Jones was one of the oldest British sewing machine manufacturers, established in 1859 in Greater Manchester.
Jones produced a number of classes of sewing machines, but I have only worked with cylinder shuttle (CS) and rotary (Spool), so this post focuses on them.
Jones CS is a vibrating shuttle machine after a White design, named cylinder shuttle. These came in two sizes: 14.5″ bed called Medium CS, and 12″ bed called Family CS. See my post on vibrating shuttle machines for more details.
Later variants of Jones CS include models called “Consort” , “No. 35″, ” D53A” and possibly others. These models take different needles from Family CS, but are otherwise the same. They do look differently though!
You can tell old style Family CS from the new style CS by the type of the needle clamp.
New Family CS has a Singer style needle clamp and takes standard domestic 15×1 needles. Old Family CS does not have a separate needle clamp – the needle is inserted directly into the needle bar. There is a screw on the side to clamp it. Old Family CS machines take 128×1 needles.
Medium CS machines take special Jones Medium manufacturing needles which were very similar to 128×1 but had a flat shank. Such needles are no longer to be found! I don’t know what would be a good substitute because my own Medium CS machine had been converted to 15×1 needles by the previous owner.
Jones Spool is a rotary machine after Wheeler & Wilson D9, full size only.
Summary on needles and bobbins
New Jones Family CS: standard domestic 15×1 needles.
Old Jones Family CS and Spool: 128×1 needles or Schmetz DBx1 needles (Schmetz only! No other make works!!).
Both Jones CS: Singer 27/28 bobbins 31mm x 9mm, with a hole in the cap, as those used in German-made machines.
Jones Spool: Wheeler & Wilson rounded bobbin 23mm x 7mm, hole size is immaterial.
Both CS and Spool take “Jones” needles, but there is a difference between Family and Manufacturing needles.
Jones Medium CS machines take flat shank Jones Manufacturing needles, but I’ve never seen one, so don’t have the measurements.
Jones round shank needles have slightly different measurements, which doesn’t seem much but the wrong needle may cause skipped stitches. These needles are most similar to 128×1 needles, but 128×1 needles are hard to find in many countries. The next best choice is DBx1 but they must be from Schmetz. DBx1 needles are not really a very good match: the shank is too thin (1.58mm instead of 1.74mm) so that the needle is pushed too far away from the hook or shuttle, and the length from the butt to the eye is too short (33.7mm instead of 34mm) so that the eye comes too high as well. The combined result is skipped stitches.
However, Schmetz DBx1 needles are slightly thicker in the shank (1.63mm) and slightly longer from butt to eye (33.9mm) so that it just about works.
So, if you have to use DBx1, it must be Schmetz only! Got that?*
*No, I don’t think that you are stupid. I think that you don’t believe me. I had questions from people who tried to use Organ DBx1 – why does it not work? Because it’s not Schmetz. Because it’s too thin and too short.
Both types of Jones needles don’t have a scarf, while both substitutes do – and having a scarf where none is expected could lead to skipped stitches. However, I could not find any modern needles without a scarf.
|Needle type||Shank diameter mm||Butt to eye mm||Eye to point mm||Scarf|
|Jones Family CS||1.73||33.9||4.5||no|
128×1 needles are available in sizes 70/10 – 125/21. They come in just one point type: acute round point, also known as microtex needles, or sharps. This latter name is a misnomer because they do not have a sharp point – regular needles have a sharp point. But they feel sharp to the touch because the end of the needle is slim. They are suitable for sewing just about anything – from jersey to wovens and even leather, but because the point is slim, it can be damaged by dense materials. So don’t use the same needle on sail canvas and then on lycra swimwear. 😉
In the UK you can buy 128×1 needles for example from college-sewing.co.uk.
Note that DBx1 needles are not fully standardised among manufacturers, and some of these needles work with Jones, while other don’t (must use Schmetz, see above).
DBx1 needles come with a variety of point types – regular, several ball point types and leather point. There is also a sister needle type DBxK5 with the same measurements but a larger eye.
Jones CS bobbins
The bobbins for Jones CS machines are the same as those used for Singer VS machine, i.e., the “bullet” shuttle. Note that they are longer than the older Singer 12 bobbins for the transversal “boat” shuttle.
Except that Jones machines have a positioning pin in their bobbin winder, so you need Singer 27/28 bobbins with a little hole in the cap like those used with German-made VS machines. These bobbins are being made again, both with and without the hole, so make sure you get the right type.
Jones Spool bobbins
These bobbins come in two sizes, both are rare. The oldest Spool I’ve seen was from 1899, and it already used the larger bobbin called “Medium”. The smaller variety was apparently used on even older machines.
The Medium Spool bobbin is a rounded bobbin measuring 23mm in diameter and 7mm thick at its heighest point. It’s only 3.5mm thick at the edges, see photo above in the summary section.
I have so far not found a modern substitute for this bobbin, so if you know of one, do tell!