Antique Sewing Machine Collector Harry Berzack on Singers and Manhattans

June 22nd, 2009

Harry Berzack is a collector of 19th-century and pre-World War II sewing machines. Unlike many collectors in this field, Harry’s 500-piece collection is international in scope. Recently we spoke with Harry about his collection of antique sewing machines, the history of sewing machines, their uses, and the four major manufacturers. We also discussed toy sewing machines made for children.

I work for a sewing machine distribution company that was started by my late father. We mainly distribute industrial sewing machines. At a very early age, I became interested in sewing machines in a general sense, and I started collecting old machines mainly to see the technology and how it had developed. Then I immigrated to the States—I’m originally from South Africa—and my new life caused about a 20-year hiatus in which I did very little with sewing machines, although the passion never left. Then about eight years ago, I started to have a little more time and I started to get back into it. Now it’s grown to the point where today I have one of the largest and best collections in the States.

We have a museum at our business where I house my collection. We’ve taken a section of our premises here to create a full museum environment where the machines are on display.

I have almost 500 sewing machines in my collection. Initially I brought some machines with me from South Africa, and I picked up one or two here and there over the next few years, but most of the machines—probably 450-plus of them—have been acquired over the last eight years.

Collectors Weekly: Do you have sewing machines from all over the world?

Berzack: Yes. That makes my collection a little different from most. Probably the best collection in the States is owned by a person named Carter Bays. Carter only collects American machines, and he has authored the standard book on antique American sewing machines. On the other hand, I have machines from America, Canada, England, France, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, so my collection is more a worldwide but it also shows cross-influences.

I decided to collect from across the world intentionally. I just had a wide interest. There’s a great museum in England, but most of the machines there are British. The German museums are a little more mixed. There are probably 10 very good museum collections around the world.

I’m more drawn to the ideas in the machines than the country that made them. I’m drawn to rarity. I’m drawn to condition. I’m drawn to mechanical design and how people thought up different features. Some machines survive to this day and some were inherently no good to start with. It’s a passion of mine to see the way people thought, going back to the 1800s, and the sort of engineering they devised. They didn’t have the machine tools we have today, and yet they did some incredible work.

The earliest machines probably come from the 1840s and they’re very rare. Then you get into the 1850s, and the big names were Singer, Wheeler & Wilson, Grover & Baker, Howe—just a myriad. There were literally hundreds of people who made machines in different countries. Very few of the manufacturers have survived, and that in itself is part of the story. The small companies were gobbled up by Singer and others.

Of course, Singer is still around today and the name is still known. The Jones Company was bought by Brother, and I don’t think they use the Jones name anymore.

It was evolution. It was competition. It’s the old story: Someone’s making sewing machines and other people think they’re making a lot of money, so they say, “Why shouldn’t I?” At that time it was a comparatively easy industry to get into. Sometimes the ideas they had were not that good. Other times they ran into patent infringement problems and they were put out of business. Strangely enough, this was happening all over the world.

In America, there was a demand for household machines and a demand for commercial machines. The same sort of thing happened in Britain. With American machines, you had machines for home use, mainly with treadles because homes were bigger. In Europe, people didn’t have as much room, so most of the machines were hand cranks, which made them more portable. A sewing machine typically has a wheel on the side that’s used to position the needle and operate the machine. A hand crank is a handle that is attached to that wheel. Of course, in the commercial arena, it was all treadle and, later on, line shaft.

Collectors Weekly: So the hand cranks were used when there wasn’t as much space?

Berzack: It’s certainly difficult to make a general rule. Some people just didn’t want a treadle cluttering up the room. They wanted something they could push in a corner or put in the bottom of a cupboard and take out when they needed it. Other people by necessity didn’t have the room to put in a treadle or a cabinet.

To a lot of people, the sewing machine became a status symbol, so a lot of the cabinets are extremely ornate. Today, it’s very often that the more ornate the cabinet, the better the condition of the machine because they were show pieces. They weren’t used. A machine that was really used a lot may sell for $5, and then at the top of the market, you’d have the same machine encrusted with mother of pearl. By and large, those machines are in great condition today because no one wants to use them.

