for the benefit of all comers.

Whight and Mann displayed:-

The Celeste Piano,

The Alberta Davenport, a sewing machine or secretary, silver plated,

The Alberta No.9 in half cabinet case, highly polished, machine silver plated.

Four varieties of Alberta,

The Family machine (on Singers principle),

Prima Donna lockstitch,

Patent Excelsior,

The Young American, a single thread machine - "The Best in Market!"

August 8th 1874 Ipswich Journal issue 7241

A disorderly Apprentice. - Clement Edward Butcher, an apprentice at Messrs. Whight and Mann's sewing machine manufactory, was charged with disobeying orders and using obscene language to the foreman, Mr. Arthur James Smiles, on the 30th July last. Mr. B. Birkett appeared for the prosecution; Mr. Watts for the defendant.

It appeared that on the day in question the defendant was ordered by Mr. Smiles to do certain work as he was making a great disturbance, but this he refused to do, and at the same time he commenced to use the most disgusting language. Mr. Smiles re-iterated his order a second and even a third time, but with no other result than to call forth repeated refusals from the defendant to return to his work, and fresh volleys of bad language and abuse. Defendant expresses regret at his conduct, and as Mr. Whights object is only to secure good order in his shops, the Magistrates accepted the defendants expression of contrition, and the case was dismissed on payment of the expenses 10s. (He remained in employment, see March 18th 1876)

December 12th 1874 Ipswich Journal issue 7276

Concert of sacred music by amateurs. - On Wednesday evening a company of amateur musicians met in the School-room of the Wesleyan Meeting House, Museum-Street, for the purpose of giving a concert......Thanks to W&M for the loan of a Celeste piano.

Advert in the 1875 Kellys Directory.

January 9th 1875 Ipswich Journal issue 7284.

Thanks to W&M for the loan of a Celeste piano. St. Peters, Ipswich.

January 19th 1875 Ipswich Journal issue 7287.

Accident. On Saturday last a young man named Edward Patrick was at work with a circular saw at Messrs. Whight and Mann's sewing machine manufactory, when the saw slipped and lacerated one of the fingers of the right hand very severely, at the same time nearly dividing his thumb.

February 27th 1875 Ipswich Journal issue 7298.

Thanks to W&M for the loan of a Celeste piano for the Annual Soiree of the Ipswich Working Men's College.

August 7th 1875 Ipswich Journal Issue 7342.

Charitable donation to the East Suffolk Hospital on Hospital Saturday. £4 1s 5d

August 7th 1875 Ipswich Journal Issue 7342.

Workmens Holidays. On Saturday The employees of Messrs. Whight and Mann, the celebrated sewing machine manufacturers, Gipping Works, had a day at Felixstowe. The party, numbering about 50, were conveyed to the popular little watering-place in four vehicles, each drawn by a pair of horses, supplied by Mr. George Fenn, job-master, St. Matthews. The day was delightfully fine, and being behind some good cattle the party greatly enjoyed the ride by a road which runs through some of the richest land in the country, and just now furnished by some splendid crops of corn.

Arrived at Felixstowe, the party found abundant means of amusing themselves, both before and after a substantial dinner, provided by Host Cox, of the Ordnance. Mr. Pyman admirably fulfilled the duties of chairman. Various toasts were drunk, including, of course, the "Health of the Members of the Firm, and continued prosperity." The party arrived at Ipswich in good time, having much enjoyed their outing, and having a grateful remembrance of the exceedingly liberal way in which they had been treated by their employers.

In fact, they did not expend all the money voted for the holiday, the sum of 25s. being on hand, and this, it was decided to hand over to the Hospital (Part of the above article)

October 16th 1875 Ipswich Journal Issue 7362

Advert for Air-Diffusing Fire Bars. For Steam Boiler, Furnaces, &c.,

Will produce more steam in less time, and with a smaller expenditure of fuel....testimonials.

January 8th 1876 Ipswich Journal Issue 7386.

Box advert.

The Prima Donna

Lock Stitch Hand Sewing Machine

Is eminently suited for a New Years Gift!!!

