The Venus Family Sewing Machine
The first sewing machine factory in Canada was established at Hamilton in 1860-61 by Richard Mott Wanzer who, during the late 1850s, seems to have had a small sewing machine shop in Buffalo, New York, which manufactured Singer machines. For some unknown reason he left this business and shortly thereafter settled in Hamilton to begin anew. It took a week to turn out his first machine. During the next thirty years, however, R.M. Wanzer and Company grew to be the largest and most successful of all Ontario’s sewing machine manufacturers.
As with most other industries, sewing machine factories tended to be situated either close to shipping centres along Lake Ontario or connected to the lake by the railroad. Ontario’s sewing machine factories were scattered in a variety of locations, including Belleville, Perth, Toronto, St. Catharines, Hamilton, and Guelph, and although each of these towns or cities was capable of sustaining a certain portion of the industry, Hamilton and Guelph ultimately became the two major centres for sewing machine manufacturing
The history of the J.M. Miller and Company, a small establishment located in Perth, is sketchy and virtually nothing is known about the manufacture except that it was in operation between 1872 and 1875. The company was also known as the Perth Sewing Machine Company and the Venus Sewing Machine Company.
J.M. Miller and Company manufactured a lock-stitch machine called the Venus and it was certainly deserving of the name since the Venus was probably the most ornate and attractive sewing machine manufactured in Ontario. Every cast piece is not only delicately hand-painted with roses and leaves, but is decorative in shape as well. The Venus has a number of unusual features. Instead of a solid base or arm support on the right, there is a flat, shapely, cast section which hides the gears. The spooler spindle is situated high up on this “arm” and even it is shapely and ornate. The Venus also has a special thread guide which releases the thread when the needle goes down and holds the thread tight when the needle is raised. This feature replaces the more commonly used take-up lever.
Canadian Science and Technology Artifact–Artifact no.1973.0537.001 Model VENUS Manufacturer PERTH SEWING MACHINE CO.Manufacturer Location Perth, Ontario, Canada Manufactured Date Between 1872 – 1875
Have you seen the Godey’s Lady’s Book Volume 101 July To December 1880–Fashions
by Perth Sewing Machine Company (Ont.) –-Toronto Public Library
Year/Format: 1872, Book , 1 folded leaf ( p.) :
Canadian Trade Catalogue Collection : CTCC
Perth Sewing Machine Company (Ont.)–Catalogs.
1 copy Reference only – not holdable
No summary currently available.
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Publication information: Perth, Ont. : Perth Courier Steam Press Print, 1872.
Record ID: 2622105
Format: Regular Print Book
Date acquired: July 28, 2010
More creator details: manufactured by Perth Sewing Machine Company, Perth, Ont.
Corporate Author: Perth Sewing Machine Company (Ont.)
Access restriction: FOR USE IN SPECIAL COLLECTIONS READING ROOM ONLY. THERE MAY BE OTHER COPIES THAT CIRCULATE.
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