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A very brief summary of the Hengstenberg Sewing Machine Company of Bielefeld


by Alex I Askaroff

Hugo Hengstenberg of Bielefeld  
Born 7.9.1845 in Claswipper. Died  07. 1911, Bad Neuenahr.

In 1878, aged 33, Hugo Hengstenberg joined forces with Carl Schmidt who had just set up a factory making sewing machines. Schmidt had already been in business with Nickolaus Durkopp and had considerable experience in the sewing machine field.

Within five years Schmidt had left the company and in 1884 the company was renamed the Bielefeld Sewing Machine Company. 

Hugo followed the same path as countless other manufactures of the period and copied the best selling machine of the day which was the Singer model 12 New Family Machine of 1865.

The transverse shuttle machines they produced that were sold by distributors such as J. Silberg of Hamburg, carried the company badge of a three-towered castle. The centre tower was a church dome-which was above an open gate to the city. The castle was wrapped in a band-like a silk flag.

Hugo's machines proved very popular and were made extremely well to the highest German manufacturing standards. The engineering of these hand built machines was so good that all these years later many of his company machines are still sewing perfectly.

However, Hugo was a busy boy and found that there was an expanding market in not only sewing machines but also bicycles and cash registers and so the company was renamed once again to add these items. 

There are several unique features of the Hengstenberg machines besides the company badge.

They used the Greek style-interlocking pattern on many of their models and often a spring loaded catch on the base of the machine to secure the machine to the wood base. On the hand-crank cover-wheel there is a small lump at the top that houses the upper gear case screw, this is a unique feature on his machines.

After religious persecution some families fled from Germany to many parts of the world. These machines often turn up in Australia where German immigrants moved, taking there precious machines with them.

By 1905 the company decided to expand once again, this time into office machinery and carried on successfully producing items for many years. 

By the end of the 1940ís the company concentrated its production capabilities to just office machinery.

Hengstenberg Sewing Machines were beautifully engineered and are sought after by collectors worldwide. When set properly they still sew better than many modern machines.


Company badge of  J. Silberg of Hamburg. One the distributors of Hengstenberg Sewing Machines  


Hengstenberg Sewing Machine badge  


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If you have any further information on Hengstenberg Sewing Machines please do contact me: alexsussex@aol.com

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A brief summary of the Hengstenberg Sewing Machine Company of Bielefeld

by Alex I Askaroff




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