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My First Bernina

I’ll never forget the first Bernina machine I came across in 1958. It was a model 600 brought to me for repair at the small shop I had then. It was about 200 yards from our present much larger store.

I was already selling Viking, Necchi, Novum and my own branded sewing machines. As a mechanic I was much impressed with the superb build quality of the Bernina 600. After minor repairs it ran like a Swiss watch and the stitch quality was superb!

Bogod in London

It took some time to track down the distributor, (no Google in the fifties), Bogod, in London. I wrote to them but was immediately rebuffed as “they already had a dealer in Manchester”. Undeterred, I closed the shop and drove to London in my Ford Anglia Van, parked on the street outside Bogods premises – no meter maids then – and spent two hours convincing them I “was a good thing”. They again mentioned the Manchester stockist but I told them that my shop was in Patricroft – they asked where Patricroft was and I said, “Between Manchester and Liverpool”.

For some reason they took this to mean it was equidistant between the two Cities. They then reluctantly agreed to supply me with just one machine to sell at £65.00. They offered me 30 days credit but I plonked down the trade price in cash, which cheered them. I then said I’d take it with me thus saving them the transport cost, and I finally drove away with one Bernina 600 machine. Not a bad days work.

Posted the Cheque

By 10.30 next day I sold the machine, rang Bogod to order another 5 machines and posted a cheque to cover the order. The machines arrived a week later (after my cheque had cleared).

My two sons, Alan and Steven, joined me in the family business, I made sure I sent them to Bogod in London, and Bernina in Switzerland for training. They have also been to Pfaff in Germany on factory mechanics courses.

Nowadays they run the business and sometimes even tell me what to do. I take absolutley no notice of them of course, and consequently, we three get along amicably and the business ticks over nicely.

Roy Bamber (1931 – 2016)