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dr0wsydruid

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I posted this on reddit and was directed to Quiltingboard, where I was then pointed in the direction of this forum. I may have my facts wrong here, so please correct me if I'm wrong. The first bout of research for this situation was done with not much sleep, and thus far, nobody has told me I'm wrong, so until I know I am, I'll carry on with the info I have here!

I have an imgur gallary that I'll link in a comment, with all of these images captioned. The captions point out the parts, and some of the hard-to-read lettering for ease of access. 

I got this old machine from a goodwill near Seattle a few nights ago, and have been unable, despite all my below research, to find its model number and origin. There are so many little inconsistencies with my machine and others I've found--but I'm not very good with sewing machines yet, so I'm hoping you lovely people can help me find out more. This post is a bit of a mix between the reddit post, the QB post, and my own current newly-found information. Thanks to OurWorkBench on QB, I've gathered more points to dive into later tonight, but for now, this is what I have:


The Domestic Sewing Machine Company existed in various forms between the 1860's to 1924, at which point it was taken on as a subsidiary of the White Sewing Machine Company. It was maintained as such until the Great Depression, when the company (Domestic) simply faded out. From that point, the White Sewing Machine company continued using the logo and machine concept from Domestic, likely until it's own closure years later.


The company was started by William A. Mack in 1861, and survived as simply "W. A. Mack & Co." until 1869, when it became Domestic Sewing Machine Company. They acquired Grover and Baker co. in 1875m and the rest is afore-written history.


The first patent for a William A. Mack machine that I can find is Patent US 38.592. It was issued in May of 1863, and it was for an early vibrating shuttle sewing machine. The patent plate on my machine can be found in the gallery of photos for this identification adventure. The first date on it is PAT Jan. 18-87. I assume this to be January 1887, because this company didn't exist in 1997, nor did White Sewing Machine Company.


(In the early 1950's, White S.M. Co. had lost a contract with Sears, Roebuck, & Co., that had made up over 38% White's business. By the mid 1950's, White S.M. Co. had renamed itself to White Consolidated Industries, after their aquisition of Kelvinator, Gibson, Philco, and Franklin. They moved on to purchase Westinghouse, and Frigidaire, and were eventually aquired by Electrolux in 1986.)


So, it's reasonable to assume that this machine is old enough to be called an antique--or at the very hopeful least, old enough that you lovely people here might be able to tell me where and when it is from.


I went down a patent rabbit-hole, and managed to only find that yes, Domestic Sewing Machine Co. existed, yes, there are plenty of patents from William Mack, and yes, he came from Ohio. Unfortunately, not much else--but then, I'm not exactly the best with research-capability, so maybe I didn't use my patent-searching correctly enough to find anything useful. (OurWorkBench has since given me info on patents that they were able to find from the patent-list on the throat/needle-plate, so more info on this to come!)


Now, on to my observations:


-It's from Domestic.


-It is a rotary machine.

-I have managed to open the bottom of the machine, and stamped upon the bottom, next to the internal workings, is D. 207. Nothing turned up when I searched for that, but I didn't get to search very deeply before dinner had to be made. 


-I can find NO Domestic Sewing Machine Co products that have the same throat/needle plate design as this one. Nor, within my research, have I found a Domestic machine that has a tension knob/stitch length knob where mine does. (From what I understand, that is not something that changes from machine to machine if it's the same model--each machine of a model looks the same.) (The needle plate looks similar to some Free/New Home machines, as per OurWorkBench's research, but my machine didn't come with any attachments that might make identification easier.) 


-To me, the throat/needle plate looks very similar to several models of Singer machines. In fact, the time period from whence this machine originated is completely full of machines that look very similar to Singer machines. The issue with that is that this is NOT a Singer branded machine, and unless a die-hard Domestic fan repainted this possible once-upon-a-Singer machine, it is unlikely to be productive to assume it's anything but Domestic.


-Domestic sewing machines are the source of the high-arm machine style that Singer adopted.


-When White S.M. Co. received Domestic as a subsidiary, they continued to manufacture Domestic branded machines. I can only find White branded machines that share this style--again, it is definitely Domestic, and I doubt a fan of Domestic had the gumption to repaint this beauty at any point, to display Domestic instead of White S.M. Co.'s branding. (It could be from after White acquiring Domestic, but White was a much larger and more popular company during the time frame I believe this machine to be made, and I would have been able to find the model number with relative ease, if that were the case.)


