William Gould Beckwith's first model was patented in both the USA and UK in 1871. The chain stitch design was both simple and elegant.
An arm projecting from the lower lever formed the workplate. Below this, a horizontal vibrating looper was mounted, this being actuated by a curved arm projecting downward from the upper lever, and working in a slot in the looper. Fabric feed was achieved by the action of a bent needle with a curvature greater than that of the curve in which the needle holder moved - the downward stroke drawing the work forward. A toothed presser foot was employed to prevent reverse fabric movement on the needle upstroke.
The "ring pull" used to power the machine quickly proved impractical in use.
Within months, a geared hand-crank arrangement superseded the first model. Unlike most machines, the crank could be turned in either direction without affecting operation. With confidence in the machine re-established, and an unaltered price of $10, sales soared. By 1874 an all-new model had been patented. Known today as the "Cross-arm," the heavily constructed machine used extra engineering to overcome some of the earlier model's weaknesses, this being particularly evident in the feed motion geometry. The buying public certainly approved and sales at least equalled those of the earlier model. Manufactured in New York, USA, initially by Barlow & Son, and later by the Beckwith Sewing Machine Co., the machines also enjoyed buoyant export sales to Europe for several years.

See patents.

Oct. 2000

Beckwith sewing machine 1
The improved geared hand crank setup
can clearly be seen in this
nickel plated example.

Beckwith sewing machine 2
A japanned and gilded version was
also marketed.

Beckwith sewing machine 3
The completely redesigned
final incarnation.

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