History is more meaningful than you may have given it credit. The subject goes beyond dates and names of places. Studying history can provide inspiration, motivation as well as ideas on what to do with your life. It also provides needed information when you need it.
The Jones Sewing Machine Company started in 1859 and proceeded to make sewing machines for almost 100 years, if you can find the right one you may have a machine that is still worth $300 or so. The machines they produced seemed to be of fine quality.
To learn more about this company and its sewing machines, just continue to read our article. It goes into the history so you have the full story on these early sewing machine models and the company that made them.
1859 was a good year for the Jones brothers. One brother was making steam engines at the time but decided to partner with his brother and Thomas Chadwick to form the Chadwick and Jones Sewing Machine Company.
The key to their early success was honesty. They produced sewing machines based on Howe and Wilson sewing machine designs. Yet they did so with permission and a legal license to do so. One of the few people who did that.
The partnership did not last long as Mr. Chadwick was convinced to leave this company and join the Bradbury & Co. This loss did not stop the Jones Brothers from moving ahead and succeeding in the sewing machine manufacturing industry.
10 years after the split, they opened a new factory, and 14 years after that, they opened the largest sewing machine factory in the world. In 1879 the Jones company received a patent for their Serpent Neck model that uses a reciprocating boat shuttle instead of a vibrating one.
This model was produced for 30 years and seems to be fairly popular. One of the things that set the Jones Sewing machine Company apart from those like Singer is that Jones would make 100 machines under one name, then 100 under another, and so on. Singer refused to do that.
The curious thing about this company is that much of the information about the Brothers, who took over for them and who ran the show until the company was sold is lost to history.
It seems that the company was quite successful even enduring 2 World Wars and other challenges including the post-war Japanese sewing machine invasion. There is no reason why the company was sold.
The two brothers turned the company into a limited corporation with themselves at the head. What became of them and whoever took over for them is not known. In 1958 the company was sold to Imperial And Continental Gas Association or ICGA which was owned by E. Harris Ltd.
That company made sewing machines under the name of Vickers as well as BSM. Then in 1962 ICGA sold the sewing machine company to Brother International Group of Japan.
This new owner continued to make Jones sewing machines, at least they had the Jones badge, until the 1980s. What makes this story even more interesting is that Brother still uses the old Jones factory to make their sewing machines.
The country of origin for the Jones sewing machine was the United Kingdom. The first factory was located at Ashton-under-Lyne until 1863. Some say that this location was actually Shepley Street, Audenshaw.
In 1869 the brothers opened a new factory in Guide Bridge, Manchester and in 14 years the company advertised that facility as the largest factory dedicated to the production of sewing machines.
As far as anyone knows that factory is still in use but it operates under the Brother name now. While the brothers had a license for the Howe and Wilson machines they may not have had one for the Singer machines they copied or other brands. Rumor has it that they copied sewing machine designs from the Royal Sewing machine company.
But getting solid evidence at this late date is not always that simple or very easy to do. How they made their machines did not stop them from making a fortune in the sewing machine industry.
Dating your Jones sewing machine may not be as simple as it sounds. It seems that the Jones company did not start adding serial numbers until 1880. That means that if you own a Jones and it does not have a serial number, it may have been made before that time.
From 1880 to 1935 approx. The company only had one numerical list and this list makes it very easy to date your Jones sewing machine. However in 1935 and for some unexplained reason the company went to several different lists even adding letters to the serial numbers.
Getting an accurate date after 1935 will be a challenge some people may thrive at overcoming. To get you on the right path, here is a link to the website that has the best information on Jones sewing machines.
That list starts with 1880 and ends with one serial number for 1938.
It is a little hard to state all the different models that the Jones company built. The brothers had a system where any store could order 100 sewing machines and the company would put the name of the buyer on the sewing machines.
This link takes you to a web page that lists some of the Jones sewing machine models. The company that the link belongs to seems to have original parts for old Jones sewing machines. They seem to have around 50 old sewing machines made by the Jones Company in stock at the time of that website being posted.
You can find more Jones’ sewing machine models at this link. eBay seems to have, unlike other old sewing machine companies,[plenty of Jones’ machines in stock. Here is another link displaying more of the Jones sewing machine models.
Here are the serial numbers for the Jones’ sewing machines from 1880 to 1938. They come with the year so you can date your Jones quite fast.
1 12502 1880
3 30082 1882
4 35259 1883
6 91279 1890
7 97101 1891
9 234882 1914
10 241956 1916
11 276269 1916
12 279797 1916
12a 280598 1916
13 323723 1921
14 326234 1923
14a 336947 1923
15 341636 1925
17 344254 1924
17a 378996 1926
18 380122 1926
19 381640 1926
20 405091 1926
21 410253 1927
22 420742 1929
23 486218 1933
24 489636 1935**
25 514594 1934
26 515714 1936**
27 522569 1935*
28 E174936 1938
The blank numbers had no serial numbers and you will notice that some of the years are out of synch. Between 1938 and 1957 when the company is sold, it is hard to track the serial numbers as there were so many different lists.
