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Object type

sewing machine


Lion Cabinet Sewing Machine

Place Associated

Scotland, Glasgow (place of manufacture)


circa 1868


metal, wood


overall: 1010 mm x 655 mm x 475 mm 45 kg


This is an example of a ‘Lion’ model sewing machine. It was in 1868 that the first ‘Lion’ model, a Registered Design, was introduced by Kimball & Morton. It uses a simple transverse shuttle lockstitch mechanism. The novelty is that the top section of the machine is modelled as a lion. The needle would originally have been hidden when not in use behind a pair of removable front legs. The original treadle design is of cast metal with a coat of arms between eagle and lion supporters with the motto 'Strength and Speed'.

Kimball & Morton was established as a sewing machine manufacturer by Alonzo Kimball and John Morton in 1867. Kimball had been the manager of the I M Singer & Co branch office at 65 Buchanan Street, Glasgow. During this period he employed John Morton as a travelling salesman for England, where he established an I M Singer & Co branch office in Liverpool. Kimball subsequently managed the I M Singer & Co office at 7 Maxwelton Place, Paisley Road, Glasgow from 1861–5. Kimball registered patents under his own name whilst working for I M Singer & Co.

On June 27th 1873 the ‘Lion’ was granted patent no. 2227. In 1876 It was exhibited at the American Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, where it was the only British-made machine to win a medal. Mechanically it is the same as a Singer 12.

ID Number



In storage

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