-It's pre-1930 at the very least.


-Its serial number is 1337575.


-It has a light attached, with the imprint "Leviton 75 W. 125 V.".


-Leviton was founded in 1906--so this machine is post 1906, if the machine has been un-altered.


-It has a motor, that has KF 8 60 imprinted on the underside. Its brand is nothing I can find (Universal Motor, Type U)


-The motor has seen a LOT of wear, and has wiring degradation enough that I do not plan to plug this in until it's been fixed up.


-There are holes along the back side of the machine where the motor and light are located, and I can find no explanation for their existence. (A reddit user has told me that these holes are likely oil access points!)


-The placement of the tension knob is something that I cannot find on ANY machines I have looked again. (Again, my research may not be top-notch, so pardon if I've missed something here.) (Again, OurWorkBench came through for me here--they found similar tension on some Standard machines. From what they found, William Mack has two patents that correspond with the ones listed on the throat/needle plate area; 772423, and 778202. Both of those patents were assigned to Standard Sewing Machine Co.--which was confusing, until they pointed out that Standard may have been the manufacturer. The issue here, is that some Standard machines have the stitch-length on the throat/needle bed, like mine does--but those machines don't look like mine.)


-The machine itself is not electric, but rather, the case offers mounts for the motor's cable system. It appears as though, with a handle on the balance wheel, this machine could function as a hand crank system.


-The balance wheel doesn't currently have a handle--but there may have been one. That, and the above point, lead me to believe that this machine may never have been electric at it's time of manufacturing. I could be wrong, but that's why I'm here! (I've since found that it was likely electric at the time of production, with hand-cranking as a secondary operation option.)


All in all, it is a sewing machine, and it is definitely old. I'm not interested in selling it at all, nor am I particularly concerned about it's worth--but I'd love to know the specifics (or as close to as I can get) of it's origin, where it's been, and who it's been with. If anyone has any leads on this at all--especially a model number--please let me know! I wouldn't mind knowing it's worth, but like I said, it's overall not my main or even adjacent concern. Above all else, I really do want to repair/restore this machine and use it if I'm able!

Front View.jpg

Front View with Foot Pedal.jpg

Back View Without Motor and Light.jpg

Back View incl Motor and Light.jpg

Patent list on the throat-needle plate.jpg

  

A Model Number, Hopefully.jpg

Beneath-The-Scenes.jpg

Internal Mechanism Access, Bookshelf full of Christmas Candy, and Part.jpg

Balance Wheel, Bobbin Threader, Detached Motor.jpg

Motor.jpg    

Motor Mount Area and Oil Access Holes.jpg

Case Buckles.jpg

Case Top.jpg

Internal.jpg  Behind The Faceplate.jpg  Bobbin Case and Compartment.jpg  Electric Housing On The Case.jpg 

Face Plate, Presser Bar Lifter, My Husband's Blurry Arm.jpg  Tension Knob and Serial Number.jpg  Branding.jpg  Throat-needle Plate, Patent List, Presser Bar, Needle Bar, Feed Dogs, .jpg

 

 

  

 


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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #2 
Well now, this is going to be a little bit of fun...

Your post is pretty dead-on and quite factual. The machine is indeed a Domestic Rotary Sewing machine - sort of. 

Sewing machine history always ends up a game of who bought who when, and who made what machine with which label... and you've stumbled into just that. The sewing machine above is from the period between 1908 and 1924. Let's see if I can narrow it down more. Domestic named machines began life in Norwalk Ohio, but were produced in New Jersey until just around 1906. From 1906 on "Domestic" machines were produced in Buffalo New York - which doesn't mean much... yet.

In the fall of 1906 in Buffalo New York a group of men began the "King" Sewing Machine company with hopes of selling their machines directly to customers from a factory to be built in Buffalo. In 1908 production began with an initial machine that very closely imitated the Singer model 27. In 1909 however, Sears & Roebuck took notice of King and helped to finance a much larger factory in 1912. Sears had all sorts of companies provide them with 'labelled' machines and the Domestic Sewing Machine Company began providing Sears with Singer model 27 copies. Domestic also made the Franklin in 1911 and Minnesota Model A in 1914.

