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Thread: My intro to the Treadle world and my love! (Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch!)

  1. #1
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    My intro to the Treadle world and my love! (Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch!)

    i am currently on an antique sewing machine kick! three weeks ago i went to an antique mall, for curiosity sake and in search for a vintage doll. I turned the corner and saw this adorable little sewing machine sitting all by itself in a corner. She looked worn and used, but her cabinet was in good condition. I jotted the name down and went on my way. But the machine was stuck in my head. i was in love with it, i did some research, joined a message group (treadleon) got information and went back a week later and bought it. Brought it home and i've been slowly restoring her. It is a Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch machine. She is so adorable and wonderful. she runs like a dream and i am so in love with her! (i'm still missing the treadle belt so i havent actually been able to sew on her yet!)

    I nicknamed her "Eleanor"

    I've since polished her up, but its a work in progress. I love that she looks like shes seen use and is worn. almost all her decals are missing, and some paint is missing, but all her innards work and she purrs perfectly! I really dont care and in fact am more enamored with her with her worn look that im not interested in repainting her or re-decaling. (maybe one day she will get a pretty sister who will just look nice!) im still working on cleaning her up as i wait for the last remaining parts for her to come in. She was built in 1896, and is a 116 years old! I cant believe that she runs as well as she does! she runs better then my 95 car! Hahaha!

    I am simply in love with this machine and cant wait to thread her and see what she can do! I just got a replacement treadle ball for the brake the other day! Yes this treadle is unique in that it actually has a brake to make sure you are treadling in the right direction! its nifty!

    Are there any other W&G fans out there? I hope so!! if not let me shower you (a.k.a. it just excites me to ramble on about this beauty) with the information i've gathered!
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 10-07-2012 at 04:38 AM. Reason: pm to member
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  2. #2
    Senior Member coloradosky's Avatar
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    Such a beautiful little machine. Congratulations.

  3. #3
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    I always loved the story how Gibbs saw a picture of the top half of a Grover Baker or Singer and not realizing they used two threads, he invented the one thread chainstitch due to not seeing below the bed. Brilliant.

    Jon

  4. #4
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    Here is her Picture!

    Name:  eleanor.jpg
Views: 1046
Size:  440.1 KB

    Thank you for the kind comments guys!
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  5. #5
    Super Member Glenda m's Avatar
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    I love my Wilcox & Gibbs. Mine is motorized and her name is Abby. Guess why. LOL Have fun with your great find!
    You can get older, but you never have to grow up! Tomorrow's just a future yesterday!-Greg Fergerson

  6. #6
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    She's beautiful!!! It may be your first but it won't be your last...lol! These old sewing machines are quite addictive.
    ~~Cathy~~

  7. #7
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenda m View Post
    I love my Wilcox & Gibbs. Mine is motorized and her name is Abby. Guess why. LOL Have fun with your great find!
    NCIS? I was going to name mine Gibbs for the same reason if it is. But the name Eleanor popped into my head while working on her so Eleanor she became!

    Quote Originally Posted by cabbagepatchkid View Post
    She's beautiful!!! It may be your first but it won't be your last...lol! These old sewing machines are quite addictive.
    I'm sure it won't. My treadle belt finally shipped today! So by next week I should be officially up and running!! So excited.

  8. #8
    Super Member Lyncat's Avatar
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    I was following your story on the Treadleon website. For my adorable Willcox & Gibbs, I used aquarium tubing instead of a leather treadle belt and I'm very happy with it. I always had trouble poking a hole in that round leather. I think this is the cutest machine ever! By the way. Is the ball in the treadle hard or flexible? I think I'm in need of a replacement but I'm not sure.
    Last edited by Lyncat; 10-08-2012 at 06:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyncat View Post
    I was following your story on the Treadleon website. For my adorable Willcox & Gibbs, I used aquarium tubing instead of a leather treadle belt and I'm very happy with it. I always had trouble poking a hole in that round leather. I think this is the cutest machine ever! By the way. Is the ball in the treadle hard or flexible? I think I'm in need of a replacement but I'm not sure.
    I ordered a spool of treadle belt so hopefully i wont have a hard time punching a hole in it! *crosses fingers and hopes* If i cant get it, i will try the fish tank tubing! The ball in my treadle is made of Neoprene. so its stiff, but has a soft rubbery texture. it has a slight bounce to it if i drop it.
    Last edited by Kittywolf13; 10-08-2012 at 06:40 PM.
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  10. #10
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    She is really cute! Enjoy her

  11. #11
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    I will!!