For a while, a sewing machine in the home was a status symbol. A husband would decide that his wife needed a machine, so he’d go out and buy a lovely machine. The sewing machines combined great design with pure utility.

In America, the four majors were Singer, Howe, Wheeler & Wilson, and Grover & Baker. They basically held all the patents, and they were always suing their competitors for patent infringement. They formed a consortium and pooled all their patents and a royalty was paid to this consortium for every machine made, including by themselves. They had some formula where they divvied up the proceeds each year. They had no hesitation in closing down other companies on patent infringement, so a lot of people sought to do things a different way to overcome the patents. For example, there were machines where the needle, instead of coming from the top down, was linked to the bottom and came up through the plate of the machine like an upside-down machine.

Collectors Weekly: What were some of the earliest designs that were being manufactured?

Berzack: It evolved very early into the form you have today—a base, an arm, the top coming across to hold the needle, and a drive from the underneath with either a bobbin or a shuttle. Those were all pretty early. There were circular-shaped machines, open latticework machines—it’s difficult to explain without having pictures or really working with it.

“The sewing machine became a status symbol, so a lot of the cabinets are extremely ornate.”

There are a number of pretty good books, but unfortunately most of them are out of print. There are current books, like Carter Bays’ book or Charles Law’s, that are still in print. Last year, Carter Bays came out with a third edition. A lot of the early books are out of print, but they do come up on eBay.

Then there’s another whole subset, and that’s toy sewing machines. As the mother used to sew, the daughter used to have a little toy machine to make garments for her dolls. Those machines are mainly German by two big companies and a number of smaller companies. There were some British companies like Vulcan, too. It’s a completely different interest, although I’ve got a small toy collection. It’s more the premium toys, though, because those are the more interesting ones to me. I have one toy machine from France from around 1867. I think that’s my earliest toy machine.

The real way for anyone to really get into this is to look at some of the collections. There’s the International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society, which is ISMACS. Anyone in America who has any real interest in sewing machines should come to the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

My collection will be part of the convention’s itinerary. Anyone who comes through my place will get a guided tour. We’re expecting a couple of hundred people and they’ll be able to see machines that they otherwise would never see. For example, there’s an American machine called the Manhattan, and there are only two known Manhattans that have survived. I have one, and Carter Bays has the other. It was made by a New York company that called themselves Manhattan Sewing Machine Company. They made very few machines, probably less than 2,000, and then they disappeared.

Collectors Weekly: What are some of the other known rare machines?

Berzack: There are a number of machines in Carter Bays’ collection that are the only known examples, but you always have to be careful saying that because you never know when another one’s going to come up. For example, I had a machine that was the only known example and now there are three. I have two and Carter has one. So there are machines out there and eventually you’re going to find them. Everyone wants the rare machine. Two weeks ago, I drove 2,300 miles because I found a machine just outside Kansas City and the only other known example of that machine is in the Smithsonian. So now I’ve got the second known one, but until this one appeared, no one knew that it even existed.

To anyone who’s getting serious in toy machines, a good introduction would be the two volumes put out by Glenda Thomas. For American machines there’s Carter Bays’ book, The Encyclopedia of Early American Sewing Machines. It has illustrations and a bit of background on the companies: what they made, who they were, and when they were in business. Then, if you get more interested, you should join ISMACS. They publish a magazine that comes out every three months or so.

They’re the biggest sewing machine club by far. There are two others. There’s a website that’s based in England with a good gallery of machines but it’s more for quilters, and there’s a good website called He’s a very good friend of mine.

Collectors Weekly: Do you collect modern machines or do you stop at a specific time period?

Berzack: The latest machines I have are from the 1940s. One of them is from the Second World War. Singer came out with a surgical sewing machine used in the field to stitch wounds. There aren’t many of them around, so that’s worthwhile. Another machine I have from the ’40s is still in its original packing case with the label on it where it was railed to a customer in Munster, Indiana. But I would say that probably 90 percent of my machines predate 1900.

Collectors Weekly: Were sewing machines first used in the home?

Berzack: Actually, no. There’s no one inventor of the machine. Different people had different ideas. There was a Frenchman whose first machines went into a factory in Paris—the workers were so upset because they thought that they were going to lose jobs. So the earliest machines were really designed for factories, but it very soon became a household thing.