The Standard Sewing Machine company was begun by William A. Mack... and he sold his interests in 1884 (and patents) to James Blake. William then teamed up with his brother Frank and began the Domestic Sewing Machine Company. (explains the patents on the slide plate).

Adding together everything I've read, it appears as though both the King and Domestic sewing machines were made in the same factory, and in 1924 when White acquires Domestic, they also acquire King. Somewhere in there means that Domestic and King had the same owners - or merged.

The "Universal" motor on your machine is too new to be original. It's been replaced somewhere along the line. Electric sewing machines didn't show up until the mid nineteen teens... and "motor kits" arrived at about the same time. Your machine could have started out as a treadle and had a motor kit added, or it might just make into the mid nineteen teens and have been sold with a motor. So I think we've narrowed it down some. Post 1908, pre 1924, Buffalo NY. Looks a lot like the King Rotary...

Screen Shot 2020-02-22 at 4.48.20 AM.png 

and... even more like the "Economy Rotary" (sold by Sears)

Antique-Economy-6-Drawer-Treadle-Sewing-Cabinet.jpg 



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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
... The Standard Sewing Machine company was begun by William A. Mack... and he sold his interests in 1884 (and patents) to James Blake. William then teamed up with his brother Frank and began the Domestic Sewing Machine Company. (explains the patents on the slide plate).
...


According to https://digital.hagley.org/islandora/object/islandora%3A1980131/datastream/PDF/download which has a bio of William Mack states that he formed Domestic in NJ  and then withdrew from Domestic in 1884 and founded Standard with Frank Mack and capitalists.  The patents from 1904 ( 772423  and 778202)  were by Mack and assigned to Standard.

Janey

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JWrobel

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Reply with quote  #4 
In addition to oiling holes, some machines come with holes in various places for access to screws, sometimes for adjustment, and sometimes to hold things together.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OurWorkbench


According to https://digital.hagley.org/islandora/object/islandora%3A1980131/datastream/PDF/download which has a bio of William Mack states that he formed Domestic in NJ  and then withdrew from Domestic in 1884 and founded Standard with Frank Mack and capitalists.  The patents from 1904 ( 772423  and 778202)  were by Mack and assigned to Standard.

Janey


Yep, I had that backwards. The important thing in this case is the 1904 date and William Macks hand in both companies. 1904 is equally interesting in that James Blake died. He had taken over at Domestic and had moved the factory to Newark NJ (offices in NYC). So, who exactly took over at Domestic is a question to be answered and when did the company move operations to Buffalo? We do know that some time after 1910 Domestic began manufacturing machines there for Sears - and that there was some as of yet known connection with King. Also, we know that it was Domestic that replaced Davis as the maker for the Minnesota line for Sears... the connections however are vague.

*Note also that Sears purchased King Sewing Machine Company and factory in 1915.

Also, I wanted to clarify that Universal did make electrical motors for sewing machines but in the beginning they were known as the Racine Universal Motor Company and the labels for the early electric sewing machine motors (19teens through 20s) had way different metal labels. These early labels stretched into the 30s; not a match with the age of the machine. The motor mount, however, could be original.

What we have here is a gap of available information concerning the Domestic sewing machine company from the time of it's 'founders' death (James Blake) in 1904 to 1910 when Sears & Roebuck contract with Domestic to replace Davis as a company that made machines for Sears. From 1910 then to 1924  (when White purchases Domestic and King) Domestic manufactured machines under the Franklin and Minnesota name... probably in Buffalo. It's an interesting gap in history!

Also of note... is that pieces of the original 1908 King factory still exist in Buffalo... which (to me because I'm weird) sounds like a great place for a sewing machine museum! (If it wasn't so cold, and snowy, and Buffalo)

Screen Shot 2020-02-22 at 7.21.04 PM.png 

No luck saving any of Kilbowie, and it looks like the Necchi plant in Pavia is coming down. Hardly a trace of Singer in Monza.


