Wanzer update.

Following a recent spate of interest in Canadian-manufactured machines, I thought it appropriate to update my Wanzer notes.

Little Wanzer.

Earliest examples (late 1860's) have a very open, fine, five-spoked drive flywheel. The needle head bar does not have a cover plate and the shuttle carriage has no spring mechanism to keep the shuttle accurately held. These early models are also sparsely decorated.
Second generation "Littles" have heavier cast, more ornate flywheels, some are completely closed type. The needle head bar is now fitted with a cover plate, inscribed with the "Time Utilizer" logo, etc. These cover plates were initially made from pressed brass, these were quickly replaced with bright steel ones. The shuttle carriage gained a securing spring, and the head decoration became more flamboyant.

By the late 1870's a new patented shuttle and take-up was introduced (see illustrations). This variant, along with the straight-race latter day machine, is fairly uncommon.

Little Wanzer ad.
take-up mechanism for Little Wanzer.
Relevant UK patents for take-up
and shuttle appeared in 1877.

 Wanzer A.

Until recently, I had assumed the "A" model was introduced in the mid 1870's, for its distinctive straight-race shuttle mechanism was patented in the UK in 1875.
However, I recently observed a model whose superstructure and scale is that of the "A", but mechanically has far more in common with the earliest "Littles".
The machine features a vertical arc shuttle mechanism.
The back gears have no hand guard. A crudely cast bottom section bolts to a marble slab, compared to the fancy cast base on the standard "A" .
There is no facility for dedicated bobbin winding.
The top arm features simple horizontal thread tension discs - as in early Little Wanzers, and a rudimentary take-up system is employed.
Last but not least, the normal Wanzer japanned cast iron cloth plate is absent, and a pressed steel affair takes its place. The plate has been stamped with the company's name and patent dates - 1867 & 1870. The first of these patents is shared with the early Little Wanzer. However, it is the 1870 patent which proves to be the most revealing, for it contains diagrams which fully illustrate this particular model.
(See "Patents" section.)

If one considers all of the above, it seems reasonable to speculate that here we have the predecessor to the well known "A" model. It would appear that the company's desire to produce a more substantial counterpart to the successful Little Wanzer may have come about several years prior to previously documented dates.
Apparently the advanced-looking standard "A" only materialised after a lengthy, if less commercially successful, concurrent development period with the "Little".

March 2000

early variant Wanzer.
The earliest Wanzer A?

standard Wanzer A
The standard model A
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