Monday, February 25, 2013

More Machine History!

There are historians amongst us!

Remember my Benford hand crank machine that I had ZERO info on??

I received this email from Rosemary who writes:

Hi Bonnie,
When you last mentioned the old machine from Brighton I meant to see what I could find out about E G Benford, but didn't get round to it.
Your blog a couple of days ago has prompted me to do it this time. The weather is cold and snowy and I'm stuck indoors because our road is on a hill and icy.
As it happens I only live about 15 miles from Brighton. I gleaned all this from the UK census 1841 to 1901 and the indexes to births, marriages and deaths 1837 to 2005.
Edward Gillman Benford was born in 1841, probably April, the son of Edward Benford and Lucy probably Gillman. Edward Sr was a gardener.
In 1861 Edward G was a bookseller's assistant.
He married Alice Farrar in July, August or September 1865 and by 1871 they were living in 16 Castle Square Brighton, possibly over the shop, where he was a dealer in Berlin Woolwork. 10 years later he was a dealer in domestic sewing machines. By 1891 he was living elsewhere in Brighton but still trading in domestic machines.
In 1901 he was in the same house but now into house furnishing.
16 Castle Square was a haberdasher's before Edward moved in, was empty in 1891 and a hairdresser's in 1901.
Edward and Alice had 3 daughters and a son.
Alice died in October, November or December of 1906 aged 67. Edward G lived on until 1933 when he died in the first 3 months of the year at almost 92. Their son died in 1937.
I do promise to see what else I can find out, but not until the weather improves.
I hang my head in shame and admit that genealogy is slightly more important to me than quilting!

I am SO fascinated, and appreciative of this information!  Thank you, Rosemary!
Oh, I know I say it again and again, but if only these machines could SPEAK!
It’s a “paperwork” day for me….I have an inbox that severely needs cleaning out and things filed into various folders, and a website that needs calendar updating. 
Thank heavens for little email breaks like this one that can bring a bit of respite from business-work and keep me entertained along the way!


  1. How awesome to get this information! I'm also very much interested in genealogy, but it comes just slightly AFTER quilting. :O)

  2. Awesome!!! I love history!!!

  3. Sometimes quilting and genealogy go hand in hand! :)

  4. Hello Bonnie,

    I missed the first post about this machine, but think it is hilarious that this machine found its way back to America. The tension discs on top of the machine give it away as an American machine straight away.

    What a great bit of research by Rosemary. The censuses are fascinating. You can find out so much, even from the tiniest details. The most unexpected detail I have seen is a woman whose place of birth was described as "The fields of Waterloo." There's a novel about camp followers in there somewhere.

    Thanks to the censuses I found a great great great grandfather who lived to the age of 103. There again, he might just have lost count.

    Just like losing count of sewing machines. Easily done.


  5. These histories are so cool...yes, if these machines could only talk!

  6. What great info to receive regarding your machine. Thank goodness for the kindness of "strangers" and their ability to dig up "stuff".

    Now, you have talked me into it....I am going to write down a short bio for each machine I own, to include where I bought it, under what circumstances (previous owner if known) and a bit about me and for what I used that machine. It won't cover the earlier history of the machine, but it will cover my lifetime.

    I will either stick this to the bottom of the machine or keep it in the owner's manual. There, that solves that problem...now back to the Migrating Doves I am working on in FL.
    Faye in Maine

  7. Wow that is impressive! Just think 20 yrs ago, u might never have been able to find out that much info this quickly! W/ o traveling there yourself!

  8. It is so interesting to learn about the machines and their history.
    I only have one old machine and I should write what I know ablout it and keep it with the machine.


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