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dr0wsydruid

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Reply with quote  #6 

I've found this as well, in my researching. I was cut short from progress last night, but will be making clear headway tonight with my husband assisting me. Responses to all of your helpful comments to come as well!

unknown.png 


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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #7 
Found a couple of things about James Blake.  One is that it appears he wasn't involved much with the company after 1891.  It also appears there was two different entities - one was Domestic Sewing and Domestic Manufacturing.  It isn't real clear as to how they really were separate, but I found this out by reading (actually skimming) a very long court case. It looks like he may have had a brother (found out relationship in Sewing Machine Times link later) named James W, who later in that case was identified as J. Woodruff Blake.  https://casetext.com/case/blake-v-domestic-manufg-co  Another item I found regarding James was after his death, there was a piece that starts on the lower left column and continues to the top middle column of page 5. https://digital.hagley.org/islandora/object/islandora%3A2003738/datastream/PDF/download

I don't have the link, but I noticed that the ads in the Sewing Machine Times for Domestic Sewing machines from the turn of the century - 1899 - 1901 that it lists "New Domestic Sewing Machine Co" for New York.  But in the March 10, 1903 issue it states the successor was "Domestic Sewing Machine Co" in New Jersey.  The 1905 ads for Domestic have the large script "D" for their logo.  I also noticed that by 1911 the ads had the logo "D" with a woman in the center, but it is different than the woman on this machine.  So I feel we may be narrowing the time line to be somewhere between 1911 and 1924??

Janey


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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #8 
Janey, I agree. I'm perhaps a tad overwhelmed with information but with everything I've read so far if I had to pick a year in the office pool, 1922 just speaks to me. I wish I knew why, lol. Also an interesting post from DD, the last entry under 'machines made' the 'Domestic Rotary 1930 1931... is going to be a little difficult if you sold the company back in 1924, but well, okay. I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't two separate and different companies - but that doesn't make sense either!

*Honestly hate to admit just how much fun this is...

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #9 
Oh my goodness. What a can of worms!

(*note: updating and correcting as more info comes in; read as 'work in progress')

I'm going to approximate dates here because it's just wildly confusing. Prior to 1885... there were three specific locations for the Domestic Sewing Machine Company. There was the company headquarters in New Jersey, then the Domestic Manufacturing Company in Ohio, and finally the Sales office in New York City - which also housed the Domestic Paper Sewing Company which designed and sold sewing patterns.

What happens next might be blamed on miscommunication... or poor business skills, or well, a lot of things in combination with each other. There was the economic panic of 1882–1885 now considered a recession - this might have contributed. There was a legal lack of clear and concise assigned duties and responsibilities of the office of treasurer for the company... a not well defined  ownership connection between the New Jersey headquarters and the Ohio manufacturing plant, a somewhat flamboyant lifestyle of both the president and vice president (living in New York City), a $30,000 lease on the building they constructed on Rockefeller property in New York... two factory fires and a labor strike. It was probably a combination of all these factors that put Domestic in trouble with many creditors and in between 1892 and 1896 the company was placed into the hands of various receivers. What gets really confusing is the state by state handling of properties. As an example of this, a gentleman that ran a sales and repair store for sewing machines was sued because he used the name The Domestic Sewing Machine Store. The weird thing... is that he had been in business with that name in New York City for 15 years (name printed in the city directory) before any one ever complained. During the case papers refer to the president of the company: William Foley, yep, that William Foley (of Foley and Williams Sewing Machines) and that he (the then president of Domestic Sewing Machines) had his office in Chicago. LOL.

So the years of 1896 through to 1924 are a crazy blurry haze of ownership. A company called "The New Domestic Sewing Machine Company" sells machines in New York, and eventually we get around to Buffalo. What happens in Buffalo is another quest for information... but there are several interesting points/ The first is that long before any sewing machine were made in Buffalo the Theodor Kundtz plant was already in operation. Kundtz was the supplier for all sewing machine cabinets to every sewing machine company in the US - except Singer.  Oddly, the members of the board for the Kundtz Company were made up of the presidents of several sewing machine companies - ha! The largest stock holder being Thomas White (yeah, that guy in Cleveland).

Around 1904 three businessmen in Buffalo get the idea of making sewing machines across the street from the Kundtz factory and selling the machines by mail order only. This becomes the King Sewing Machine Company of Buffalo. They plod along until Sears & Roebuck invests a pile of money, triples the factory size and buys 75% of company. This is the time when Sears is contracting out to have sewing machines made and their contracts go out to many machine companies including Davis... and get this: Goodrich. (a sewing machine company from Chicago owned by? William Foley - duh). By the time 1924 rolls around and White makes a deal to purchase Domestic... well to be honest I don't think it was worded quite like that. White outright purchased the King Sewing Machine Company - far more important at the time - from Sears and even more important they bought the lucrative Kundtz factory. When it came to importance... Domestic was probably just an innocent bystander - meaning a set of decals placed on machines made by others.

