White Sewing Machine: Everything You Should Know

Do you want to know about the great white sewing machine? Do you want to know what is so special about it? Well, read on!

So have you heard of a few famous brands such as Singer and Brother, but have you heard of the White Sewing Machine Company before? This is a company that was started 100 years ago. They were located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The founder of this company was John Grover Bartlett who was born in 1844. He started this business when he was just 42 years old in September 1900.

White Sewing Machine: History

The very first White Sewing Machine was patented in 1902. It was a four-needle machine meaning it had four threads going through the top of the machine where they would meet and form one thread at another point which is your bobbin. The patent number for this is number 776908.

In January of 1903, the very first ad appeared with their slogan being “America’s Best Selling Sewing Machines.” This advertisement appeared in several different publications such as Housekeeper Magazine, Woman’s World Magazine, and Scientific American. In September of 1904, they were selling sewing machines made by Wheeler and Wilson who were a company located in Bridgeport Connecticut as well. This is why so many people thought that White was actually a part of Wheeler and Wilson instead of a separate company.

White Sewing Machine: Description

By 1907, the White Company was producing 30,000 sewing machines each year. This is when they held their first store opening in Waterbury Connecticut. In 1910, the company had produced over 100,000 sewing machines and opened their second retail store which was located in New York City at Broadway and 42nd Street.

In April of 1911, it became clear that White Company had out-sold Singer by selling more than 300,000 machines and were within striking distance of surpassing Singer’s production numbers for the entire year! This put them on top as being one of the largest sewing machine companies in North America. By 1912 there were 80 employees working for John Grover Bartlett at White Company.

In 1914, White Company opened up their third store in Boston Massachusetts which was located at 359 Washington Street between Tremont and Avery Streets. This meant that within a period of just five years they had become one of the most successful sewing machine companies in the United States with over 300 stores across the nation!

By 1917, John Grover Bartlett was selling his shares to Wheeler and Wilson so he could pursue other interests and philanthropic causes such as giving out free sewing machines to schools in Connecticut. His son Arthur became president of White Sewing Machine Co which is what it was called by this time.

During World War I they were receiving orders from all different types of companies who were manufacturing uniforms for our troops instead of just producing them for the general public. This meant that they had a large increase in business in just a short time which included over 100,000 uniforms made for the United States Army and Navy.

Most Popular Models of White Sewing Machines

The most popular model of White Sewing Machines was the #3. This is also known as the “McCormick” for some reason even though James A McCormick had nothing to do with this machine.

Just like every other sewing machine that was around at this time, they all had nicknames, however. The following list shows some of the different names that were given to these models:

  1. White 27 or Numeral 7 – Automatic Stitch
  2. White 28 or Numeral 8 – Rotary Stitch (needle bar rotates on each stitch)
  3. White 29 or Numeral 9 – Zig Zag Stitch (zig zag pattern)
  4. White 20 – Short Shaft Straight Stitch Machine (simplest design and least expensive model)
  5. White 30 – Long Shaft Straight Stitch (simplest design and least expensive model)
  6. White 31 or Numeral 1 – Long Shaft Zig Zag (zig zag pattern)
  7. White 32 or Numeral 2 – Short Shaft Zig Zag (zig zag pattern)
  8. White 33 – Full Rotary Action Zig Zag (zig zag pattern and needle bar rotates on each stitch)

But there were also some different models that had their own descriptions. These included: High Arm White 27, High Arm White 28, High Arm White 29, Short Bobbin White 27, Long Bobbin White 27, Portable White 28, Traveling Motor White 28T, Light Duty White 34. There were even some models that had multiple names depending on who was reading them or what they were being used for.

White Electric Sewing Machine

The White Company wasn’t just producing these machines though. They also produced electric sewing machines which came out at the end of 1915. The first machine was the #10 which had a 7-inch throat space and could sew 900 stitches per minute! It also used an electric lamp kit so you didn’t need to use any gaslighting inside your home if you wanted to sew after it got dark outside.

By 1917, there were other models including the Traveling Motor which weighed only 20 pounds and could run for five hours on one set of batteries! This model was perfect for nurses long night shifts in hospitals or doctors’ offices.

A White Electric Sewing Machine was included in the Welthy Honsinger Fisher collection which is now hosted by the Smithsonian Institution. This particular model has a description that reads: “White, electric sewing machine with treadle and electric motor attached to machine’s base.” It’s unknown how many of these models were produced so this could be one of only a few models in existence today.

Can I Still Use My White Sewing Machine?

Unfortunately, most White Sewing Machines that are in working condition today were probably produced before 1957. That’s not to say they can’t still be used though! But if you have one of the electric models listed above dating back to 1915, you might have some restoration work ahead of you. Another issue is finding replacement parts for these machines since so few are being manufactured today. If you do find a good source for replacements then your machine may just live on whether it’s restored fully or just given new life with a few minor updates.

The White Electric sewing machine is pretty simple to use even today with its automatic features and high-speed capabilities. If you’re looking for an easy no-frills model that will sew with ease, this would be a good option. However, the re-wiring and new light kit may be a bit difficult to install.

A great resource for finding replacement parts is with MachineShed. They have most of the current White Company models in stock with some having free shipping! The #3 model can cost anywhere from $300 – $500 so keep this in mind when purchasing one used online. But if you’re looking for something that’s not too expensive then this could be exactly what you’re looking for!

White Sewing Machine vs Singer Sewing Machine: A Comparison
White and Singer sewing machines were competing companies so it’s easy to compare their products. Here we’ll take a look at some of the features that separate them and provide a side-by-side comparison.


There really isn’t any difference in appearance between these two models since they’re both electric and don’t require gaslighting as the White Non-Electric models do. They’re both made out of metal with black or white colors, similar knobs, switches, and dials. The only real difference is in the name – White Company vs Singer Manufacturing Company. If you go for an older model (pre-1950), then there might be more differences in style including wooden cabinets which are no longer used on most models of Singer sewing machines.

Stitch Types

There’s also not much difference between White and Singer sewing machines when it comes to stitching types. They both have the basic straight, zigzag, blind hem, basting, etc… But if you want something with decorative stitches or more than just a few options then you’ll probably want to go with the Singer model since they’re longer-lasting, more durable, and easier to fix even if they do cost a bit more up front.

For now though – there is very little difference between these two companies that are direct competitors in the same markets! Both made high-quality products that are still popular today.

Thanks for reading.

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