Antique Machines

I recently discovered that you can date old Singer machines by their serial number on the Singer website, so while I was in Perth, with help from my dad, I dug out the old Singer sewing machines I have inherited to take a look at them and to date them.

I inherited two sewing machines from my Gran, which she in turn had inherited from her grandmother and her great-grandmother. Before we moved to Australia my Gran kindly passed them on to me… and they’ve been sat in a box ever since (for the last 8 years).

The information I got from my Gran about them is as follows. Both the machines originally belonged to my great-great-Grandmother Louisa Horton. She used them in the 1880-1890’s because she was a dressmaker before she was married and would go to peoples houses and stay for a few days at a time to do their sewing. My gran informs me that she made quilts and clothes for herself and her children and never used a pattern in her life. When she died my great-Grandmother “Gran B” inherited the machines. Gran B apparently always preferred the older of the two machines.

The first machine out of a box was the oldest, with a very battered case:

Looking at the plaque with the serial numbers we found two 7 digit numbers. We weren’t sure which is the serial number but one dates at 1887 (7858031) and the other at 1875 (1994291), however speaking to my Gran about the dates and where they are from it must be from 1875.

The other machine is slightly newer, being dated as 1891 (10310970). This one no longer has a case.

They both have a bobbin mechanism that I’ve never used so I don’t know how to thread the machines so I’ve been unable to have a go and see how functional they still are, but I have a memory of using one of these machines as a child at my gran’s house.

The third old machine I have was gifted to me by an ex-housemate’s mum. I believe she was clearing stuff out and didn’t want it anymore and knowing that I sew offered it to me… and I of course said yes straight away. More than that I don’t know the history of the machine, but this one is much newer, dating in at 1929 (Y6956953). I also discovered from the site that it was manufacturered in Clydebank, Scotland.

My dad made a comment that other people collect nice small and light things. I made him feel better by telling him about how many sewing machines some other people have and that four machines (these three and the Janome I use everyday) really is hardly any at all!

1 Comment

  1. Susan in N. GA

    I have one just like your last one shown. I love it. I think I paid 45 dollars for it. It works great.


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