Price 4 Guineas.

Because 1st. It embodies every recent improvement, and has been pronounced "The Best" in open competition with all others.

2nd. It is so easily acquired.

3rd. It is portable, exceedingly useful and does all kinds of family sewing in most superior style.

4th. Because having improved oil guards it does not soil the work.

5th. It is a "Thing of Beauty" which has been declared "A joy for ever."

Price lists free by post.

March 18th 1876 Ipswich Journal Issue 7406.

Offence under the Workmen and Employers' act. (See August 8th 1874)

Clement Edward Butcher, Apprentice to Messrs. Whight and Mann, was charged under the Workmen and Employers Act of 1875 with neglecting his work. Compensation claimed, 6s 1d.

The defendant did not appear.

Mr. Pollard opened the case for the prosecution, stating that he believed it was the first case of the kind brought before the bench under the Act. The defendant had been a great deal of trouble to his employers, and had previously been before the magistrates on a charge of neglecting his work and using foul language. The prosecutors consented to withdraw the case on the defendants promising to behave better in the future, and to do his work properly. The defendant was apprenticed on January 14th 1871. However, his conduct was not improved, for in 1873 he lost 137 hours, in 1874 83 hours, in 1875 303 hours and in the present year he had lost 90 hours. Mr. Pollard, after explaining the Act of Parliament on the question, and pointing out that the case could be heard in the defendants absence, and the Magistrates might either come to their decision at once, or adjourn the case until such a time as the defendant did appear. Called...

Policeman William Garman, who proved the service of the summons.

Arthur James Smiles, Messrs. Whight and Mann's foreman, said from the third of March to the 9th defendant lost 25 1/2 hours. He had lost 864 hours from the time that he had been apprenticed. Defendant came to work at 9 o'clock on Monday morning, when the witness heard Mr. Whight tell the defendant that a summons had been issued against him. Defendant had not been to work since Monday dinner-time. Witness proved that the proper addresses of all the apprentices were kept at the works.

The Magistrates, after some conversation, withheld their decision until Monday.

August 5th 1876 Ipswich Journal Issue 7446.

Donation 17s 3d to the Patteson Cobbold Memorial Children's Hospital.

September 9th 1876 Ipswich Journal Issue 7456.

East Suffolk Hospital Saturday. Donation £2 5s. 6d.

September 23rd 1876 Ipswich Journal Issue 7460.

Corn Exchange, Ipswich.

Important sale of Second-Hand sewing machines. Removed for the convenience of sale. Berry and Harrison have received instructions from the Singer Manufacturing Company to sell by auction on Wednesday, 4th of October 1876, 60 second-hand sewing machines, by Thomas; Whight and Mann; Britannia; Wheeler and Wilson; Newton, Wilson and Co.; Howe Co., and other makes. The above machines have been taken in exchange for the celebrated Singer machines, and will be sold without the slightest reserve. Catalogues may be obtained at the auctioneers' offices, 10, King Street, Ipswich. Sale to commence at 11 o'clock punctually.

September 26th 1876 Ipswich Journal Issue 7461.

Taking Carbolic Acid by Mistake. - A young man at work yesterday (Monday) morning, with others, at Messrs. Whight and Mann's sewing machine manufactory, Princes Street, taking up the wrong bottle, drank some carbolic acid instead of beer. He vomited a good deal immediately after, and those in attendance deemed it advisable to remove him to the Hospital, and we suppose he was removed accordingly and that he received the careful attention that his case required; though, when our reporter called at that Institution for information, as usual on the day before our publication, he was told there was nothing to report.

September 30th 1876 Ipswich Journal Issue 7462

Accidents:- On Thursday a lad named William Walford, an apprentice at Messrs. Whight and Mann's sewing machine manufactory, was at work at a cutting machine, when by some means one of his fingers got caught in it, and was badly cut.

October 4th 1876 Trewman's Exeter Flying Post. Issue 5825.

