Nathaniel Wheeler (1820-1893) and Allen B. Wilson (1823-1888) founded their sewing machine company in 1853, and Allen Wilson actually filed his first sewing machine patent on November 12th, 1850.
Wheeler was the investor that Wilson needed, and Allen Benjamin Wilson was a mechanical genius.
They relocated to Bridgeport Connecticut in 1856 and won many design awards.
In 1852 Wheeler and Wilson patented a rotary hook system, and in 1854 they patented the 4 motion feed and both systems are still used to this day and are what make a modern sewing machine work as well as it does.
During this time the patent wars were fierce some and the biggest players in the industry eventually came to together to form a consortium, to save on legal fees and to share idea.
The final machine that Wheeler and Wilson sold was the D9, which was the finest machine of it’s age, released in 1887 and sold until Singer took over the company in 1905 – 1906.
Singer continued to produce the D9 as a Model W9 for some years afterwards, and until they had created designs to replace it, like the Singer 115 rotary.
It was not the quality of their machines that resulted in their decreased sales and eventual takeover, but rather the extremely high cost of their machines compared to their competitors.
The D9 sold for $75.00, and to put that in perspective, a skilled trades person was making 25 to 30 cents an hour, this machine cost over 6 weeks pay.
The D9 is a glorious machine to use, it is so smooth and so quiet, and makes a perfect stitch… the level of quality really did not get any better.
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