The NeedleBar



by Jenny Sims

Dating Frister & Rossmann Machines

A brief table to enable you to approximately date your Frister and Rossmann machine. Where two numbers appear on your machine the first only is necessary in order to date it. By 1897 this practice had ceased. For some models and in some countries there was only ever one number. At some point after WW2 the numbers reverted back to 000 again!

1869 -1875
1876 - 1880
1881 - 1890
1891 - 1895
1896 - 1900
1901 - July 1903
August 1903 - 1907
1907 - late 1914
1915 - 1920
Quitmann, City Road
Up to 1937
Quitmann, Little Britain
After 1937

NOTES: Where two dates appear in the column below these are the first and last estimated dates for manufacture based on data submitted by owners.Frister and Rossmann did not open their factory for production of machines until 1869

I need more data before I can accurately date machines after 1920

Frister & Rossmann Model Types

Click on Thumbnails for Larger Images

There is little reference to this model in F&R’s advertising so we do not know for how long or in what quantities these machines were manufactured.

An example from the mid-1890's is known however.

Part of an Advertisement from 1869

The first machine advertised as an 'interpretation of the Wheeler and Wilson sewing machine'. Made in Berlin.

Note the centre bar of the treadle stand closely imitates the genuine article. By 1873 - see below - the F&R logo has been added but the sides of the stand have changed to resemble the original Wheeler and Wilson

Advertisement from 1873

The earliest advertisements found are for the Wheeler and Wilson type machine with curved needle which was available as both a treadle and hand machine, these were still being made into the 1900’s.

1872 – Singer 12 type

Decal style -- Snowflakes & Shield

Possibly designated model Lit A.

Data elsewhere suggesting the factory began to make these machines in 1875 however with information on available factory output it does appear they began to make this model as early as 1872.

This machine was available as a hand or treadle machine. The hand version was available on either a wooden base with wooden lid or on a cast iron paw footed base.

This is a very good example of the model decorated with mother of pearl the model was also available with the rose decals as shown on the machine below

Decal style Roses - c.1884

Saxonia type Paw footed Machine c.1887

Decal style -- Shield & Snowflakes

A variation on the singer 12 type

Decal style -- Roses c.1889

Was this machine designated model B?

Early high arm Transverse Shuttle machine, this with the rose decals used on the low arm versions

Treadle stand from 1891 housing a machine as shown below

High arm TS variant 2 1876 – 1896

Decal style -- Stars & Snowflakes

The rectangular plate shows suitable thread thicknesses according to the needle size used.

Note top and bottom threads differed

High arm TS Variant 3 1896 – 1905

Decal style -- Snowflakes

The strange silver pull down lever on the vertical rectangular front piece of the above model has been replaced by an access hole to the right. Later this is omitted altogether.

A third slide plate has appeared to the front of the machine.

1904 Advertisement

This later treadle stand is far more ornamental than earlier models

High arm TS variant 4 1904 – 1909

Decal style -- Oak Leaves

Note the change in bobbin winder at this time.This bobbin winder type was also used on the VS machines

High arm TS Variant 5

Decal style -- Red Lilies

These decals had the longest run of all the TS machines being made from 1908 until at least 1938.

After 1920 the letter K appeared on the inside of the arm and the model underwent more variations.

Harrods No 15

Decal style -- Bronze Lilies

The above machine but branded to the London department store Harrods.

These machines were sold by the shop until 1914.

High Arm Transverse Shuttle - 1916

Decal style - Bird of Paradise

A late TS K machine circa 1937/8

Decal style -- Red Lilies

Note the change in bobbin winder.

The face plate also varies from the early models which had a black painted and decorated face.


Data from Alte Nähmaschinen by Peter Wilhelm.

Many thanks to everyone who has filled out the NeedleBar Survey and to the members of NeedleBar, Treadle On and Ismacs who have shared information, pictures, researched and acted as translators.

Special thanks to; Erna Van Burik, Uwe Dierkes, Jon Cnossen, Gary Nelson, Bonnie,, Friedel and Ursel Niggemann, Randle McBay, Dorothea Glorius, Lyn & Eric Forsyth and Marco Rudin for the use of their material.

© Jenny Sims 2002, 2003, 2004. All Rights Reserved
This page may not be reproduced or distributed in part or in whole without the prior written permission of the copyright owner