When I don’t crochet or knit, I sew. I’m sure you can guess from the title of this post that I recently became the owner of a 1871 Singer Sewing machine. I acquired her through random means, but am so glad that I did.
Let me tell you the story.
One fateful day in “Entrepreneurship and Enterprise”, my professor gave the class an assignment: We were to chronicle an entrepreneur’s life. My first choice of Yves St. Laurent was taken so I chose Isaac Singer, founder of the Singer Sewing Company. I didn’t know the far-reaching implications of my choice.
As you may remember, I’m part of the Knotty Knitters, a crafty bunch of older ladies that meet every Thursday night at our local library. We knit, craft, and gab.
One night, as we admired a hand-sewn quilt, I told my “grandmas” about the paper I was writing on Isaac Singer and Singer Sewing Machines. Let me just tell you that they responded more enthusiastically than my roommates. In the minutes that followed, I heard fond memories about Singer Sewing Machines- things you can’t find on the Internet.
I worked the facts into my paper, naively thinking that would be that. Once I handed in my paper and presented to the class, I thought I was through with Singer Sewing Machines.
For the rest of the story to make sense, you must know a pivotal piece of information. My mother, besides being exceptional, is the Director of the aforementioned library. She is also a very talented creative writer. Every week or so, she writes an article for our local newspaper about an event or program that’s going on at the library.
Her April 11th article was devoted to–you guessed it—the Knotty Knitters and Singer Sewing Machines.
In an article titled “Knotty and Nice”, my mom talked about the group and included a short blurb about my class project:
“My daughter, an avid crocheter, participates when she’s home from college…Last week, she questioned the group for a project report on Singer Sewing Machines. I’m at my desk, listening. One by one, stories of childhood memories are unwrapped.
‘The day the Singer Sewing man delivered Mom’s first machine, we kids got to stay home from school,’ Nancy relates with a chuckle. ‘It was like Christmas!'”
Riveting journalism, I know.
BUT (and this is where the story ties together) it was this article that lead to my acquisition of a 1871 Singer Sewing Machine.
Here’s how it happened: A kind, kind man by the name of Wallas called the Library and told my mom he’d read her article. He asked if her daughter would like to have a vintage Singer Sewing Machine. My mom asked me, I said sure, and so it came to be. I am now the proud owner of a vintage Singer Sewing Machine dating back from 1871.
I’m not sure if she works, but when I turn the wheel, the needle goes up and down and the bobbin case at the bottom moves. I might have to do some experimenting. I don’t know much about her, but I’m going to do some research. Does anyone know any resources that would be helpful or give me more direction about the machine’s history?
amyFebruary 25, 2013
I have a very similar machine, if not the same model year. I was wondering if you were able to get yours working? I have just begun the cleaning process.
JJCrochetFebruary 27, 2013
Very cool that you have a similar sewing machine, Amy. Unfortunately, I haven’t put any real effort into getting it to work. I hope your cleaning process goes well and you’re able to use it!
Tom WilkinsonNovember 1, 2021
I just picked up a similar machine which belonged to an Aunt of mine who lived in a city outside Toronto.
It is built into a roller table and the machine folds into the table and a lid covers the hide away.
I have a serial number, can that provide a production date.
I have pics of the unit. Be interested in any information on the machine. My was born in 1889, but I’m guessing the Maxine was her mothers.