When I was a child, we had a Singer treadle sewing machine in the
house. We never really sewed on the machine, but it sat in our entryway,
next to the other sewing machine, that I did use to make my 4-H
projects and homemade clothes. A third sewing machine was in the
hallway. It was a newer Montgomery Ward, I believe. This one was the
best machine to sew on. But, I sometimes had to settle for the older
machine. My younger sister really liked the treadle. After our mother
passed away, our father sold the house. He let us each take items that
we wanted. My older sister took the Montgomery Ward. I took the older
model, removed the machine, and used the wooden case to hold my portable
Singer. Alas, my younger sister did not get the treadle machine she so
dearly loved. Unbeknownst to any of us, the machine belonged to a family
friend that needed a place to store it. It remained in our house until
my father called them to pick it up.
I now have an antique Singer treadle sewing machine in my possession.
I heard about a local estate sale, a couple of week-ends ago, and
decided to check it out. Mind you, this was the third day of the sale. I
showed up early on Saturday morning, just after a downpour, and
searched through the grounds. I noted the treadle machine in a back shed
and knew that it was from the early 1900's. I couldn't tell the
condition, since it had a couple of rugs and other items thrown on the
top. I inquired about the machine and the immediate response was, "We're
selling it for $75, but if you take it today, we'll sell it for fifty".
Fifty dollars? How could I pass that up. Well, I didn't have any way of
taking it home and I hadn't brought that much money along with me. I
had planned to just check out the sale, then come back later with my
husband, when he closed up the bakery shop.
Obviously, I got the sale. But, I was concerned that someone else
would come along before I got back and steal it away. I was a bit
concerned when we showed up an hour or so later with a truck. The
back shed was shut up and the machine had been inside. However, when
I asked about the machine, indicating that I had been by earlier, the
sellers were more than willing to let me in to look closer at the
machine and sell it for the fifty bucks.
Check it out. I looked up the seriel number on the Singer site and it
was made sometime from 1908 to 1910. Currently, Singer treadles are
listed on eBay between $400-$600. I'm not looking at selling, though.
This is my fourth Singer sewing machine. My first was a gift from my
husband and his parents on our first Christmas together. The second is a
Featherweight, also a gift from my husband, on our 25th anniversary;
and the third in the Singer collection was purchased from my Grandmother's
estate. I blogged about my The National Quilt Collection in past posts.
We're all sentimental about something. That treadle machine brings
back memories. Whenever I think about it, I recall my youth and learning
to sew. My mother was not a seamtress, so she signed us up to a 4-H
club, so that we could learn. My older sister and I would ride the
school bus into the village of Pompeii on Monday nights, rather than
getting off at home in the country. We met up with other club members at
a lady's house, where we would work on our project. My younger sister
was two years behind, so she had to wait to join the club. Later, we
began sewing our own clothing, because it was more economical. We have
all been sewing ever since.
Now, my sisters and I get together on a regular basis to sew. We make
quilts, bags, table toppers, and other crafty items. It's a real family
affair, Sister is Stitches, I call it. We've even talked about
starting our own 4-H club or some kind of quilty business. The treadle
will continue to give us inspiration. My younger sister was awed when
she saw the machine. "It's just like the one we had as kids", she said.
And proceeded to open the front drop down drawer that I didn't even know
was there. Another time, I will have to tell you about all the little
trinkets we found in the drawers.