How to Date Your Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine Using Serial Numbers
If you own a Wheeler & Wilson sewing machine, you may be curious about its history and age. Wheeler & Wilson was one of the most successful and innovative sewing machine manufacturers in the 19th century, producing a variety of models with different features and designs. One way to learn more about your machine is to use its serial number to date it.
Serial numbers are unique identifiers that were assigned to each machine when it was manufactured. They can tell you when and where your machine was made, as well as what model it is. However, finding and interpreting serial numbers can be tricky, as they were not always consistent or well documented. In this article, we will show you how to locate and use serial numbers to date your Wheeler & Wilson sewing machine.
Where to Find Serial Numbers on Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machines
The first step to date your machine is to find its serial number. Depending on the model and year of your machine, the serial number may be located in different places. Here are some common locations to look for serial numbers on Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines:
On the front or back of the base or bed of the machine
On the underside of the base or bed of the machine
On the front or back of the arm or pillar of the machine
On the underside of the arm or pillar of the machine
On a metal plate attached to the base, bed, arm, or pillar of the machine
On a paper label attached to the base, bed, arm, or pillar of the machine
Some machines may have more than one serial number, such as a factory number and a sales number. In that case, you should use the factory number, which is usually shorter and more consistent. If you cannot find a serial number on your machine, it may have been worn off, removed, or never applied. In that case, you may have to rely on other clues, such as the style, design, features, and markings of your machine.
How to Use Serial Numbers to Date Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machines
Once you have found your serial number, you can use it to date your machine using a serial number chart. A serial number chart is a list of serial numbers and corresponding years that shows when each machine was made. However, not all models and years of Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines have a serial number chart available. Some charts are incomplete, inaccurate, or missing altogether.
The most reliable and comprehensive serial number chart for Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines is from Fiddlebase.com[^1^], which covers the early models from 1851 to 1876. These models include the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, and No. 7 machines. To use this chart, you need to know what model your machine is, as well as its serial number. Then you can look up your serial number in the chart and find the approximate year of manufacture.
For example, if you have a No. 4 machine with a serial number of 18,156, you can find it in the chart under 1859 with a range of 18,156 to 39,462. This means that your machine was made sometime in 1859.
If you have a later model from 1876 onwards, such as the No. 8, No. 9 (D-9), No. 10 (D-10), No. 11 (W-11), No. 12 (A-B-C-D), or No. 15 (W-15) machines[^2^], you may not be able to find a serial number chart for them. These models used a new series of serial numbers that were not well recorded or preserved[^1^]. In that case, you may have to use other sources of information, such as patent dates[^3^], advertisements[^4^], catalogs[^2^], or other collectors to estimate the year of manufacture.