Sewing Machines. _ No very considerable amount of time has elapsed since the introduction of the sewing machine, but that most useful invention has nevertheless found its way into tens and hundreds of thousands of homes in all parts of the civilised globe; and wherever it has been adopted it has been hailed with the greatest satisfaction.

At least those machines which have been manufactured by acknowledged good makers have become welcome household visitants, just as, of course, the presence of inferior machines has been anathematised and deplored. Materfamilias, has however, her ownself chiefly to blame if she makes an injudicious selection of a sewing machine. Oftentime she is led away by inventions which are over-elaborate, and she speedily finds out to her cost that the machine she has selected is too complicated in principle and too apt to get out of repair to be really useful. Of course, it would be impossible in introducing an invention of domestic utility to arrive at once to perfectibility; defects of a more or less serious nature are sure to be discovered in the earlier types and patterns.

It is not, in fact, until many years have elapsed and much labour and money been expended, that a really perfect machine can be turned out. Messrs. Whight and Mann's "Prima Donna Lock-stitch Hand Sewing machine" not only does all kinds of sewing, but the defects of other machines have been most carefully avoided in its construction. It is, indeed, a marvel of excellence and cheapness, its price being only four guineas, or with treadles 30s or 35s extra. The "Family Sewing Machine," manufactured by the same firm on the widely-known and approved Singer principle, has no equal or superior in the market, and their "Duchess Single Thread Machine," owing to its cheapness, durability, and simplicity of construction, is a most useful invention. With regard to the amount of wear and tear which Messrs. Whight and Mann's machines will stand we may mention that instances have come to our knowledge in which they have not needed repair although they have been constantly worked for more than a dozen years. Precautions should, of course, be taken by purchasers so that no spurious imitations or inventions be palmed off on them, Messrs. Whight and Mann, 12 Holborn Bars, E.C. the sole patentees and manufacturers of the above-mentioned machines. (Civil Service Gazette, Sept 16th)

February 10th 1877 Ipswich Journal Issue 7499.

Advert as Ipswich agent for Remington Typewriters.

February 10th 1877 Ipswich Journal Issue 7499.

The Ipswich Scientific Society.

The members of the Ipswich........Messrs. Whight and Mann, of the Gipping Works, Ipswich, as agents for Messrs. E. Remington and Sons, of London, had a very pretty collection of firearms, adapted for military and sporting purposes, and some of the latter were of a quality that must have gladdened the eyes of gentlemen fond of sport. In the collection were some very compact little pocket pistols......In the centre of the hall, Messrs. Ransome, Simms and Head exhibited one of the celebrated typewriters manufactured by Messrs. Remington and Sons, London. (Description of a typewriter, what it is and how it works) W&M are agents. Also a Celeste piano for general use of the visitors.

February 22nd 1879 Ipswich Journal Issue 7712


Whereas an advertisement has been issued by one W. G. Wilding, stating that :-

Having bought at the late sale at Messrs. Whight and Mann's, Gipping Works, Ipswich, Several Hundred Prima Donna Machines At a great bargain, W.G.W. is now offering to the public A GENUINE Prima Donna Sewing Machine, (Warranted), For 38s. cash (Usual price £4 4s.).

Note the address -

27 and 29 St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich.

And whereas such advertisement is designed to induce the public to believe that he said W.G. Wilding has a right to sell the Genuine Prima Donna Sewing Machines manufactured by Messrs. Whight and Mann, all of whose finished stock, good will, and trade marks, have been taken over by Messrs. George Whight and Co., and the words "Prima Donna" duly registered by them as their Sole Property, and which are legibly inscribed upon every machine manufactured by them of their predecessors. Now George Whight and Co. hereby state to the public that the said W.G. Wilding purchased at the sale, to which his advertisement alludes, sundry loose parts, materials, or incomplete portions of machines, BUT NOT ONE COMPLETE PRIMA DONNA SEWING MACHINE. They therefore caution the public against purchasing any Prima Donna sewing machine unless the words "PRIMA DONNA" are legibly inscribed thereon; and they hereby caution the said W.G. Wilding against offering for sale to the public any machine bearing their REGISTERED TRADE MARK of "Prima Donna" unless the same has been finished by them. And further, they hereby offer a REWARD OF TEN POUNDS to anyone who will give such information as shall lead to the conviction of any person who shall so mark any machine not being of their manufacture.

