For information about the history of the Family No. 1 click on the title above.

All material copyright David G. Best 2002 - 2009 All Rights Reserved.

bradbury fiddle bed

Bradbury No.1.

This machine probably dates to c1885 and was the Company's equivalent of the Singer 12 but it featured various improvements including a self threading shuttle and Patented bobbin winder. It was available as a Treadle as well as a Hand crank.

The hand crank mechanism is mounted separately on the base and the balance wheel is jappaned black not nickel plated as on later machines.

The centre decal is an illustration of the Wellington Works which was started in 1866 but which was subject to a number of additions - we believe this illustration dates to the mid 1880's

Threading & Oiling of Bradbury's Family (No. 1) Machine

Wellington Works
bradbury fiddle bed

Bradbury Letter "S".

This machine probably dates to c1886.
The decals are very worn but the centre decal was originally gold roses and the 'Duke' is on the base of the pillar.

bradbury fiddle bed

Bradbury Family.

This machine came complete with original Manual which has enabled us to date the machine to c1890.
The balance wheel is again jappaned black, the Decals on the bed are quite worn but those on the arm clearly show the plain leaf design. The Duke of Wellington Trade Mark is at the base of the pillar.

Bradbury base

The underneath of the base shows the oil tray which appears to have four feet, as these protrude beneath the base we believe that these we used to hold the machine in place when it was used in combination with a treadle base, note also the holes in the base for the treadle belt.

We are very grateful to Allen & Mary Franklin who kindly donated this machine to our collection.

bradbury fiddle bed

Bradbury No.1.

We think this machine dates to 1890. It has a Nickel plated balance wheel and although worn the centre decal is intact and features a single rose with white blue and red flowers.

On the top of the arm the name Charles To?? Fulham Road appears. This refers to Charles Todd who was a distributor of sewing machines operating from 10 Elm Park Terrace, Fulham Road, London.

The Bradbury Trade Mark on the pillar has been over painted, most of which has worn off, what is left has a gold background with black writing edged red and we can make out - LM, - ARK, No. 1. which presumably stands for Elm Park No.1

 Over Painted Logo
bradbury fiddle bed

Bradbury No.1.

This machine dates to late 1890 or early 1891. The gold decals have survived well and are in very good condition. The Nickel plating on the slide plates has worn with the brass base metal showing through. The other bright work showed signs of corrosion but has cleaned up nicely.

What is particularly interesting is the unusual centre decal which is in the form of a Heraldic shield supported by two owls with a third on top. The shield has 3 stars and a hanging sheep below. Beneath is the motto "Pro Rege et Lege" which translates to "For King & the Law".
The Coat of Arms has been identified as belonging to the City of Leeds, quite why it appears on a sewing machine is still a mystery.

Jill & Shane Ross kindly donated this machine to our collection and Chris Dyer identified the Coat of Arms and translated the motto. Our thanks to all concerned.

Owl Decal
bradbury fiddle bed

Bradbury No.1.

This machine was sold through Bradbury's Cardiff agent Henry Thomas, not only is the machine badged for him but it came with it's original manual and a receipt dated 31st July 1891.
The machine is well worn but the centre decal is largely intact (see close up below). This machine has the Jappaned balance wheel.

The receipt refers to the machine being a Plain Family Hand sewing machine with stand, sadly the stand has long since been lost but the machine would have sat on top of the table like the later combination machines.

The centre decal is slightly worse for wear but has a inter-twined TH in the centre with the words Manufactured For Henry Thomas Cardiff round the outside.

Henry Thomas Logo
 Thomas Receipt
H Thomas Advertisment 1891

The earliest mention of Henry Thomas we have found is from an 1875 Trade Directory where his address is given as New Sewing Machine Depot, 2 Working Street, Cardiff, unfortunately it does not state if he was an agent for Bradbury sewing machines. We do however have a photocopy of a Bradbury price list issued by Henry Thomas which dates to c1884 and advertisements for 1887 and 1891 but by 1895 his name disappears from the Trade Directories.

Bradbury Family(Fiddle base)

Bradbury Family

A slightly later version of the Family machine probably dating to 1895. This example has very fine gold decals which are in good condition.
The machine came complete with its original manual which refers to the machine being the "Family Machine". The last medal date in the manual is 1890.

Bradbury Family (Low Arm)

Bradbury's Low Arm Family.

This machine dates to around 1900, the name Bradbury's Family is now on the arm and the decals although worn are clearly blue and gold in a design usually associated with the High Arm Family machine.

The blue and gold decal as it appears on the top of the arm.

Refurbished Bradbury Family

Bradbury Family No.1

Although there is no company Trade Mark either on the bed or on the pillar the bobbin winder confrims it is a Bradbury. It is also the earliest example of the Family No.1 machine we have but all is not what it seems.

The machine has infact been refinished - not by some missguided collector but the work was professionally done when machines were in short supply just after World War Two. The original finish has been stripped and the machine rejappaned with new decals. On the centre bed is a shield which confrims it was refurbished by "R Weeks & Sons Bideford" which is in Devon. The location of the serial number was covered when the machine was rejappaned but on this model it is repeated on the crank beneath the machine.

Click on a Caption

No. 2/B2

Bradbury and Co. Chronological History

Bradbury Introduction

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