This week I've had the delights of playing with some old sewing machines that escaped the window displays of greedy All Saints. I've had three machines in storage and I've never taken the lids off before, it felt like Christmas. They're so beautiful, the detail and craftmanship makes my modern machine look like an ugly pile of plastic, all be it practical but still ugly!
They're all vintage hand crank machines, powered by the manual turning of a handle.
Singer New Family
The Singer machine is a 12k Fiddle Base, which Singer labelled their 'New Family' machines.
The Singer 'New Family' sewing machine first appeared in 1856 at the end of the American Civil War and at the time the West was still being won. Just a couple of years later it went on sale in the U.K. The New Family was later renamed the Singer Model 12 (12K in the UK) and remained in production for almost 40 years, until just past the turn of the 20th century.
Harris No.3 & No.5
Harris was a London based sewing machine distributor to retailers. They didn't produce any sewing machines they just 'badged' machines made by many other makers with the Harris name.
The company was founded in the 1870's and continued in the sewing machine business until at least 1960. It is said that the current incarnation of the Harris company is Mothercare, how bizarre.
This machine is in beautiful condition, with the original key and a tin full of accessories.
Even the ribbon on the key is charming, I'm such a sucker haha.
The wooden case has a lovely design that makes it really stand out from the other machines.
1920's Harris No.5 is one of the most amazing machines that I have ever seen, it's stunning, with all its embossed metalwork! This one also has a lot of accessories in the machines storage box. Annoyingly the only thing that lets this machine down is its wooden case, that no longer locks and has external damage but as it's so beautiful I don't think it should be inside a case, let it shine haha, silver lining!!
I sat turning the hand cranks thinking, I wonder who else has used these machines? I find it all so romantic, I'll never know the full history but there is one and now my grubby mitts are part of it (ha,ha I can hear my friends laughing and telling me to get a life!).
So after photographing and playing with these machines, I sat in front of my plastic ugly one rather disappointed! Where's its gold decoration and embossed metal detailing?
Would it be a mistake to get out my sharpie pens and pimp my machine? .................Maybe I'll sleep on that one!
All the machines apart from the ugly plastic one can be purchased at www.historyrepeats.co.uk