  12. #12
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    Willcox and Gibbs Ferrule for Treadle Belt

    Quote Originally Posted by Kittywolf13 View Post
    I ordered a spool of treadle belt so hopefully i wont have a hard time punching a hole in it! *crosses fingers and hopes* If i cant get it, i will try the fish tank tubing! The ball in my treadle is made of Neoprene. so its stiff, but has a soft rubbery texture. it has a slight bounce to it if i drop it.
    Actually Willcox and Gibbs did not connect the treadle belt with a staple like most other machines. They used a little ferrule which screwded on to both ends of the treadle belt to connect it together. Unfortunately they were often lost when the old belt rotted away. By good luck a couple of years ago I purchased an old W&G machine that still had a ferrule attaching the two parts of a very rotten belt that was in pieces but had not been thrown away yet. The original ferrule is in the center while the homemade one is on the end. They are 3/16 inch in diameter and 3/8 inch long. I thought it might be helpful if I explain how I made my DIY ferrule.
    Name:  Ferrule 1.JPG
Views: 666
Size:  90.7 KB
    1. I started with a 1/2 inch brass Chicago Screw (aluminum also works). Cost about $1.00.
    2. I used a Dremell tool with a cut off wheel to cut off the barrel of the Chicago screw 3/8 inch from the end, leaving only a short stump attached to the head.
    3. To fit the ferrule to the 3/16 inch treadle belt used by W&G you need to taper the end of the belt. I use a pencil sharpener. I GENTLY push the end of the belt into the pencil sharpener and turn.
    4. To connect the ferrule to the leather belt I push the tapered end into the ferrule and turn in a clockwise direction. I can usually make about 3 complete turns before it get too hard to turn. This is the same method as describe on page 32 of the 1870 W&G brochure available on line from the Smithsonian Institution at
    (http://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollect...0039/index.htm). It is much harder to describe than to do. The resulting connection is more than strong enough for a treadle machine, is very easy to remove and reattach, and gives a nice authentic addition to your W&G treadle.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwillis View Post
    Actually Willcox and Gibbs did not connect the treadle belt with a staple like most other machines. They used a little ferrule which screwded on to both ends of the treadle belt to connect it together. Unfortunately they were often lost when the old belt rotted away. By good luck a couple of years ago I purchased an old W&G machine that still had a ferrule attaching the two parts of a very rotten belt that was in pieces but had not been thrown away yet. The original ferrule is in the center while the homemade one is on the end. They are 3/16 inch in diameter and 3/8 inch long. I thought it might be helpful if I explain how I made my DIY ferrule.
    Name:  Ferrule 1.JPG
Views: 666
Size:  90.7 KB
    1. I started with a 1/2 inch brass Chicago Screw (aluminum also works). Cost about $1.00.
    2. I used a Dremell tool with a cut off wheel to cut off the barrel of the Chicago screw 3/8 inch from the end, leaving only a short stump attached to the head.
    3. To fit the ferrule to the 3/16 inch treadle belt used by W&G you need to taper the end of the belt. I use a pencil sharpener. I GENTLY push the end of the belt into the pencil sharpener and turn.
    4. To connect the ferrule to the leather belt I push the tapered end into the ferrule and turn in a clockwise direction. I can usually make about 3 complete turns before it get too hard to turn. This is the same method as describe on page 32 of the 1870 W&G brochure available on line from the Smithsonian Institution at
    (http://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollect...0039/index.htm). It is much harder to describe than to do. The resulting connection is more than strong enough for a treadle machine, is very easy to remove and reattach, and gives a nice authentic addition to your W&G treadle.
    Wow thanks! I will have to try this! So cool! Thank you so much!
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  14. #14
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Hey KittyWolf13,

    I should be picking up a similar if not the same machine this weekend. The picture I have is this:

    Name:  photo 2 (2).JPG
Views: 405
Size:  40.5 KB

    It's a lot of miles away, but the DH likes road trips and has never been there before. The lady who's selling it is selling off a collection, and both the DH and I are excited to see it.