A lot of the companies didn’t necessarily market under their own name. The department stores had departments selling sewing machines. Sears Roebuck had machines with decals with their name on it. Those machines could’ve been made by one of three or four different factories, and if you’re really into it, you can work out, “Well, this sewing machine was made for Montgomery Ward and this was made for Macy’s.” There are giveaways as to who the actual maker was but there are thousands of names out there.

Collectors Weekly: How did Singer become so well-known?

Berzack: Because of marketing, not invention. They were not great innovators, but they were unbelievable marketers. They bought people out. If you’re making a million machines a year and you have a factory in the States and a factory in England and you control your own distribution, you get into a very strong position and it’s not easy for people to fight you or dislodge you.

A lot of people copied them. The classic Singer machine in the early days, the mass-market machine, was the Singer Model 12, and there were literally hundreds of people who knocked it off in one way or another. There was a tremendous amount of copying. There was some licensing, but most of it was illegal copying. In fact, there were even people who copied the Singer emblem, the “S” emblem. People tried to jump on the bandwagon.

Singer owned its own companies all over the world. They have never badged a machine, which is putting someone else’s name on, and they control their own distribution. They have their own subsidiary companies and factories in probably 20 to 30 countries, like Italy, Brazil, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, Taiwan. They had a big presence in Russia, too, prior to the revolution.You can take out an atlas and wherever your finger falls, Singer probably had a factory there.

Collectors Weekly: How did the machine evolve from the 1800s to the 1900s?

Berzack: The early machines tried to replicate the movement of a hand pulling a needle all the way through a piece of fabric and then pushing it back the other side, like you would hand stitch today. Then came the advent of the chain stitch machine and everything depended on the needle forming a loop and either catching the loop or having a shuttle go between the needle and the outer thread through the loop to capture the thread. Then the needle comes up and goes through the top of the fabric again. That became the basis of sewing. It became a matter of, “How does that loop get formed?”

The next thing was, as I said, the shuttle moving through the loop. You had what was called a round bobbin, which is basically the way lock stitches form today. The earliest bobbins were Wheeler & Wilson and that goes back to the 1860s. Today you don’t have shuttles at all because everything is either bobbin or loop or chain-stitch machines.

Collectors Weekly: How many different parts are there to a sewing machine?

Berzack: That’s like asking how long is a road. There are some very simple machines that aren’t very effective and don’t have many parts. A modern industrial sewing machine could have 1,500 to 2,000 parts in it, but you could also find a machine with 20 parts. They’re not very effective, but they exist.

In the early machines, which were invariably made out of cast iron, one turn of the handle gave you one stitch. One of the first innovations was to gear it so that one turn of the handle gave you two stitches so you’d get double the production. Today you have diecast, aluminum, and plastic machines that are capable of doing 9,000 stitches a minute.

Collectors Weekly: Are repair parts still available for older machines?

Berzack: No. People who are really into it have to know a little engineering and make their own parts. If you use an antique machine, then you’re basically using one of the mass-produced machines and their parts are easier to find. Singer made a million machines a year of the class 12, so they probably made about 10 million machines total and there could well be half a million of them that are still running. It’s comparatively easy to pick up an old machine for parts to adapt or modify. But the very old stuff? If you’re missing something, that’s it.

Collectors Weekly: When you collect sewing machines, are there specific things you look for?

Berzack: I look for rarity, condition, technical differences, and what would have been an innovation at the time. I try to fill holes in my collection with rarer machines. There are rare machines that come up every now and again on eBay. Sometimes I get them and sometimes someone’s more generous than I am. It’s very difficult today to find machines in antique shops or flea markets. Odd ones still pitch up but not as much as they used to.

A lot of the antique shops have no idea how to value these things. Say there was a Singer that was patented in 1860. Because it’s old, it would be marked at, say, 300 bucks, but the value of it is probably closer to $25 because Singer made half a million of them that year so they’re not rare. They assume that because it’s old, it must be valuable.

