Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vintage Sewing Machines

A few years back, I become interested in vintage and antique sewing machines. Not in just collecting them, but also in using them. I'm finding that they are so much better made than the new, improved plastic ones with all the bells and whistles.

Two things really surprised me:
1) I found that most of Singer's (for instance) attachments, were used on machines 100 years ago...hemstitchers, rufflers, binding... Why did I assume these were invented relatively recently for use on only the 'modern' machines?

2) My sewing machine dealer told me with great pride, that my new Elna would still be sewing away in ten years. Gee - that means I could have bought several vintage machines that are still sewing after 100 years, for the same price! You almost can't kill those things.

Here are a few photographs of my small, but growing collection:

Jones Medium C.S. treadle w/Queen Alexandra decal
Serial Number 98833
Circa 1900-1910
Manufactured in North Manchester, England
It came with the original manual, 3 shuttles, 5 bobbins,
a binder, quilter, 4 hemmers and a shuttle tension screwdriver.

Singer Model 99K handcrank
Serial Number Y2303516
Manufactured in Glasgow, Scotland
It came with the original manual, 5 bobbins, a binder,
foot hemmer, seam gauge and the large screwdriver.
My youngest learned to sew using this machine.

Singer Model 201K handcrank
Serial Number EC851510
Manufactured in Glasgow, Scotland
It came with the original manual, 6 bobbins, a binder,
quilter, adjustable hemmer, tucker, gatherer, and the large screwdriver.
My son MJ learned to sew on this machine. He pieced his first quilt with it. Ok, his only quilt. He preferred taking the machines apart and cleaning them.

Singer Model 221K Featherweight
Serial Number EE861595
Manufactured in Glasgow, Scotland
It came with 1 bobbin, a foot hemmer, an adjustable hemmer,
a gatherer, and a ruffler.

The first three are all people-powered and have come in handy more than once when the power's gone out. As a matter of fact, my 2 youngest learned how to sew on the handcranks.

I have a few more machines, but they'll have to wait til the next installment.

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