Landfear Sewing Machine
Parkers, Snow, Brooks & Company
West Meriden, Connecticut, U.S.
As an antique typewriter collector I've always admired sewing machines. After all, it was the sewing machine division of Remington Arms, a gun maker, that produced the first commercially successful typewriter, the Sholes & Glidden. I'm also a fan of old Connecticut industry and this Landfear was produced within the borders of one the state's towns, Meriden.
In the book Invention of the Sewing Machine, it states the following:
"Landfear's patent - Decr 1856, No. 262, W. H. Johnson's Patent Feb. 26th 1856, Manfrd by Parkers, Snow, Brooks & Co., West Meriden, Conn." (There was a Parker sewing machine manufactured by the Charles Parker Co. of Meriden, but his machine was a double-thread chainstitch machine and was licensed by the "Combination." The Landfear machine may have been an earlier attempt by a predecessor or closely related company). The Landfear patent was for a shuttle machine, but it also included a mode for regulating stitch length. The name chosen for this machine may be incorrect, since the single-thread chainstitch mechanism is primarily that of W. H. Johnson, but since the Johnson patent also was used on other machines the name "Landfear" was assigned. The machine was probably another attempt to evade royalty payment to the "Combination."
Charles Parker (1809 - 1902) founded the Charles Parker Company in 1829 with the production of coffee mills. Over the next half century his company grew exponentially and became a very successful manufacturer of everything from lamps and silverware, to vises and door knockers. Through a series of acquisitions and mergers the company name changed several times. One such name change occurred when the Parker Company purchased the Oliver Snow Company, which in turn owned the Brooks Company. Thus Parkers, Snow & Brooks was created (Brooks was later dropped). The 's' in Parkers refers to the Charles' sons who, by then, were involved the company's operations.
As the excerpt above states, there were two patents applied to this machine. The first was for the single-thread chainstitch mechanism from patent no.RE355 which was awarded to William H. Johnson on February 26, 1856. The RE prefix in that patent stands for reissue. Patent no.RE355 is actually a reissue of Johnson's 1854 patent no.10,597. The second patent, no.16,281, was awarded to William R. Landfear on February 26, 1856.
Why bring up the sons? Well, for me, they neatly tie together the whole story of Landfear's sewing machine and my love of typewriters. Parkers, Snow & Co. began manufacturing guns in the early 1860s which led the sons to create a separate company in support of that business, Parker Brothers Guns. Seventy-five-ish years later, in 1934, Remington Arms (the same Remington that produced the Sholes & Glidden) bought Parker Brothers.
Questions? Comments? Maybe you have one? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com