Monday, August 10, 2009

Century-Old Treasures

I stopped by an estate sale yesterday. I had shopped at this particular sale the day before and noticed an antique sewing machine cabinet in the home’s dining room. The cabinet top was closed and displayed numerous diminutive knick-knacks for sale. The room was dark and crowded, so I didn’t inspect the machine because I thought to myself, “I didn’t need another sewing machine.”

When I approached the sewing machine cabinet yesterday, however, the tiny home was not as crowded with shoppers, so I knelt down to look under the cabinet to see if indeed a machine was tucked inside. Another shopper, a man, remarked that he had also wondered if the cabinet contained a machine but had been too lazy to remove all the items placed on the cabinet’s top.

As I collected all the tiny glass figurines, porcelain vases, and painted china cups to put them aside, I told the man that I believed we’d discover a Singer model 27. When I lifted the machine head, I found that my hunch was correct. Singer’s model 27 was manufactured from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Realizing that I had unearthed a treasure, my interest was piqued. Knowing that all items were discounted by 30 percent, I was quickly losing my sales resistance.

Singer treadles from this era form stitches using a vibrating shuttle and long, slender bobbins. The man’s wife had joined us as we, along with others, gawked at the dusty machine. The man mentioned that he’d seen an accessory box inside one of the drawers. I knew that I had to have this machine the moment I opened the drawer and saw the pristine Singer puzzle box loaded with original accessories.

After I paid a mere $65 for the machine, two men loaded it into my vehicle, and I headed home. When I pulled into my driveway, I saw my sweet husband outside doing yard work. I approached my husband and offered sound reasons for my purchase. “The puzzle box alone is worth what I paid for the machine, cabinet, and the box,” I insisted. My husband shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s fine with me. I am glad you got it.”

I later learned that Singer manufactured this particular machine around November 28, 1904. After my husband set the machine in our garage, I was thrilled to discover that the treadle mechanism operates with a wooden pitman. I frequently peruse Yahoo’s Vintage Singer group and had seen photos of machines with a wooden pitman, which, in my opinion, denotes incredible workmanship.

As I mined my usual Internet resources for more information about the Singer 27, I learned that the decal set on this machine, referred to as “pheasant” is rare. I cite two trusted sources who mentioned this fact. However, my decals aren’t pristine, but I hope a gentle clean-up might brighten these elaborate decorations.

Here are photos of my new treasure, which is still dusty and grimy but in excellent condition, nonetheless. The machine is in my garage at the moment, as well. In coming days, I will attempt to clean the machine with Blue Magic TR-3. I will also oil the head and other moving parts. After I ensure that the machine is ready to roll, I will attempt to learn how to operate this mechanical marvel.

It’s quite evident to me that the previous owners loved and cared for this marvelous, 105-year-old sewing machine. I am humbled and delighted to take that torch.

Singer 27 Treadle Head

Singer Cabinet with Elaborate Carvings

Singer Puzzle Box

Wooden Pitman


Gretchen said...


The machine and cabinet are pieces of art in themselves. I've never seen one like that but it's just beautiful. I would have been tempted for sure and I really don't have room for any more furniture in this little cottage.


Kelee Katillac said...

Hi Anne!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! SO happy to meet you!

I love the sewing machine!!! I sew on one that is similar! Not as pretty though...

love, kelee

Beth said...

It's simply beautiful! What a special piece. Thanks for sharing it with us and thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.


kimaloo said...

I'm really glad you posted this! I was at our local Goodwill store and they have this exact machine with the bird emblem and everything. I was having a hard time finding any info on this specific model until I found your blog. But they're only asking $15 for it so I might go back and pick it up just to have it!

Sandra said...

What a find and it looks like it is in excellent condition! I'm really happy for you! Recently I inherited a treadle machine that belonged to my great-grandmother, but I'll need to spend some time restoring it before I can use it. Still I'm thankful to have something that she enjoyed using.

fiberdoodles said...

What an amazing new treasure!

Anonymous said...

Anne, it's beautiful. I've never seen the puzzle box. What a neat find! I have the 201, 15 and 99 (I think). I saw a 221 in your shots, I think. That is one that has eluded me so far.

BTW, thanks so much for the link in your sidebar. :)