Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meet Martha

     Another of the amazing things to come out of the recent snowstorm is Martha.  She is an antique treadle, cabinet sewing machine.  I've always know that my parents had her, but I had no idea that she worked!  And now she's all mine!! (mwhahahaha... sorry...)

    I was about to start working on the play suit for Miss G by hand (because the power was out, and I had already played too many games of monopoly) when my mom mentioned (rather off hand, I might add) that the antique sewing machine that has only been used as an end table for twenty years still works! So I was up in a flash trying to figure out her secrets. 

     The latest patent date that we can find is from 1913.  And is in perfect working order, except for where the staple has pulled through the belt.  She was made by the Free Company based in Rockford Illinois.

     We spent all night cleaning her up and oiling all the moving parts.  I have since gotten online and found an owner's manual, and plan to spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how she works.  The first thing I learned is that most sewing and vacuum shops still sell replacement belts or at least staples so I can fix mine.

     I think that she is beautiful! She is decorated with this golden and green peacocks and flourishes in a delightful style that isn't quite Victorian and not quiet Art Deco either. 

     She has more feet than I have ever seen in one place, and I have no idea what they all do, but I can't wait to find out.  There is what I think is a ruffle foot, a pin tuck foot, an under braider foot, a smocking foot, and all kinds of basic feet.

       She uses the shank style bobbin, and still has three of the originals. I think one of the neatest things about Martha is that the bobbin swing back and forth in an arc and doesn't just unwind in a full circle. 

     One of the drawers (which by the way, wont open unless she open is in her sewing position, they were kid proofing even then!) was full of memorabilia that we think was my grandmother's.  There is a child's Life of Jesus, which is about the size of a silver dollar, a rosary that was probably my great grandfather's a book, a saute of Mary and two crosses.

     Does anyone know anything about antique sewing machines, I am overwhelmed by this gift, and as you can see, I don't know where to start.  I want to put her to good use, but also keep her nice.  Any hints, tips, or suggestions?

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stephanie said...

This is absolutely wonderful! I love old things (and people)... and knowing how to use them is even better! :P

the little wife said...

I think so too! I just like to sit and think about all the things she's made. I need to find my mom's tripod so I can show you how the painted on ruler has rubbed off where yards upon yards upon yards have been pushed through.

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh how awesome. What a blessing to get this!I really like your blog. Glad I found it!

the little wife said...

Thanks so much for reading it!!! I'm so happy you found it too.