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Old Sewing Machine Pictures - Priceless Antiques Of Another Generation

Updated on September 29, 2010

Ah, The Passing Of An Era

As a child, I remember finding a sewing machine in my grandmother's attic that was unlike any I had ever seen before. It was really heavy, with no plastic to be found on it and the power plug on the end - was just basically two metal rods. I looked at it for hours, wondering how it must have been to watch this wondrous machine at work.

What I had stumbled upon was an old Singer model, probably made in the early twentieth century. Of course, my remembrances of that machine far outdat the days when I came to realize what I had behold before my eyes. Had I known then what I know now, I might have asked to have it when she passed away, as a remembrance of how things were built at the dawning of the age of electricity.

Would it be worth anything today? Perhaps not, but I enjoy holding onto a piece of history as much as any other collector. Here's a picture of it as I remember it, with the exception being that this model ran on electricity.

Antique Singer Sewing Machine
Antique Singer Sewing Machine

The Turn Of The Century Was A Busy Time

With mass production reaching its dawning, many new products were becoming available to people for the first time. Manufactured on assembly lines to make them more affordable, they were now in reach of the common man, and they were purchased in droves - to wind up in attics many years later, for wondering eyes like my own.

In my search for this wondrous memory from my past I found a few others I would like to share with you. Perhaps I will recreate a moment of history for you as well.

Antique Sewing Machine Collectors Abound!

As I progressed through my research I was surprised to see how many people collected these vintage machines. Well ... maybe not so much by the fact that there were collectors as much as how many of these antique sewing machines have survived the test of time. It seems they were made to last forever, and I honestly believe some will stand the test of time.

In the video above Sylvia Adair claims to do all of her sewing with her antique sewing machines, and I believe her. Again, a testimony to just how well these machines were made. If only they could somehow have recorded all of the memories that surrounded them during their dawning years, but I suppose we have old film reels for that.

The Singer Featherweight 221
The Singer Featherweight 221

The Singer Featherweight 221

Highly coveted by collectors, the Singer 221 was introduced at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 and had a long production run - all the way up until the mid 1960s.

Made of cast aluminum, they might not be considered lightweight by today's standards, but they were state of the art back in the day. Due to their durability there are still many in use today. It was a straight stitch machine weighing in at about 11lbs making it very portable.

Though it wasn't as capable as some other sewing machines of its time, its durability and ease of maintenance earned it a place in many a housewife's heart. To date, many are still in use around the world - making it both collectible and practical.

The Ward Arm And Platform
The Ward Arm And Platform

The Ward Arm And Platform

As the age of iron and steel crept into the hearts and minds of men, exquisite devices were created, combining function and beauty in one. Back then, many such novelties were only for the wealthy, and such devices were given lavish décor to make them fit in with their surroundings. The Ward Arm and Platform is no exception to that rule.

Manufactured in the UK during the 1860s and 1870s, it's a timeless piece that we can all look at and fall in love with. Interestingly enough, even back then, the pieces of the modern sewing machine were nearly in place. Ah, the sewing machine is such an old device with such a great history of revolutionary ideas!

The Bradbury 1A
The Bradbury 1A

The Bradbury 1A

I saved my favorite discovery for last - the Bradbury 1A. Though it wasn't the first sewing machine, it's certainly one of the most interesting - at least to me. Produced in the 1870s, it was a design that made use of a foot pedal the operator rocked back and forth to move the needle, allowing the person sewing to have her hands free to work the fabric through - and it was a her back then, as men of the 19th century would sooner watch their trousers fall apart then be seen operating a device considered to be made only for women. Ah, gotta love that 'get in the kitchen and cook me a potpie' mentality. thank God for women's lib!


Here's a closeup that might give you a better idea why I so admire this machine:

A Closeup Of The Bradbury 1A
A Closeup Of The Bradbury 1A

Elegant in its design, it could easily have its place anywhere in a Victorian Age home without anyone wanting to drape a cover over it. I can only imagine the smug look on the husband's face as he had it carried into the house or the gasp of glee as his wife sat down before it for the first time. Is only the age of elegance had lasted onto our days.

History In Motion

Of course, what I would really like to see is one of these antique sewing machines in motion, and I'm sure you would to. I spent some time over on Youtube and came up with this gem that shows an old antique Husqvarna sewing machine in operation - and as you can see, it still works!

I especially am thankful to the camera man for remembering to pan down and show the foot pedal in action, allowing us to relive a piece of the past that occurred at the dawning of the century.

I Hope You enjoyed This Travel Back In Time

Well, that's all I have for today, but if enough reader interest is generated I'll add some more videos and pictures of other models. It's been a pleasure for me writing this article and I sincerely hope it's been a pleasure for you to read it.

And if you find yourself in possession of an antique sewing machine, know that what you have is a genuine piece of history that you can sell to a collector for profit - or hold onto as an enduring piece of memorabilia. Should you decide to part with history, do yourself the favor of taking a photo of it first, so you can always remember that wondrous moment when you beheld your eyes upon a wondrous piece of history.

Thank you for accompanying me upon an article that I had a great time writing, and I am certain I will revisit it often - you're willing to do so as well, and don't be afraid to tell others ...

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