I realize that little of this information leads to being able to directly and positively identifying the OPs machine.. unless one takes a look at 1910 to 1924 Goodrich sewing machines and then it becomes even more curious. The latter looking very much like the Domestic model above. So I'm going --way-- out on a limb and suggest that it may have been possible that William Foley did indeed own Domestic while manufacturing Goodrich machines for Sears and sold his interest to White in the Kundtz/King purchase of 1924 - 1927.

*whew*

It really is mind-boggling. Apparently in every state that Domestic had registered it's name... when the company went bankrupt in 1896 all those 'names' became available and different interests in different states attempted to revive a Domestic Sewing Machine Company. At least that's what it looks like as of this writing. I'll know more the deeper I dig. It may be possible that Sears & Roebuck actually owned Domestic prior to the sale. This is difficult information to find, and even more difficult to sort through.

1864 Domestic Sewing Machine Company founded by N. S. Perkins and William Mack.

1870 Eli J. Blake and his brothers, James, David, and George, purchased company and incorporated the firm to manufacturing complete machines.

1864  - 1876 Domestic Sewing Machine Company manufactured machines under the Howe Patent (Sewing Machine Combination)

1855 Domestic Sewing Machine Company located on corner of High and Orange Streets, Newark New Jersey

1870 - 1873 Domestic Sewing Machines made by the Providence Tool Company of Providence RI under contract by Domestic of New Jersey under receivership for three years.

DomBlding.png 

1873 - June 24 - Completion of the Domestic Sewing Machine Company Building, 14th Street and Broadway New York City including an entire second floor dedicated to selling paper patterns.

1872 Essex Sewing Machine Company name, changed from the Domestic Sewing Machine Company of Newark New Jersey?

1878 Domestic Sewing Machine Company Office opened in Chickering Hall, Jackson & Wabash, Chicago, Ill.

1880 factory at 29th Street and Seventh Avenue, New York, New York burns to the ground.

1880 July 29, replacement factory on West Street, New York, NY burns downs

1881 April 3, Receives issue of corporation in Ohio under the name United Domestic Sewing Machine Company and later changed to just Domestic Sewing Machine Company (April 22)

1881 May 3, Domestic Manufacturing Company incorporated in state of Ohio (also Norwalk)

1886 Factory moves to Norwalk, Ohio then on April 17, 1886 the 800 workers demand restoration of the old wages. Their demands were met with a lock-out when they arrived for work the following Monday.

1890 Blake Brothers voted off the Board of Directors

1892 January 13 - 200 employees of the Norwalk factory were fired, after having been idle for nearly a month.

1892 - 1896 Domestic Sewing Machine Company begins receivership proceedings in New York and New Jersey

1895 December 7 declared bankrupt

1905 Domestic Sewing Machine Company under receivership by Torrington Company , Torrington CT

1910 - May, Domestic Sewing Machine Company (including The Domestic Manufacturing Co. of Ohio) sold all rights, titles and interests to Foley & Williams of Chicago Ill

1910 - May 6, Foley & Williams organize The Domestic Sewing Machine Corporation - of Maine.

1910 Domestic Sewing Machine Corporation opens office in Kankankee Ill.

1911  Sears & Roebuck reportedly begin selling the Franklin Sewing Machine (a Singer 27/127 copy) made by Domestic.

1914 Sears & Roebuck advertise the Minnesota model A sewing machine (another Singer 27/127 copy) made by Domestic.

1915 Foley & Williams sell a bankrupt (again) Domestic Sewing Machine Corp to Harris Brothers Company of Chicago Ill.

1915 Harris Brothers of Chicago Ill. sell The Domestic Sewing Machine Corporation to... Sears & Roebuck (since Sears & Roebuck owned a majority of stock in the King Sewing Machine Company, one might conclude that Domestic machines might have been manufactured at King in Buffalo post 1915.)