    Do you know what sort of needles it takes yet? I'll be interested to see if I can get this one up and running.

  15. #15
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    Mine came with a needle and I've heard mixed reviews about the needle it uses. Some swear only by the original W&G needle, which has a groove running through the entire needle. Others have found success with needles by organ. As for sizes I'm not terriably familiar with those yet. I got my W&G needles from Alex Susexx from sewalot. The other needles I got off eBay. I've pretty much been in the mod set that if I find W&G needles I'm going to buy them as I fin their the rarest bit of the machine. If you have difficulty let me know by sending me a pm!
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  16. #16
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwillis View Post
    Actually Willcox and Gibbs did not connect the treadle belt with a staple like most other machines. They used a little ferrule which screwded on to both ends of the treadle belt to connect it together. Unfortunately they were often lost when the old belt rotted away. By good luck a couple of years ago I purchased an old W&G machine that still had a ferrule attaching the two parts of a very rotten belt that was in pieces but had not been thrown away yet. The original ferrule is in the center while the homemade one is on the end. They are 3/16 inch in diameter and 3/8 inch long. I thought it might be helpful if I explain how I made my DIY ferrule.
    Name:  Ferrule 1.JPG
Views: 666
Size:  90.7 KB
    1. I started with a 1/2 inch brass Chicago Screw (aluminum also works). Cost about $1.00.
    2. I used a Dremell tool with a cut off wheel to cut off the barrel of the Chicago screw 3/8 inch from the end, leaving only a short stump attached to the head.
    3. To fit the ferrule to the 3/16 inch treadle belt used by W&G you need to taper the end of the belt. I use a pencil sharpener. I GENTLY push the end of the belt into the pencil sharpener and turn.
    4. To connect the ferrule to the leather belt I push the tapered end into the ferrule and turn in a clockwise direction. I can usually make about 3 complete turns before it get too hard to turn. This is the same method as describe on page 32 of the 1870 W&G brochure available on line from the Smithsonian Institution at
    (http://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollect...0039/index.htm). It is much harder to describe than to do. The resulting connection is more than strong enough for a treadle machine, is very easy to remove and reattach, and gives a nice authentic addition to your W&G treadle.
    Hi and welcome to the forum Thanks so much for sharing this! I just learned something new.
    ~~Cathy~~

  17. #17
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kittywolf13 View Post
    Mine came with a needle and I've heard mixed reviews about the needle it uses. Some swear only by the original W&G needle, which has a groove running through the entire needle. Others have found success with needles by organ. As for sizes I'm not terriably familiar with those yet. I got my W&G needles from Alex Susexx from sewalot. The other needles I got off eBay. I've pretty much been in the mod set that if I find W&G needles I'm going to buy them as I fin their the rarest bit of the machine. If you have difficulty let me know by sending me a pm!
    Thanks for that information! I am going to ask the lady we're getting it from if she has a source for needles, and then go from there. In talking with her, she sounds like me, in a few years. She's got shelves and shelves full of machines she's rehabbed, and she's overrun. I'm sure she'll know where to get them. Once I have more info, I'll PM and we can compare notes

  18. #18
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    sounds wonderful! i appreciate that!!
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  19. #19
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    I have purchased this wonderful little machine and am at present trying to restore , have to replace a couple of pieces, does any one know how to get the hand wheel off as am sending parts to be re chromed . they are a lovely little machine .

  20. #20
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard. Most likely the shiny parts are going to be nickel plated, not chrome. Nickel was widely used when the machines were made, chrome not so much. There should be some experts that can answer your questions around tomorrow or the next day.
    Rodney

  21. #21
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyncat View Post
    I always had trouble poking a hole in that round leather.
    My LSMG gave me a good tip - you use a hammer to flatten out the end where you want to put the hole (just a little) and then it doesn't roll away from you when you're trying to make the hole

    Sorry! Only just read the bit about the ferrule. Fascinating! Still, this might come in handy for other machines.

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