Modern Sunbonnet Sue's Musings

Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue:
Antique Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

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.

Happy Stitching!

Published Wed, May 23 2012 5:31 PM by Pamela


# re: Antique Singer Treadle Sewing Machine@ Wednesday, May 23, 2012 5:47 PM

Pamela I love your treadle it is beautiful ,,I have a Wheeler ,Wilson Treadle ,that was bought out by  singer in 1904, mine was made in 1896 and it works , the cabinet is very similar to yours except mine has six drawers . I manage to find a manual for it online and it has all the attachments for it , I just need to get some belts and new bobbins which are tin and thin. I want to try and make a small wall hanging with mine to see how it works . Barbara


# re: Antique Singer Treadle Sewing Machine@ Thursday, May 24, 2012 9:18 AM

Nice to hear about your Singer treadle machine.  I have a Singer treadle leather machine which my father used in his shoe repair shop.  He was trained as a shoemaker in his native Siily and came to America in 1910.  He eventually opened his own shoe repair shop and had purchased the leather machine used.  Singer information was that it was made in the early 1900's.  Dad had his shop in the 1930's.  However, it is missing a part and I have no idea who has knowledge of this type of machine or who to contact for repairs. I did not get a reply from Singer Co. when I requted this info.  If anyone knows where to get these machines repaired I would love to know.  Thanks!  Slightlyfrayedvb


# re: Antique Singer Treadle Sewing Machine@ Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:27 AM

I love my Singer Treadle.  The cabinet looks exactly like the one you have but the machine has the sphinx on the base and different detailing on the machine.  I have 5 antique Singers and love everyone of them.


# re: Antique Singer Treadle Sewing Machine@ Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:01 PM

I have the same cabinet, but my machine is a domestic,  don't know much about it but says made in Japan looks alot like singer. Sews extremely fast!


# re: Antique Singer Treadle Sewing Machine@ Saturday, May 26, 2012 3:23 PM

I love my Singer treadle 1908. It was my mother-inlaws and came out of amanillo TX. and all the way to concord NC last year with all the original manual, and attachment works like a charm. it a very special machine that will be past down to my granddaugther.