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Wheeler & Wilson D9 sewing machine, feet, box & manual

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    Posted 5 months ago

    (1 item)

    Hi, I am restoring a D9 Wheeler and Wilson sewing machine and I am seeking some help on how to determine it's age. I have all the feet (I think) in an original wooden box, it has the original leather for the treadle wheel and a very worn manual which my Nana had sticky taped the tears over the years. I have checked out a few sites and there is a range of years 1888-1905 but I was hoping to narrow it down to a specific year, if that is possible. Any assistance that can be offered would be appreciated. Niki

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    1. keramikos, 5 months ago
      Hi, Niki. :-)

      Wow, a Wheeler & Wilson D9. That is so cool.

      It looks like the serial number is "299917."

      I can't quite read all of the engraved information on that cloth plate, but it looks like it's quite similar to this one:


      OIL HERE
      PATENTED MAR 25TH 90 AUG 2ND 92
      NO. 3042701


      So it's probably safe to assume (yeah, I know) that your machine is no older than 1892.

      However, there's probably another patent on it, and it's a bit hard to see, because it's on the needle bar:

      If yours has that one, then it probably moves the age forward to 1894.

      Here are the Google listings for those two patents:

      Here are some websites to help you further (dating your W&W D9 is mostly a matter of comparing it to other W&W D9 machines that have already been dated by other means):

      This site could be of help in your restoration project (you'll need to scroll down to where it reads "Epilogue," because among other things, there's a picture of a completely disassembled W&W D9 all neatly laid out):

      BTW, you'll probably need to replace that leather belt. Replacements are readily available, and here is one purveyor that seems reputable:

      Here's advice from an expert in fitting a replacement belt:

      Here's my collection of vintage sewing machine links:

      However, you don't have to sift through all of that if you don't want to do so. You could just ask a question in a comment on this post.

      I'm not really an expert, but if I don't know the answer to something, I'll go back out there into the wilds of the Internet, and try to find an answer.
    2. keramikos, 5 months ago
      D'oh! Knew I'd forget something.

      I don't know if this will be an exact match, but here's a soft copy of a manual for a W&W D9:

      You might want to consider scanning your Nana's worn hard copy before it deteriorates any further.
    3. Niki, 5 months ago
      WOW, Thank you for all that information. Sadly my manual does not look that good. She used a lot of tape. You got the details right for the plate. I couldn't see anything on the needle bar. I will have a closer look in better light. Thanks heaps for all the info.
    4. keramikos, 5 months ago
      Niki, You're very welcome. :-)

      Your post kind of caught me at the end of my day yesterday, and I needed to get my train of thought back to Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines (most of the machines people bring here are Singers).

      I actually helped somebody about a year ago with a Singer 9W (which is a descendant of the W&W D9), and discovered to my dismay that Singer probably muddied the W&W serial number trail by using some of the 'leftover' W&W serial numbers after they took over the company and its assets.

      In the process of helping the Singer 9W owner, I discovered an eBay vendor that's cannibalizing a Singer 9W7 for parts. That particular Singer 9W7 is an example of one that appears to have an old W&W serial number (3202398), which led the vendor to date the machine mistakenly as 1879 vintage by using Singer's no-prefix serial number table.

      Ultimately, your best chance of narrowing down the vintage of your W&W D9 machine may be to contact the OPs of the sewmuse website, Lin & David Best:


      We maintain a database of number 8, 9 and D-9 Wheeler & Wilson machines to track the various changes made during production and ultimately date machines please Contact Us (lindave at sewmuse dot co dot uk) with your machines serial number and a clear photo.


      Good luck. Feel free to comment and post here further. :-)
    5. keramikos, 5 months ago
      Niki, I think I've overlooked something pretty basic, which is the model number engraved on the cloth plate: D-9.

      Per both the sewmuse and needlebar websites, that would mean your machine is no older than 1895. It's not much of an advance, but there it is.

