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Shakespear Wheeler & Wilson clone
Before Thomas Shakespear formed the Royal Sewing Machine Company with George Illston in 1868, he produced his own range of sewing machines
Of course, his “own” should be taken literally for, like many other pioneer producers, he blatently copied the work of other successful makers. In this case, clearly, the Shakespear machine owes an awful lot to the first production models of the Wheeler & Wilson. We must be talking early-to-mid 1860s here.
The machine is in a magnificent cabinet-made box with curved ends and amazing detail. And it’s certainly done its job of protecting the gorgeous interior.
Whether this was a special show model or not, I don’t know. Certainly, the arms are silver plated rather than having a common nickel finish. And the whole machine just reeks of quality.
More about the Royal Company can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y6vuu77h
And I found a fascinating insight into the family history behind the machine here:

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British Machines

Thos Shakespear Wheeler & Wilson clone