Project Description

History of New Home Sewing Machine Company

In the year 1860, Thomas H White, together with William L Grout (1888-1908) were manufacturing chairs at Orange, Massachusetts, and at that time knew nothing about sewing machines

White saw a good field in the sewing-machine line, and that year he and Grout – with a cash capital of $350 and with the help of three employees and a lathe, a planer and a drill press- started to manufacture machines.

They opened their plant in a little shop between Templeton and Phillipston, Massachusetts, and produced a hand-operated sewing machine known as “The New England”.

By 1861 the business had developed to a point where larger quarters were necessary

They started production in their new quarters with about 30 employees, and the first machine made in orange was named the “New England Family Sewing Machine’.

In 1867 having developed the Gold Medal Sewing Machine Company, moved the plant to Orange, Mass, and a stock company was formed on April 27 of that year.

It was in January 25, 1882 that the old Gold Medal Sewing Machine company was re-organised
The sewing-machine production figures were alleged to be approximately 500 a day by 1884.
The New Home company built special machinery for the manufacturing of their own needles and the department grew so rapidly that it wasn’t long before needles were manufactured for competitors’ machines as well.
In January, 1901, a new three-story building, 300 feet by 98 feet was completed, and in the following year another floor was added to enlarge production facilities. By this time, the production of needles reached 20,000 per day.

The manufacture of needles in the year 1904 by reason of enlarged quarters and increased machinery, reached a high of 6,296,850 and by 1922 the company was manufacturing about 1,800 different types of needles and their annual production reached 13,000,000.

For the years 1906 and 1907, the annual sewing-machine production was approximately 150,000 machines, and employees numbered 743.
During the years 1920, ’21 and ’22, the company operated with a substantial losses and because of their indebtedness, the banks took over the management of its affairs. On October 8, 1921, Mr. DeForest Candee was nominated to the Board of Directors, representing the banks. A week later, President Scarborough was elected to the office of Chairman of the Board and DeForest Candee was elected as President.

On January 14, 1925 DeForest Candee resigned as Director and President at which time Charles R Scarborough returned to the presidency. In February of the same year the Company was re-organised.

In the spring of 1927 the executive and general offices of the New Home Sewing Machine Company were removed from 432 4th Avenue, New York city, to the plant works in Orange, mass. Six months later, the executive and general offices were moved back to New York City, same address.

In spite of the efforts of Mr. Bender to strengthen the Company, it nevertheless continued to lose ground and an effort was made to dispose of the company. The Free Sewing Machine Company of Rockford, Ill, became interested t the extent of taking over temporary management of the Company September 1, 1928, without disturbing the location of the works, and subsequently purchased entire control of the Company January 1, 1930, at which time the machinery, patterns, dies, tools, etc, were moved from Orange to Rockford.

The Free Sewing Machine Company, having moved the equipment of the New Home Sewing Machine Company in Orange to Rockford, commenced to manufacture some of the New Home models and the sales and production of the New Home sewing machine was from henceforth on amalgamated with the Free organisation.
By 1937 there were over 7,000,000 New Home sewing machines in use.

The script is reprinted from Company archive material.