      Differences between the W&W 9 and D-9:


      Wheeler & Wilson 9 and D-9 Comparisons

      The older version was called the Wheeler & Wilson 9, the newer version introduced in 1895 was the D-9 (later the model became the Singer 9W after Wheeler & Wilson was taken over). There are several differences including the change from free standing hand crank to a more compact one, the size of the bed and slide plates, bed castings, spool pin, take up lever, type of bobbin, thread cutter, serial numbers, even type of needle between the Wheeler & Wilson 9 and the Wheeler & Wilson D 9.

      See full description of The New W. & W. Machine.

      The (earlier) Wheeler & Wilson 9 hand crank case is larger, it has a rope handle that was covered in leather (as with Wheeler & Wilson 8 machines). This was superseded by a metal handled bentwood case when the model became the D 9. This model was sold with a roll-top accessories box (see below), called a "revolving shutter box", which fits neatly under the arm of the machine. Later D 9 hand crank machines have a slim-line case that is significantly smaller than earlier bentwood cases.

      The Wheeler & Wilson 9 measures 19" across the top of the case and the width of the base is approximately 10".

      The bed of the machine itself is approx. 14" long x 6 1/2" wide.

      The later version of the D-9 case is smaller, measuring 17" across the top of the case and the width of the base is approximately 7 1/4" wide. The case handle is recessed.

      The bed of the machine is approx. 13 1/2" long and 6 1/2" wide. Note the shorter slide plate. The D-9 hand crank model was available with and without accessories box to the right.

      Bobbins: The earlier machines (Wheeler & Wilson 9) take a 'bagel' shaped bobbin in a holder that slides into position, like the later Wheeler & Wilson 8. The D-9 machines use a latch arrangement for holding the bobbin, without a holder. Bobbins are not quite the same for both models; the D-9 has a small hole in the bobbin, whereas the 9 has a small hole in the holder.

      It appears that the early Wheeler & Wilson 9 machines take a round shank needle ( Boye 27), whereas the later D 9 machines take a flat shanked 127x1 (Boye 18).

      Courtesy of Claire Sherwell


      Here is a description of some differences between a machine with serial number 229218 and one with a serial number of 2878031:


      #229,218 & 2,878,031

      Courtesy of Miller Fulks

      The take-up lever on the earlier one, at the top, has a roller end much like a re-located Wheeler & Wilson 8, while the later one is self threading.

      Shanks of the feet: Dimension-wise they are all identical & the bottom of the notch in the #9 & D-9 is in same location as the hole in the #8, despite slots being on different sides.

      Sleeve clamp: Earlier machines don't have a sleeve clamp, later ones do.


      That last bit I excerpted mainly because of the low, six digit serial number. Your machine could well be an early D-9.
    6. keramikos, 5 months ago
      Niki, just revisiting this.

      In looking at your machine, and comparing it with those closeups of various parts at the needlebar website, yours seems to have the later style of self-threading thread takeup, thread guide, and and foot installed on the machine; however, you have a selection of older style feet in your attachments.

      It all seems to support the idea that your machine is an early D-9.
    7. keramikos, 5 months ago
      Niki, I decided to take a closer look at your attachments.

      One of them has "PAT.OCT.20.91" on it. That's a feller and hemmer:

      That big, rectangular doodad with the meaurements on it might be a tucker, e.g.:

      And that comb-looking thing is probably a shirrer:
    8. keramikos, 5 months ago
      BTW, if you look closely at the patent drawing of the feller/hemmer, it appears to be a multi-piece device.

      You have the main foot device (with the patent number engraved on it), and the adjustable ga[u]ge (all the way over by the edge of the cabinet top), but I don't see the small piece identified as the separator. Neither do I see the thumbscrew.

      I do see a thumbscrew on that as-yet unidentified doodad near the bottom of the picture, so that one might work for both, but that separator piece is another matter.
    9. keramikos, 5 months ago
      Some of those attachments are illustrated, named, and demonstrated towards the end of the basic user manual, but not all.

      Here's a Wayback machine copy of a W&W No. 9 attachment manual:

      I still don't see an illustration, etc., for that one doodad towards the bottom of the picture, but maybe I don't recognize it because of the angle (is it perhaps the ruffler?).

      To the right of it is probably the non-adjustable hemmer foot, but it's on its side, so it's difficult to be sure.

      Oh well.

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