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033. Davis #1981937 - "M" Version 3 - 'Laidlaw Leeds' Rival'

#1981937, c1910s-1918. Courtesy of MB Cook, badged as Laidlaw Leeds' Rival. (Rival is a name associated with Davis, Free and Standard, see the NeedleBar Makers Lists for America). For historical photos see the separate Davis History Album.

This is a full sized machine (the Model N is a smaller version of this model), top leaf tension regulated by a thumbscrew. The lever under the tension releases the thread tension, allowing sewing to be pulled out from under the needle at the end of sewing, typical Davis decals and the treadle belt threads around the right hand side of the balance wheel, stitch length regulator on bed of machine.

Model M version 1 has a much squarer body and a stitch length regulator on the pillar of the machine. Version 2 retains the squared look to the machine, but the stitch length regulator has moved to the bed of the machine. Version 3 has a much rounder machine body with stitch length regulator on the bed of the machine.

Laidlaw Leeds was originally a mail order catalogue from Auckland selling mainly agricultural goods founded in 1909 by Robert Laidlaw. Apparently there was no Leeds; it was a play on the word "leads". In 1918 Laidlaw Leeds merged with the Farmers Union Trading Company (formed 1910) as part of post-war rationalization and became known as The Farmers Trading Company (not related to Farmers in Australia). The company moved into retail sales and became a department store. Robert Laidlaw produced a pamphlet called "The Reason Why". "The Inside Story of Farmers", 1953, details the company's history. The company was similar to Sears in America. New Zealand now has over 50 Farmers Trading Company Department stores.

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