1916 - Upon the death of A.G. Mason (a former agent for Davis) the Mason Sewing Machine Company becomes a subsidiary ofThe Domestic Sewing Machine Corporation. (which is how White got Mason)

1924 White Sewing Machine Company of Cleveland enter into agreement to purchase Kundtz Furniture Factory, King Sewing Machine Co. and The Domestic Sewing Machine Corporation. *Although there is evidence to suggest that White purchased the Kundtz Furniture factory as early as the 15th of September 1917 (Standard Corporation Sheet September 1 to December 31, 1917, page 411).





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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #10 
In case anyone else is reading this besides myself...

The King Sewing Machine Company:

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 12.48.08 AM.png 
who would probably manufacture machines for The Domestic Sewing Machine Company of Buffalo N.Y. in 1915:

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.03.16 AM.png 

1906/7 - founded by W. Grant King and Morris S. Tremain as the W.G. King Company and built a sewing machine factory at Court Street near Wilkerson Street, in Buffalo NY.

1908 - Changed it's name to "The King Sewing Machine Company"

1908 - Sears & Roebuck invested $150,000 dollars for an 8 acre manufacturing plant to be built near Rano Street, Buffalo, NY.

1908 - The King Sewing Machine Company became a subsidiary of Sears & Roebuck.

1909 March - The King Sewing Machine Company became Incorporated with $250,000 in capitol stock.

1910 - King Sewing Company stock increased to $500,000

1910 - Rano Street factory opened and vibrating shuttle King Sewing Machines were available through mail order with a 20 year guarantee.

1912 - Factory expanded again.

1915 - Purchased outright by Sears & Roebuck

1924-1926 sold to White Sewing Machine Company of Cleveland Ohio.

*more info and great factory pics see:
https://www.wnyhistory.org/portfolios/businessindustry/king_sewing_radio/part1/king_sewing_radio1.html

...


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ChattyKathy

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Reply with quote  #11 
WOW...this is definitely a history lesson not to be found in any school classroom.  I find it extremely amazing and interesting.  Jim and Janey, where do you dig to find this type of info?  I am very impressed with your investigative capabilities.  Thanks for a most informative morning with my 1st cup of coffee. 
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Bags

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Reply with quote  #12 
I agree with ChattyKathy.  I find this fascinating.  Thanks for the history lessons!

Carol
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #13 
I'm correcting and adding as I go. Rather difficult to sort all of this out since 'receivership' doesn't always mean the company shut down, but often the company continued on as a business being run by the receiver, or a group of consultants. This must have been the case with Domestic since it was officially bankrupt in 1895... but apparently continued to manufacture machines until the time when White began the merger paperwork in 1924.

Where -exactly- the machines were made becomes confusing in that it appears as though they began in Norwalk Ohio, then 3 years in Providence RI, then at least three locations in New York City and after that... well, it's entirely possible some were made in Cincinnati Ohio at the Goodrich facility under Foley before moving to Buffalo.


Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.15.38 AM.png 

Domestic Number 1 Family above

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.26.29 AM.png 

Domestic No. 7

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.24.54 AM.png 

No.4

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.09.54 AM.png 

Later Fiddle-base Domestic, although entirely possible that the stitch length lever is still being located on the back of the pillar, placement there was so that it wasn't bumped while the machine was in operation. Should date the machine to  pre-1890.

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.16.23 AM.png 
Claimed to be the first sewing machine company to produce a 'high arm' machine.

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.22.39 AM.png 

One of the more profitable sides of Domestic was the paper division which sold a lot of sewing patterns.

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.29.27 AM.png  Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 1.29.39 AM.png 

Example of pattern illustration on one side, pattern numbers on the other. The print advertising side of Domestic was quite prolific including a considerable number of 'trading cards' produced in the late 1800s to 1906.

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 8.38.44 AM.png 

1911 Sears & Roebuck Franklin labeled machine made by Domestic in the 'scarab' decals. Some say the decals were a purposeful response to Singer's Memphis decals... but it's hardly a secret that the early nineteen teens were all about Egyptian motifs caused by the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Egyptian influenced art and home decor was all the rage.

