Singer Factories - Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA
In 1856 the Wheeler and Wilson Manufacturing Co. moved its sewing machine factory from Waterbury, Connecticut to a larger site in Bridgeport.
During the 1850’s and 1860’s the sales of Wheeler and Wilson machines increased steadily and the factory underwent several expansions, until by the mid-1880’s it occupied over 7 acres. The site included a foundry, a main building for metal working and assembly, a woodworking building for cabinets and cases, and a specialist needle factory.
Sales peaked in the the early 1870’s with production of around 128,000 machines a year, but after that it entered into a period of gradual decline as its main competitor Singer, became dominant in the market. Wilson retired from the business in 1863 and Wheeler died in 1893. Finally in 1905 the company was sold to its old rival Singer.
For a while after the takeover, the factory continued to make the old Wheeler & Wilson models, but with the Singer name on. After an initial period of integration, the factory specialied mainly in the production of Singer’s Industrial models. The factory was eventually expanded to over 15 acres and by 1949 it employed 1,500 workers. However, by 1964 the sewing machine industry was in deep decline and the factory was finally closed.
Machines produced at the Bridgeport factory were given a ‘W’ location code after the Class Number i.e. 107W , 112W etc.
Bridgeport machines used serial numbers that took the form of ‘W’ followed by a 6 or 7 digit number.