Sewing machine (Meccano-Jones)

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Sewing machine (Meccano-Jones)

Jones Meccano sewing machine.jpg Jones Meccano sewing machine (i)
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Arch Two , Area 11
Play Kitchen (display)

Jones were one of Britain's biggest sewing machine companies in an era when making and repairing clothes was a common household chore.

The Jones sewing-machine company

The company was founded circa 1858 by engineer William Jones (1835-1911), who reckoned that he could undercut the American sewing machine giants such as Singer.

Jones produced some beautifully ornate and sculpted black-and-gold machines such as the "cat back" model, and claimed to have the largest dedicated sewing machine factory in Britain. One of the unusual things about Jones is that, unlike Singer, Jones were happy for their machines to be sold under different brandnames - if you ordered a batch of a hundred or more machines, you could have any name on them that you liked. While this may have made it seem that Jones machines were less prevalent than they actually were, the plethora of brandnames also weakened the impression of Singer's dominance - if it seemed that anyone could make decent sewing machines, then there was less perceived need to pay a premium and buy a Singer. On the other hand, people who knew sewing machines could tell a "Jones" on sight, and the number of companies selling "Joneses" as their own acted as an endorsement for the product.

In the museum

The machine in the museum is a rather less desirable model, and is a stereotypical 1960s white and grey plastic-panelled machine with a foil side-sticker reading "Jones MECCANO" and presumably dates from when Meccano Ltd. took over the manufacture of the "Lockstitch" junior Jones model.

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