Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pat us on the back

We passed another inspection! After all the nasty things I've said about the city inspectors, I think it's worth noting that the HVAC inspector was one of the nicest people I've met here in town. He sighed and clucked about our hail damage and what a shame it is, and he told me about the people a bit further north who had hail go though their wooden lap siding, through the sheetrock, and into the rooms. Ouch.

He also oohed and aahhed over my sewing machine.

It's not a Singer, so I'm trying to do a little research. Maybe you sewing fanatics out there can help me...Perhaps someone will accidentally click their way here through Google...

It has a list of the patent dates, ranging from 1879 to 1909. I don't think it's much later than '09, simply because I know that this was the machine my great grandmother used-- my grandmother was the youngest, born in 1918, and the oldest who just passed away a few weeks ago, was born in 1910, I think. It saw a LOT of use, which is why it's amazing what beautiful shape it's in.

It seems to work, by the way-- it needs a belt, but the needle does indeed go up and down when you crank the fly wheel. The "American" mark is all I see that indicates any company or model name. It also has what I think might be a buttonhole overseam contraption:

This was my first thought, anyway. Then I discovered that there was a company called the American Buttonhole and Overseam company, or thereabouts, and they marketed a sewing/buttonhole machine combo. But I can't find anything about them producing machines past the late 1800s. So I'm currently stumped. I suppose I'll hit up the library or the Smithsonian's digital archives. But I thought I'd throw it out there in case anyone knows anything...

Here's a few more details.

"It leads the world"

Pretty elaborate for a farming family out in the sticks, huh?



Karen in Wichita said...

(I didn't find you by Google, is that okay? :} )

"It leads the world" is the Eldredge Sewing Machine Manufacturing Company. I don't know if they continued to use that after they became the National Sewing Machine Company (after merging with June Mfg Co.) in 1890, though.

I don't know about the "American" part, other than National produced badged/stenciled machines for department stores and such.

If you can find a patent number on it, that's almost always useful.

Amalie said...

Thanks! I did start investigating Eldredge, but it petered out before this time...I guess that's because they became National. Maybe "American" was an Eldredge/National model name.

Another lead!

Green Fairy said...

What a lovely machine! We have an old singer that we're using as a table, although it does still work. And we have an old machine base that I plan on using to create some sort of vanity for the bathroom. Wish me luck on that one!

Green Fairy said...

I did find this:

The American Sewing Machine Company was founded Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1869 as the American Buttonhole, Overseaming and Sewing Machine Company - producing a machine that was capable of performing those functions. In 1874 began producing a vibrating shuttle machine that was unusual in that it utilized a round bobbin; machine was called the New American. The Company name was shortened to the American Sewing Machine Company. The company introduced a new model sewing machine in the mid to late 1880s but was out of business by the turn of the century.

Another reference I found said: The American Sewing Machine Company was founded by E.Todd in 1863.

Amalie said...

Thanks Joanne! I found some similar information, but I'm frustrated by it because I know this machine was made after the turn of the century.

I did find out that Eldredge produced machines that were branded by the department stores-- I guess like store brand pasta is also produced by, say, Bertolli. Or whatever. So now I'm trying to find out about some of the mail order companies at the time.

This is when I love working for a university! Hello, Library!!

Amalie said...

Oh yeah! In light of your bathroom vanity idea, Joanne, I thought I'd point you in the direction of the vessel sink and vanity from the American Foursquare blog, if you haven't seen it already:


I think it's the most incredible vessel sink I've seen-- I usually really don't like them. And it was DIY and cheap and recycled an old piece of furniture! Thought it might be worth looking at...

Suzie said...

I just wanted you to know. I just pulled something like that out of the trash the other day.. The wood that I have is in worse shape, but it still works with the fly wheel and the peddle and all..

I was geeked

Amalie said...

Suzie-- aren't they fun? The wood on this machine is definitely in great condition, but this may have been due to my grandfather's obsession with refinishing everything in sight.

I'm thinking about buying a belt and seeing how well it works. Our kiddo now likes to stand at the machine pumping the treadle while she watches cartoons, so I'm thinking I could put her to work without her even knowing it. Great exercise to boot.

Anyway, I'd have been geeked, too!

Vicki D said...

That is a beautiful machine, but it is not one made by the American Sewing Machine Company (earlier name American Buttonhole, Overseaming and Sewing Machine Company). They had a very different look and a distinctive tiny, round bobbin in a pointed shuttle. I'm not as familiar with Nationals, but it's a very good possibility, and I know National used similar decals in the 1910s-20s. Get a treadle belt, oil it up and try it, you'll love sewing with a treadle machine.