The Sewing Machine Combine That Didn't Happen

From 1893 to 1895, there were numerous reports in the press about plans to combine various sewing machine companies. Companies mentioned were Domestic, White, Standard, New Home, Davis.

Here is a sample of some of the reports:

February 15, 1893: Representatives from several leading sewing machine companies met to discuss forming a trust to reduce competition which has been cutting into profits. The goal is to set set binding agreements of prices.

March 2, 1893: Discussions on the Sewing Machine Combine are continuing. A reliable source says it would involve Domestic, Standard, Davis, New Home and White. They propose to organize a new company which will consolidate the entire properties of the members.

April 12, 1893: Dayton newspaper reported that the sewing machine trust was organized and George Huffman will be president and stated that Davis is the leading member (a little hometown bias here?) .

May 12, 1893: The sewing machine combine is reported to have collapsed because Domestic refused to join the consolidation.

March 20, 1894: Trust scheme revived. White SMCo of Cleveland, Davis SMCo of Dayton and Domestic SMCo of Newark planning to combine, but this is complicated by Domestic being in the hands of a receiver. The plan is for Domestic to move to Dayton to combine with Davis and for White and Standard to combine in Chicago. Likely officers are George Huffman of Davis to be President and Thomas White of White to be Vice-president.

December 29, 1894: It is reported that the consolidation of White, Davis and Domestic will result in all business being brought to Dayon.

February 25, 1895: It is stated on good authority that Singer, Domestic and Davis have combined and are planning to buy out White.

In April of 1894, the Sewing Machine Times published letters from Davis, Domestic, New Home, Standard and several other companies (but not White) denying that there were any combination or trust plans underway and some denied any knowlege of such plans. Judge Kirpatrick answered for Domestic, stating that he had not been approached about such a plan, knew nothing of it, would not countennance it, and as as an officer of the court would have no authority to consider it.

There were reports in 1895 that Frank Mack formed a corporation called the American Machine Company with the intention of being a middleman between manufactures and retailers.

December 1, 1895: On November 26, “innocent looking corporation papers” were filed in Columbus, Ohio for the American Machine Company. Frank Mack (Pres), Theodore Bucher, MD Williams, Wm F Kuder (VP), and AJ Michael. John A Seaton Sec & Treas. The new company aims to secure from all sewing machine manufacturers the exclusive right to sell all their machines to the retailers. The intention is to form a sub company in every state and conferences have already been held with various manufacturers. The intent is to prevent cutting prices.

December 12, 1895: Detail of plans of American Machine Company revealed by Frank Mack. The plans are the result of 5 years of close study. The sole purpose is to get sewing machines to the public at a price the dealer and purchaser can afford while leaving a reasonable profit to all parties. There is no consolidation of capital, but rather a consolidation of interests and agencies through the medium of an independent organization, which benefits the manufacturer and the public.

I did not find any followup to these announcements.

Return to the Domestic history page.