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British Industrial History

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Newton, Wilson and Co

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April 1870.

Newton, Wilson and Co of High Holborn and Cheapside, London, makers of sewing machines and velocipedes.

1843 Concerning dividends. 'Estate of James Wilson, William Newton, James Wilson the younger, Henry Newton, and George Wilson, of Derby, in the county of Derby, Colour Manufacturers, Dealers and Chapmen...under the joint estate of Wilson, Newton, and Co...'[1]

1858 William Newton leaves the partnership. 'William Newton Wilson, William Newton, and Joseph Michael Wilson, carrying on business at No. 144, High Holborn, London, in the county of Middlesex, as Patent Chair Manufacturers, and also as Dealers in Patent Sewing Machines, under the style or firm of Wilson, Newton, and Co., was this day dissolved by mutual consent, as on and from the 1st day of September instant. All debts owing to and by the said firm, are to be received and paid by the said William Newton Wilson and Joseph Michael Wilson, who will continue the business on their own account'[2]

Josiah Turner was one of the partners in this business.

1859 James Starley mended a sewing machine and was taken on at the London factory of Newton, Wilson and Co of Holborn, London. While in their employ he made some alterations in a double chain-stitch machine, which were much appreciated. This led him to try his hand at improving these machines and he soon made himself complete master of their mechanism.

Early in 1861, Starley produced the "European" sewing machine, designed to stitch round the edges of cuffs or the bottoms of trouser legs after they were made up. This machine was made at home in the evenings. Josiah Turner took great interest in Starley's work and often visited him at home.

1861 Partnership dissolved. '...Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, William Newton Wilson, of No. 144, High Holborn, in the county of Middlesex, and Joseph Michael Wilson, of Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, Sewing-Machine and Cotton Manufacturers, carrying on business as such Sewing Machine and Cotton Manufacturers as aforesaid, at No. 144, High Holborn aforesaid. No. 9, Briggate, Leeds, in the county of York, No. 33, Hanover-street, in the city of Edinburgh, and No. 74, Queen-street, in the city of Glasgow, under the style or firm of Newton Wilson and Co., and at Corporation-street, Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, and at Stockport, in the county of Chester, under the style or firm of W. N. Wilson and Co, hath been this day dissolved by mutual consent...'[3]

May 14th, 1861, Starley left Newton, Wilson and Co.

1864 Newton, Wilson and Co started manufacturing industrial sewing machines which were copies of Howe and Singer machines, at the factory of Campion and Johnson, Woolpack Lane, Nottingham.

1866 Domestic machines were produced, both chain-stitch models known as the Queen Mab and the Cleopatra.

1866 Bankrupt. '...William Newton Wilson, of No. 144, High Holborn, of Whitehorse-yard, both in the county of Middlesex, of No. 96, Aldersgate-street, in the city of London, of the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, in the county of Kent, of Birmingham, in the county of Warwick, of Plymouth, in the county of Devon, of Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, of the town and county of Nottingham, of the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, both in North Britain, Patentee and Manufacturer of Sewing Machines, trading at all the above-mentioned places under the style or firm of Newton, Wilson, and Company, having been adjudged bankrupt under a Petition for adjudication of Bankruptcy, filed in Her Majesty's Court of Bankruptcy, in London, on the 26th of January, 1866,...'[4]

1867 Production was moved to Pope Street, Birmingham; the first lock-stitch machine, the Penelope, was introduced, as was a rotary machine known as the Dorcas.

1869 A two-wheeled velocipede was displayed on the stand of Newton, Wilson and Co at the Highland and Agricultural Society's Show in Edinburgh; it had been ridden from London by Mr Klamroth[5].

1868 Bankrupt. '...instituted by William Newton Wilson, of No. 144, High Holborn, in the county of Middlesex, Sewing Machine Manufacturer, carrying on business there and at No. 144, Cheapside, in the city of London, No. 210, Regent-street, Westminster, at Princes street, Queen-street, High Holborn, all in the said county of Middlesex, and at the Crystal Palace, at Sydenham, in the county of Surrey, and at Pope-street, in Birmingham, in the county of Warwick, and at No. 3, Hanover-street, in the city of Edinburgh, under the firm or style of Newton Wilson and Company...'[6]

1875 Smithfield Show, exhibited Small's patent horse-groomer. [7]

c. 1877 Manufacturing of sewing machines was carried out by the St. George’s Foundry Company, still at the Pope Street factory but under different ownership, whilst retail remained with Newton, Wilson and Co at 144 High Holborn London.

1880 Newton Wilson declared bankrupt, as result of defending the company against law suits of the Singer Manufacturing Co, which were ultimately unsuccessful[8].

1883 Opened a new Depot at 102 Southampton Row London.

1884 The manufacturing firm had become the St. George's Engineering Co.

1891 Newton, Wilson and Co ceased trading.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Gazette Issue 20296 published on the 15 December 1843. Page 26 of 48
  2. [2] Gazette Issue 22183 published on the 17 September 1858. Page 54 of 64
  3. [3] Gazette Issue 22545 published on the 6 September 1861. Page 20 of 48
  4. [4] Gazette Issue 23064 published on the 30 January 1866. Page 42 of 56
  5. The Times, 31 July 1869
  6. [5] Gazette Issue 23647 published on the 19 August 1870. Page 26 of 40
  7. The Engineer 1875/12/17
  8. The Times, 9 December 1880
  • Newton Wilson and Company by David and Lin Best [6]