MESSRS. GEO.WHIGHT & Co. have the pleasure to subjoin the following from gentlemen of unexceptional standing, from which the public will judge how far credence may be given to the statements contained in the advertisements of W.G. Wilding: - [Copy.]

11 Billiter Square, London. 19th February, 1879.

Gentlemen, - Our attention has been called on to an advertisement of Mr. Wilding's in an Ipswich paper, and, as we were the auctioneers who sold at the Gipping Works on behalf of Messrs. Whight and Mann, we beg to state that no complete Prima Donna Machines were sold at the recent sale or included in the catalogue; all the finished stock having been purchased by you at our valuation. We are, Gentlemen, yours faithfully, Fuller Horsey, Sons & Co.. Messrs. George Whight & Co., Gipping Works, Ipswich.

[Copy.] Museum Street, Ipswich. 17th February, 1897.

I Hereby certify that I attended the late sale at Gipping Works, Ipswich, professionally, and on behalf of George Whight & Co., and that no finished stock nor complete Prima Donna were sold, nor included in the catalogue, but only work in conversion, castings, old, obsolete, or defective machines, by other makers, which at various times were taken in exchange by the late firm, and these WERE SOLD AT OLD IRON PRICES; and I further certify that W.G. Wilding did not by one or any number of complete genuine Prima Donna Machines; all such were taken over with the other finished stock by Messrs. George Whight & Co. at valuation. (Signed) John Fox.

THE CELEBRATED PRIMA DONNA Hand Sewing Machine, Can (for a Limited Time only) be had at Half Price at George Whight & Co.'s Gipping Works, Ipswich. N.B. - Early Application Invited.

March 15th 1879 Ipswich Journal Issue 7718

To Let. - The whole or part of the extensive manufacturing premises known as Gipping Works, lately carried on by Messrs. Whight and Mann, manufacturers of the Prima Donna sewing machine, with engine, boiler, forge, and bellows, &c. (if required). - For particulars apply to W.F. Minter, Fore Street, Ipswich.

March 15th 1890 Ipswich Journal Issue 9227

Sewing Machine thoroughly repaired; reasonable charges. Also fittings, needles, shuttles, &c. for sewing machines supplied. - C.B. Bartlett, Westgate Street, Ipswich. (Late with Whight and Mann.)

The following are the results of a search for GEORGE WHIGHT, following the death of Aldridge Mann.

April 19th 1879 Ipswich Journal Issue 7728

George Whight & Co., Late Whight and Mann, Sewing Machine Manufacturers, Beg to inform their friends, customers, and the public generally that they have SOLD the GIPPING WORKS, and REMOVED their FACTORY to Circus Road, St. Pancras, London, And will, in a few days, OPEN a BRANCH SALE ROOM at 39, BUTTER MARKET, IPSWICH, with a STOCK of MACHINES of the most novel and improved construction. All kinds of Machines promptly Repaired. Please observe Address - 39, Butter Market, Ipswich, and 143, Holborn Bars, London.

December 2nd 1882 Pall Mall Gazette Issue 5541

Large boxed advert for The Musical Cabinetto. £6 6s,smaller instruments from £2 15s. 143 Holborn Bars.

December 24th 1884 The Standard. Issue 18859

The Fire at Windsor

The Queen, who was anxious to have particulars respecting the fire at Windsor Station, has had every enquiry made through Sir Henry Ponsonby, and is gratified to know that the was an accidental one, and was not caused by any explosive matter. The damage is estimated at between £3000 and £4000, there being upwards of 200 packages burnt. Messrs. George Whight and Co., of Holborn Bars, ask us to state that the reeds and some other "suspicious looking articles" found after the recent fire at Windsor Station, were portions of a musical aurephone consigned to them by a gentleman at Windsor.

