WHITE, THOMAS H. (26 Apr. 1836-22 June 1914), founder of White Sewing Machine Corp., parent company of WHITE MOTOR CO. and Cleveland Automatic Screw Machine Co., was born in Phillipston, Mass. to Betsey Pierce and manufacturer Windsor White. After a common-school education, he devoted himself to mechanical studies. By 1857 he had invented a small hand-operated single-thread sewing machine, starting his own business, with partner Wm. Grothe and $500 initial capital, making "The New England Sewing Machine," retailing for $10. Seeking a central location near markets and materials, in 1866 White moved his company, White Mfg. Co., from Templeton, Mass. to Cleveland. In 1876, White Sewing Machine Corp. was formed, with White as president and treasurer. Within 10 years, production had increased from 25 to 2,000 units per week, making Cleveland the center for making sewing machines. Branch dealers were opened across the country and in England. Civically active in Cleveland, White gave generously to charities and educational institutions, including, in 1908, financing the building of a separate studio for sculpture at Cleveland School of Art. He also served on CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL, 1875-76. White married Almira L. Greenleaf of Boston on 2 Nov. 1858 and had 8 children: Windsor, Clarence, ROLLIN H., Walter, Ella, Alice, Alice Maud, and Mabel. He is buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Ford and White Family Papers Collected by Ella Almira White Ford, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Ford and White Family Photographs, WRHS. 


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