It seems that they were as they had some very prestigious clients. Some of their sewing machines were bought by Burton’s the tailors. The company lasted for over 100 years and Brother used the Jones name to establish its sewing machine line when they took over the company.
They kept using the Jones name for over 20 more years. So something good had to be part of those sewing machines for the company to last so long and to have a reputation strong enough to help a competitor make their mark in the sewing machine industry.
Many of the old Jones sewing machines are still around and in good working order. eBay is full of antique models that are still priced fairly high. The Princess of Wales before her husband’s coronation used a Jones machine in her sewing school. The company even received a testimonial from her about their quality.
Some are and some aren’t. According to the English eBay website, they are old Jones’ sewing machines listed for 80 British Pounds. Others are listed in the middle range between 100 and 300 BP. Those are with or without a cabinet.
Then there is one, the Jones C Howe Principle roller feed sewing machine that is listed for 899 BP. That gives you a good idea that these machines have some value even if they do not make you very rich.
Although that 899 one may equal about $1000 which is good for a nice mini-vacation or a modern HDTV. There are also newer Jones sewing machines listed on that website. Their value is not that great topping out at about 100 BP.
There are 4 pages of Jones sewing machines at eBay testifying to their value and their good quality.
The adage goes the item is worth as much as the buyer is willing to pay for it. At times that may be an insult but at others, it may be something special. As you can see, the old Jones’ sewing machines certainly carry a lot of value.
Depending on the seller and the model you can pick u=one up at a reasonable price, even an antique model. The newer machines are not as valuable as the older ones mainly because they were not made with superior parts as the older models were.
There is still some good news to be had about these old sewing machines. Their owner’s manuals still exist. Some can be in a rather poor condition while others are transferred electronically to you if you wish.
To view a couple of them you can click on this link. Or you can purchase them from this link. At the second link, you may be able to get an original if the mails are not so rough on them as it can be.
They have several options for you to choose from as well. This is a relief as many of the old sewing machines do not come with their manuals anymore. If they do not have the manual you want, a good internet search may provide you with some alternative sources to find the one you need.
It is impossible to give the instructions to every model here and sometimes instructions get lost in translation. It helps to have pictures to see what needs to be done as most instructions come with letters to guide you to the right position.
For the Jones Spool machine to read the instructions just click this link. It has a clear picture of what you need to do along with some great instructions. The machines all seem to be very easy to thread.
To oil the cylinder shuttle sewing machine you need to locate the oil hole that is located behind the head of the machine. Then the needle bar has to be at its highest point when you go to oil it.
The key to this process is that this particular model needed frequent oiling to stay in top shape. To oil the feed regulator you needed to take the back cover off. Here is a link to the pdf manual that explains the oiling process with pictures.
1. The biggest competition the company had was from Platt Sewing Machine Company and Bradbury Sewing machines. A strike at the former company gave the latter company a big boost.
2. Bradbury was England’s oldest sewing machine company. The Jones brothers’ partner, Mr. Chadwick, was convinced to change companies by Bradbury Sewing Machines.
3. Mr. Chadwick had known Mr. Bradbury because they were strikers at the old Platt Brothers Engineering Works in Oldham stopping scabs from doing the work they had left.
4. William Jones had 2 children neither of whom seemed to have wanted anything to do with the company.
5. William Jones died in 1911 and his two nephews took over the operation of the company. There is no word on when his brother John died.
6. The Jones Serpentine model was the one that pleased Princes Alexandra and that model was kept in production for almost 30 years. It was sold under various names including the Cat Black, Swan Neck.
7. When Brother bought the company they originally used the Jones name to market their machine in Europe. After a while, they changed the name to Jones-Brother and finally dropping the name Jones when they were firmly established on the continent.
8. What is in a name- The Jones owners did not seem to have any problem labeling their machines under different names and models. If you bought 100 machines you could name those machines anything you wanted. Some of the top names were Favorite, Lightening, Victoria, Eclipse, and Harrod’s own.
9. It is possible that there were 2 John Jones along with William. The two John Jones were also brothers, one older than William and one younger by 6 years. They just had different middle names
During our research, we did come across another company named the Jones Sewing machine company. It is located in Peoria, Illinois and they have been in business for over 65 years.
Their company started in 1954, 2 years after the original Jones Sewing Machine Company was sold. Instead of making sewing machines, this company sells them and also repairs them. Like the Jones company in England, this company is also family-owned and operated.
If you are interested in reading all about this company then just click on this link.
The Jones Sewing Machine company lasted a long time and had royal support. That is impressive as so few sewing machine companies could boat like that. Why the company was sold is anyone’s guess but their sewing machines were so good that Brother kept the name until their brand was established.
That says something about the quality of the Jones sewing machine. These were well-built machines even though there were rumors that they used other company’s machines, outside of the original licensing agreement, to design their own.
With the endorsement from the lady who held the title Princess of Wales the longest, the Jones Sewing Machine Company did not waste any time promoting their product taking advantage of the fact that their sewing machines pleased women at the highest levels of society.
It is too bad that the company went out of business and sold to Brother. They may have given Singer and some other top sewing companies a run for their money if they had continued as a family-owned business.