Montreal and Plattsburgh, NY, USA
At the time of manufacture of the Helpmate, the Williams Manufacturing Company was operating out of Plattsburgh, NY and Montreal. The community of Plattsburgh, NY offered inducements to the Williams Manufacturing Co., of Montreal, to locate in their town. The company accepted a plot of land, a twenty-year water power right, twenty years' freedom from taxes and $20,000 cash!
The total investment of Williams at Plattsburgh was about $250,000. The factory was to produce the new high arm machine, completely different from the previous Williams' machines and was planned to be up and running by May 1882.
C W Williams
Courtesy of Sandy
The machine bears the C W Williams logo, so is likely to date to before 1882/3, at which time the company was referring to itself as "C W Williams now known as Williams Manufacturing Company". During 1882 the company name changed from C W Williams. The machine is a Reciprocating Shuttle machine (shuttle moves in a straight line front to back), not a Transverse Shuttle machine.
Courtesy of Jerry & Ethel Lane
The treadle irons read Helpmate in the treadle pedal. A top of the range Half Cabinet would have cost $75.
The Helpmate was advertised as Silent Running. "A high arm lockstitch shuttle machine, the lightest and quietest running. Positive Four Motion Feed (without springs). It is self threading - only two holes to thread. The shuttle is cylindrical - open end - and is absolutely self-threading; carries a large bobbin. Double feed - automatic take up. Self-setting needle (no screw driver used). Perfect tension and patent tension releaser. The bobbin winder is conveniently located and can be operated without running the machine. The loose pulley for winding the bobbins without running the machine is so constructed as to admit of an instantaneous stoppage and starting of the machine, without stopping the treadle movement - a valuable feature peculiar to the Helpmate. The stitch is regulated by a thumbscrew on the face of the arm, operating on an index plate which indicates the length of stitch being made. The mechanical principles used are the well-known lever and eccentric - the simplicity of its mechanism requires the use of but few parts. No pads are required or used to deaden noise. Has a self-lubricating needle-bar - never runs dry or permits oil to drip on the material. The cabinet work is the handsomest and finest ever put upon a sewing machine."
Williams Manufacturing Advert
Courtesy of Gavin Tester
Having worked for Bradbury and become the Gritzner agent in England, John Tester went on to become an agent for Williams (amongst other things). He was also an important mover in the budding film industry in England.
Courtesy of Nori Zukerman
Patent dates of January 1, 1884, January 21, 1884, January 24, 1884. The stitch length regulator sticks out from the base of the pillar. Later it was positioned on the bed of the machine.
Serial #308989 (under front slide plate)
Courtesy of Les Godfrey and the owner, Wilma Spencer.
The machine uses the bulging face plate that was patented by Hugh McDonald of Plattsburgh, NY, for Williams, in 1883.
The machine is badged as Tyanco: Tye and Company, based in Melbourne, had branches at several locations, their machines were badged 'TYANCO'.
Courtesy of Claire Sherwell, from the Harry Berzack Museum.
The stitch length regulating screw is on the bed of the machine. The lock patent dates are from 1893.
Courtesy of Bill Wilson
This hand cranked machine is marked both "Made in Canada" on the arm and "British Made" on the base of the pillar The only patent dates are on the shuttle plate and are 1st January 1884, 21st January 1884 and 24th January 1884.
Williams Manufacturing Advert
Courtesy of Claire Sherwell
An advertisement from 1917 for New Williams machines made in Montreal for sale during WWI. The European office was at 15 Newgate Street, London EC.