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 9.32.38 AM.png 

1914+ Domestic made Minnesota A model for Sears & Roebuck



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dr0wsydruid

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Reply with quote  #14 
I, regrettably, was pulled away from research shortly after my last comment. It's so wonderful to see the progress made here, and I'm very much grateful for the ones who have dug deep into the abyss of history in my absence. What's been found is very interesting, and I'll definitely go through it in more depth once I'm able. To all still interested: thank you, and I'll be back to it by Monday.
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kndpakes

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Reply with quote  #15 

Wow, Jim/steelsewing, I am really interested to see all the company history you have gathered for Domestic! I have been collecting info about the machines for years, but have not been able to understand the company history. Now I see why I was so confused! I plan to print this out and study it further. I have never understood the connections to King and rumors or ownership by Sears.

About the machine in question, it is the middle of 3 rotary models that Domestic made. The first one was almost identical to the Standard rotary, and even uses a chain stitch spider like the standard rotary. I have only come across a few of them.

The second one is this version, which I have also only ever seen a few of, and it has patents that match the Economy rotary if I remember right. I can't find the photos right now. Was the Economy rotary made by Standard?

The third version is the much more common Domestic 69, which has a 1918 earliest patent date on its plate. So I think we can say the one pictured above is likely pre-1918.

Dating Domestic machines is very difficult. I have been looking for dated receipts and warranties since 2004 and I think I still have less than 10!! I did have a bit of a breakthrough last weekend when newspapers.com was free and I was able to download a lot of ads. I have not had time to sort through them yet, but I hope to be able to get more of a timeline for dating machines than I have now, mostly by looking at cabinets and irons. The fiddlebase machines themselves did not change a whole lot over the years and their ads name their models by the cabinet, not the machine. The machine is often not even shown. Very frustrating, and they later repeated the numbers with different style cabinets. Arg!

While on newspapers.com, I looked for articles as well as ads. There were a few blurbs about the receivership when it happened, but nothing later when it possibly got resolved. Jon H sent my a newsclip a few years ago about (?Robert Blake?), maybe an obituary,  saying that he saved Domestic from receivership, but I can't locate that at the moment, either. New computer, not quite organized yet. Yeah, that's it.

I could not find any details about manufacturing moving from city to city. There were lots of articles about the "sewing machine combination" happening, not happening, happening, happened under a different name... Very confusing.

I hope to sort all my new machine info out and get my Domestic website online again in the next month or two. I had to switch hosting last year and never got the info put up again on the new server. I have more info than I had when I made the old site, but getting it organized, taking photos, double checking facts, finding where I filed things, etc takes a lot of time.

Kelly in PA

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #16 
Drowsy & Kelly,

It's unfortunate that I don't know my treadle machines all that well, but I do so love a good chase. That's probably why I dove into this. I figured that if I could, through a process of elimination, narrow down the wild variety of Domestic sewing machines and group them into eras... that I might get closer to identifying the manufacturing date of the OP's machine.

I must agree now with Kelly that we are indeed in the period of time prior to 1918, and I have to thank Janey for pointing out the difference in Domestic Logos. What I needed to do for myself was to get the Domestic machines into the time period of a round thread tensioner, the possibility of an electric motor, and still hover around the dates when stitch length levers were incorporated into the deck just below the pillar.  Oddly, it's that deck lever that seems to beat me. There were a scant few of White rotary machines with a similar lever, a whole load of Damascus machines (red herrings) and the occasional Minnesota. Also, an Economy model appears to have had one.

Where I am right now, is 1911, and I'll share why:

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 3.01.06 PM.png 

above is the OP's front view

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 3.01.24 PM.png 

Here is a photo of a 1911 Domestic. The models are obviously different. This identified 1911 (2cd photo) is a shuttle machine and a pretty straightforward copy of the Singer 27/127, but it does have really interesting decals. They are nearly identical to the OP's except for the deck decal which is missing the lady in the background. This may mean a trademark logo search. I should also note that 'just because' the decals are nearly identical does not mean for sure they are made the same year, but it sure does put it in a ballpark where we can suggest 1911 to 1917.  This also places both machines into the time when Domestic began making Franklin labeled machines for Sears. Or, to put it another way, places Domestic firmly in the somewhat capable hands of Foley & Williams - and perhaps indicates the manufacturing to be in Buffalo.

*Also, a considerable amount of the trail of legal ownership of the Domestic Sewing Machine Company is provided for in the New York State Supreme Court (Apellate Divsion - First Department) case of Michael C. Phillips, plaintiff versus Domestic Sewing Machine Co. Inc, White Sewing Machine Company, and Gimbel Brothers Inc. defendants, 1925. Really just a great read for anyone into antique sewing machines considering the testimony of so many players of the time. Although the ownership is certainly well established... where the machines were made is not. There's still a lot to do here and if anyone has anything to add - or correct - I would be very thankful.


