I went antique shopping today and even though I really didn’t plan on another sewing machine project I came home with one.
This was made in 1887 and it really is not in the best shape, but for 18 dollars I had to save it.
At some point in its life someone decided to re paint it ……you can see all the black paint on things that should not be painted.
The paint didn’t stick so well to the decals so a lot of it rubbed off, but the decals really are pretty much destroyed and trying to get the paint off without further damage is not easy. I have done some work on it.
I think I have it in working order (I need to put in a needle and give it a test) but it still needs a lot of cleaning. I am thinking about doing a total refinish since it is in such bad shape. That would include striping and repainting and new decals. I have not done that before because I usually thing it is better to embrace the age. What do you think?
I did some of the quilting on the tree but needed to take a break to rest my hands.
I’ll get back to that soon
I spent some time working in the garden today. I fertilized the lawn, did a bit of weeding and planted a few annuals. Teddy watched .
Things are starting to grow.
Here are a few garden pictures (click pictures to enlarge)
I got another new sewing machine. This one is a Minnesota F.
Minnesota was the brand name for Sears Sewing Machines (other brands used by Sears over the years were Franklin, Acme, June, and Eventually Kenmore) Minnesota Machines were made by The Davis Sewing Machine Company of Dayton, Ohio. With a few exceptions, Davis would become the sole supplier of sewing machines to Sears until about 1912 when Sears began to slowly phased out sales of Davis sewing machines in favor of models made by Domestic, Free, White and other manufacturers. Davis would eventually go out of business about 1924, having become dependent on supplying Sears with sewing machines over the previous twenty years for its main source of income and unable to make up the loss from other sources.
It is a smaller machine. The base measures 12″ x 6″ Here it is in front of a full-sized Singer.
I spent some time cleaning it up and oiling it. (I didn’t get before picture to show how much better it looks ) It is in pretty good shape. I will have to do some modification to one of my treadle bases to fit the smaller size so I haven’t tried it out yet but I can tell it will work great.
It takes huge needles (Davis long needles) that aren’t impossible to find but aren’t made anymore either so they cost a few dollars each. The machine came with a box of attachments and there were 2 extra needle in that.
In this picture the needle on the left is the needle for this machine and the right is the standard Singer needle
Now back to hand quilting
Another sewing machine project today. This New Home Machine was in pretty good shape but it needed a good cleaning.
Old sewing machines are often in a lot better shape than they look. Old machines need oil frequently but the oil they had at the time was not the same as the sewing machine oil we use today. The old oil dried up and became almost like varnish. An old machine often has a coating of that oil all over it…..it becomes yellow and gunky and oddly enough that gunky coating of oil does a pretty good job of protecting the decals and if you are careful it can be cleaned off to reveal the beauty under the gunk.
I start by taking it apart a bit to make clean up easier here are a few pictures (click to enlarge)
The internal parts of the machine I clean with WD-40 …..WD 40 is NOT oil…..but it does remove the old dried up oil. If you read the manual for a 100-year-old machine they recommend using Kerosene to clean off dried oil. I find the WD-40 works just fine…..then after cleaning I wipe it all off and then oil the machine using sewing machine oil. I spray a bunch of WD-40 on the crud on the underside and the unpainted parts and let it sit for a while then scrub with a tooth-brush and extra fine steel wool. The decals are a different story, I don’t want to risk scrubbing them off so I use sewing machine oil and rub it in over and over with a cloth. That takes off the dried oil without too much abrasion. After that I wipe down the head with some mild soap to remove any excess oil and then give it a buff with a soft cloth.
Here is the result….the before is on the right
See how the decals on the head have come back…before I started the decals by the bobbin winder (on the right) were almost totally covered.
It is sewing and looking great!
Teddy had to take a look
After he said it was good I pit it in the treadle
I’ll give it a try tonight with some piecing for the next quilt.
The New sewing machine came today.
It is a Singer 127 and It’s serial number is AA251096
That makes it’s birth date January 25, 1925. You can look up your singer machine based on serial number here http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/serial-numbers/singer-sewing-machine-serial-number-database.html
It was in pretty rough shape (so it was inexpensive) It had been unused for so long that it was frozen. It took a lot of work oiling it get it running smoothly but it is now running like new! The decals are in pretty good shape. The Sphinx pattern is pretty cool.
It will some day go into a treadle (it doesn’t fit in the Free cabinet) once I find a good deal on one. For the time being I put it into a basic sewing machine cabinet. It had an old dressmaker machine in it that I wasn’t super fond of (really rough running and clunky). I added a motor and foot pedal to the Machine and gave it a test run and it is pretty darn good.
Yesterday I wrote about free motion quilting on the free machine. I sort of solved the issues with it by making my own darning foot. I used a paperclip to make it.
That might be hard to see….here is a closer picture. The paperclip I used was one of those plastic coated striped kind)
I will post more about that after I spend some more time testing it.
I finished all the blocks for the snowball quilt.
Now to sew them all together.
Teddy says Hello
Today I went to the local antique mall with the intention of finding an old sewing machine cabinet or table for one of my machines. I like different machines for different things so I wanted to be able to have them easily accessible without rearranging to make space.
I didn’t find anything that really would work for that, but I did find this.
Not at all what I was looking for but it was too cool to pass up. wait until you see it open up! (click the pictures to enlarge)
I really didn’t “need” a treadle machine but it called my name and said take me home.
The belt needs to be replaced but other than that it is in great shape…I love the paint.
Here is the shuttle
which holds the bobbin
I found a pdf of the manual on-line so I’ll have to read that to be sure I have it all figured out.
I didn’t know much about the Free Sewing Machine Company so I looked them up, here is what I found.
HISTORY OF THE COMPANY
The St. John Sewing Machine Company, which was the predecessor of the Free S.M.Co., was founded in 1870. In 1883, it was renamed the Royal Sewing Machine Company. After the company relocated to Rockford, Illinois, it was renamed once again in 1897 as The Free Sewing Machine Company after company president William C. Free.
Most machines made by the Free company were for sale by mail-order companies and department stores. For instance, machines that are marked “Illinois Sewing Machine Co.” were made by Free.
In the mid-1920s, Free became associated with Westinghouse which became the sole supplier of motors and electric equipment for Free brand sewing machines. As such, the earlier electrically driven Free sewing machines are labeled Free-Westinghouse.
The Free sewing machine company merged with the New Home Sewing Machine Company in 1927. In the early 1930s New Home models were phased out of production and ‘New Home’ basically became a brand of The Free.
The post World War II period saw the large scale importation of cheap Japanese-made sewing machines into the United States. Trade barriers favorable to American companies had protected the country’s sewing machine industry from lower cost (and quality) foreign made goods. However, the Marshall Plan coupled with the new ideas of free trade slowly eliminated them.
In an effort to stay solvent, Free/New Home merged with National in the early 1950s. However, the resulting corporation was not able to compete against cheap overseas labor, and the company was bought out by the Japanese in 1954.
The historical and technical contribution of The Free to sewing machine development was negligible. Like many of the other small manufacturers, they basically made machines based more or less on designs from the larger manufacturers. –From The Encyclopedia of Antique Sewing Machines, 3rd Edition
It weighs 18000 pounds so I am not sure I want to carry it up the stairs to the studio……so It might become a Parlor Machine.
When I get a belt for it I will let you know how it works.