June 05, 2019

Another New (Very Old) Toy

A couple of weeks ago, one of the youth leaders at our church said her father had an old sewing machine in his shed. Would I want it? Why yes, of course I would! So this beauty has found her way to me 😊
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
I googled her serial number, which tells me she was made in 1894, making her 124 years old. Does that thrill you as much as it does me? I think it's wonderful to own a machine that women used to make their family's clothes and quilts so long ago. I wish I could know the machine's history. How many women have owned and used it? Did young girls learn to sew their first projects on it? Did it ever sew a wedding dress? Baby clothes?

This is my second Singer treadle machine and, strangely enough, they both have the Sphinx decals. You can read about my first one here.
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
I've read before that people don't set out to become collectors of vintage machines, but that it happens gradually anyway. It's almost like there's a gossip network among the old, neglected machines, telling of safe havens. Can't you hear their whispers? "I heard about this lady who takes machines like us in and fixes them up so they're clean." "I hear she even says she wants to get them sewing again!"
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
This poor machine has had some knocks and bumps in her 124 years. The decals on the machine bed are in rough shape and the black enamel coating is chipped and missing in places. It's going to be hard to clean it without causing more damage. She doesn't seem to be missing any parts, though, except for the cabinet with the treadle foot pedal. I'll need to replace those eventually if I want to be able to sew on her.
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
Boy, oh boy, is she dirty! It's going to take some serious work to get her clean again. I took off the end plate and this is what it looks like inside (thankfully everything is of the inanimate variety and nothing scurried away as I removed the plate, lol).
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
I wish I had thought to take a picture of this piece before I started cleaning it. Do you see the gross brown at the top, just above the hole? That's what the whole thing looked like before I tried cleaning it with baking soda and water. Yuck, right?
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
The baking soda and water helped a lot, but then I read that chrome cleaner used on vintage motorcycles is the ideal cleaner for the chrome on these machines so I messaged my Dad, who has vintage motorcycles. He told me I need Autosol. I picked some up over the weekend and it works so well. Here's what it looks like after I used the Autosol and a toothbrush. There's still some grime in some of the corners of the design, so it needs a bit more work, but what a difference.
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
The serial number was so dirty it was hard to read, but the Autosol made it nice and shiny again. I definitely recommend it if you have a dirty vintage machine you want to get cleaned up.
vintage singer sewing machine | DevotedQuilter.com
I think this one will keep me occupied over the summer as I get her sparkling again. For now, she's hanging out on the kitchen counter so I can pick away at the cleaning, but she'll have a spot of honour in the living room once I'm done.

Do you have any vintage machines? If you do, did you intentionally start collecting them or did they find their way to you after you became known as a safe haven for old machines?

3 comments:

  1. I have several vintage machines. I once did a blog post about them. I bought a refurbished Singer treadle a few years ago and one of my 12 Things for 2019 is to finally learn how to dew on it without getting my fingers caught i the wheel.

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  2. This one will be a beauty once she gets through her cleaning process. I have a couple singers.

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  3. I do! Like you said, I did not set out to become a collector, but in finding a Featherweight, I suddenly became the proud mama of five Singer ladies! I just LOVE what you said about them networking, yes!! I ended up with not one but TWO Featherweights, and just prior to them I acquired a 15-90 and a 99K. I have yet to get the 15-90 running, nor use my grandmother's 1904 Singer treadle, which does run, but I certainly intend to as these old girls deserve our love and care. I love the Sphinx on your two! I used some auto wool, recommendation of my husband's, to clean up the silver and chrome on mine and it worked like a charm.

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