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Mavis

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Reply with quote  #17 
Fascinating history/research stories.  You people continue to amaze me!
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kndpakes

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Reply with quote  #18 
Jim, I believe the bed decals of both machines in your last post say Buffalo NY, don't they? I am curious, why are you not convinced that is where they were made? I think all Domestic Vibrators have "Buffalo, NY" on their rear inspection plates.

I think I can narrow down the date of the subject machine a little more. I got my news clippings organized by date and have 1913 ads referring to the "New rotary Domestic sewing machines". The 1909-1912 ads were all about the Domestic D, no mention of the rotary or vibrator. I could have missed some, of course.

Also, thanks so much for the tip about the court case with the company history. I have not worked my way through it yet, but I definitely will.

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jpeg 1913_0317_17Mar1913PortlandOR_bnewrotary.jpg (74.66 KB, 7 views)

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kndpakes
Jim, I believe the bed decals of both machines in your last post say Buffalo NY, don't they? I am curious, why are you not convinced that is where they were made? I think all Domestic Vibrators have "Buffalo, NY" on their rear inspection plates.


Early on Domestic had this habit of establishing a headquarters in say Newark, NJ while the manufacturing plant was in Norwalk, OH. William & Foley had their offices in Chicago while manufacturing took place in Cincinnati, OH... and when they registered The Domestic Sewing Machine Corporation, it was in Maine. =) 

None of that is exactly helpful determining where the machines were made. So for that period between 1896ish and 1911 I can't say for sure where the machines were made. I was thinking that perhaps if I could narrow down the manufacturing facility and the machine models being made at those factories, then I might have a better idea of who was responsible. For instance if Goodrich made an identical machine head in Cincinnati, then I might conclude that Foley's team designed the machine.

Yeah, I know. It's a reach, but having both the OPs and that 1911 machine say Buffalo NY, really does strongly hint at the manufacturer being the King Plant.

Also, the Kundtz company was indeed purchased outright by White in 1917. Headquarters for Kundtz was in Cleveland, and shortly afterwards White transferred it's headquarters into that Cleveland building. It still stands today and is being used, as is the building that White built and moved into after the Kundtz building.

Screen Shot 2020-02-22 at 7.48.43 PM.png 

Old Kundtz headquarters, Home of White post 1917, corner of Elm & Main, Cleveland, OH.

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 3.59.28 PM.png 
Still standing: the 11770 Berea Road Cleveland Office.




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My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
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kndpakes

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Reply with quote  #20 
Ah, now I see what you are saying. Demorest did the same thing: headquarters in New York, but manufacturing in Williamsport, PA.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #21 
kndpakes, Yep, you got it. I mean for the OP the answer seems obvious now. We know where, and almost when (1911-1917) but the model is still elusive. I suppose that it's just me, but after getting this much information... I guess I'd like to fill in that 1896-1911 gap. It may, or may not, be useful to the OP, but having the 'whole' picture would be nice. =) Thank you for the references, the pics, and for making me say out loud what my mind was thinking!
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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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jon

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Reply with quote  #22 
""""While on newspapers.com, I looked for articles as well as ads. There were a few blurbs about the receivership when it happened, but nothing later when it possibly got resolved. Jon H sent my a newsclip a few years ago about (?Robert Blake?), maybe an obituary,  saying that he saved Domestic from receivership, but I can't locate that at the moment, either. New computer, not quite organized yet. Yeah, that's it."""""


I learned a small piece of Domestic history accidently while looking into a Davis / Domestic connection.  Domestic went bankrupt in 1893 and a Judge Kirkpatrick was appointed receiver.  The Judge was able to save the company from liquidation and keep it operating at a profit.  A new board and owners stepped in and the company was renamed New Domestic.  The factory remained in Newark.   The new company didn't last long but it is interesting that "New Domestic" sewing machines turn up occasionally.  Blake was an owner previous to the bankruptcy.  

Kelly, I would be thrilled to see the Domestic and Davis ID back in action.  I'd be very happy to help out with a few pesos.  The Domestic / King connection research is sorely needed as well.  


Jon


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