July 3rd 1892Reynolds's Newspaper.


Some of the most beautiful and best made machines we ever saw, have been consigned to us by a large firm, to be sold for any price we can get to clear them. Silver plated all over; with the new improved shuttles. Thorough practical LOCKSTITCH MACHINES, doing some of the best work we ever saw. Call and see them. The stock won't last long; there is only 400 of them. No machine you give ten Guineas for can do better work. We will take them back willingly if they do not please you. We are going to sell them at 8s.6d each, packed in a box, carriage free. The first 400 people who send will have them. If you live near London call at once; it will pay you handsomely. If you live too far away get your friends in London to call for you, or else send at once 1d for specimen of work. It is no use writing in a month's time for them. We make this special offer to the readers of this paper on the understanding that they send within fourteen days. The same beautiful machines, with single instead of double thread, for 5s. 6d. each, carriage free. Extra needles 1s. per dozen. Extra spools 6d. each. Oil can 4d. Oil 4d. Please cut out and send coupon with order. If you don't want a machine, don't send. If you do want one, or a friend does, send at once and secure one of the best bargains we ever offered.

"Reynolds's" Coupon, Entitles holder to ONE "EXCELSIOR" SEWING MACHINE, carriage free, at above prices if ordered within fourteen days. (Signed) J. Theobald and Co. Wholesale Manufacturers' Agents, 43, Farringdon-road, London, E.C.

(It is not clear if this is redundant W&M stock or another machine)

December 24th 1894 The Standard Issue 21989.

Large advert for The Aeolian, Looks like an upright piano, sounds like an orchestra. Prices from £21 to £155 according to style and finish. George Whight and Co. 225 Regent Street, London. W.

May 11th 1906 Journal of the Society of Arts (Courtesy of JSTOR)


George Whight. – Mr. Whight, who died on April 7th last, was a very old member of the Society of Arts, as he was elected in 1866. He was born at Ipswich in 1829. He began life by joining his father’s business – that of a builder. From 1856 to 1859 he was in Canada, and in the latter year he returned to England, bringing with him the patent for a sewing-machine light enough to be worked by a woman. This machine, the “Whight and Mann Excelsior,” he made at the Gipping Works, Ipswich.

In 1880 he bought from America a patent for a mechanical musical instrument. Mr. Whight saw that there was a future for such instruments, though no one had at that time dreamed of their possible development, and became sole licensee for England.

As time went on, Aeolians, orchestrelles, and pianolas came to be in great demand, and the business became an assured success. The English music publishers then complained that the perforated music rolls were an infringement of copyright, and threatened to prohibit their production. Mr. Whight offered to pay a royalty, though he was legally protected by the Bern Convention, which classed these instruments as musical boxes. They refused this offer and took the case into the courts. In 1899 the important case of Boosey v. Whight was tried. The question at issue was whether copyright music could lawfully be played on mechanical instruments such as the Aeolian, pianola and the like. Mr. Justice Stirling took six weeks before giving his judgement, and then decided in Mr. Whight’s favour. Boosey carried the case to the Court of Appeal, when judgement was again given in Mr. Whight’s favour. In the meantime the copyright question was under discussion by a Select Committee in the House of Lords. It was held that any intra-territorial interference with mechanical musical instruments would create a conflict with the international law as contained in the Protocol to the Bern Convention. Lord Thring is reported to have said :- “The action arose in this way. I will take a complete case rather than argue it in an abstract form. Boosey the publisher has a copyright song. The Aeolian people go and buy a copy of this song and transcribe it in to a sort of hieroglyphic shorthand which the instrument can understand and nobody else can, and I venture to put it to your Lordships that ought not to be interfered with.”

In September, 1899, when the law case was over, Mr. Whight sold his business together with the patent rights Aeolians and pianolas, and after travelling a little, settled in Highgate. In December 1903, he had an attack of cerebral haemorrhage but partially recovered and for two years was a cheerful and patient invalid. He had never married and had no relatives. He died on April 7th, 1906.