Every sewing machine collector I know has a machine that they overpaid for and a machine that they’re sorry they sold. As soon as you go beyond the basic machines from the 1900s, what are called the quilters’ machines, you have to start educating yourself or you’re going to hit the poor house before you know where it is, and you’ll have nothing to show for it. Anyone who doesn’t come to the shows is going to miss a great opportunity to educate themselves.

Collectors Weekly: Is it possible to find the actual patents?

Berzack: There’s a lot of patent information out there. Some people collect a lot of the paperwork. You can’t collect everything, though. Some sewing machine collectors also collect oil bottles. Some collect old needles. I’ve got a pretty good collection of oil bottles. I probably have around 150.

(All images in this article courtesy Harry Berzack)

191 comments so far

  1. Rachel Says:

    This is a very interesting and informative article, even if you don’t collect sewing machine, but just use them for your sewing projects. I hadn’t a clue that there were so many different types of sewing machine. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. VIE Says:

    I am so happy to find this page , I was not looking for it! However I have a 1889 Singer no table , It was well used . t needs to be cleaned up but I am not sure how and what to use to make it look a little better. It makes a very sweet chain stitch.
    Any information , value, and help on cleaning it would be so grateful .
    Vie Lewis

  3. Donna Wilt Says:

    I have a Manhattan Treadle Sewing Machine. I would like to know more about it. It is beautiful and works just fine. How can I learn more?

  4. Gloria Scroggins Says:

    We have a Singer that was my great,great grand mother,she brought it to US from England befor 1884 It belong to her mother I t is a hand carved
    large consoul with four doors with carving that cover the whole front two fold in two fold out ,so you can put your feet on the trudel and five drewers on left side,right side has a false drewer at top and a long door so you can get to belt The # is 02370275 I think the first # is hard to read but the rest I can see. Its in very good condition but my mother just died at 92 and I got it would like to learn more about it. Any help would be appriciated

  5. Barbara Young Says:

    I just purchased an 1902 treadle singer model 27 from my sister. i’m looking for a place that might have the decals to go back on this beautiful machine. i do know that singer used 2 different decals that year. One was the phasant decal an not sure of the other. The phasant one was rare. Any help locating a place that I can get them. Thanks Barbara Young

  6. Janeal Says:

    I have a 1938 Singer Model 128 that was my Mothers. It runs perfectly. I have used it many years for altering my clothes. I am now moving and downsizing in space. I need to sell this machine but don’t have any idea how. Any suggestions?

  7. Roy Excell Says:

    I`m sure you can help me.
    I have just repaird a Singer Machine belonging to a friend of mine,it is now mechanicaly OK,but having no handbook and not being conversant with Sewing Machines cannot find the right seqence to thread the M/C .
    Managed to sort the bobbin that seems OK but have tried every permentation I can think of with no success.
    Is it possible to send me a pencil diagram by email ? I would be most obliged.
    The Machine is a Singer No 132 K 6.
    Yours Faithfully

    Roy Excell

  8. =Tamar Says:

    Gloria Scroggins: Singer’s lists of serial numbers
    indicate that your machine was probably made in 1877.

  9. mary ann Says:

    I have an old tredle sewing machine that belonged to my grandfather’s mother. The sewing machine is a Falls City and the bottom part is a New Home. The sewing machine does not fold down into the bottom. Can you give me a ballpark idea of how much it may be worth, without seeing it of course.

  10. Marty Says:

    My mother has a old Howe sewing machine that she played with as a young girl its been in a shed for many years and she is wanting to restore it. The machine is a treadel and and has a box that covers the machine. My Mom believes she has found a belt for it but the needles are hard to find. Could you please direct me as to where we could find parts?

    Would you also happen to have an idea if restored how much this machine would be worth? Or should we leave it alone and ejoy the beauty of its age? It seems to be all there other than the belt and the needle, It also has the gold leaf on it if that makes a difference. If you would like pictures I would be more than happy to send them to you. I just want to help my mother out as she has talked about doing this for a long time.

  11. Tom Hamel Says:

    Could you please tell me something about this Singer portable – G5237859 cat BZ 10-8 S.S. AU52-16-5 Thank you

  12. Ken Adasek Says:

    I have a Mid-State sewing machine from the 1950’s and/or 1960’s I think my dad get it from Sears. Can you tell me anything about Mid-State?


  13. James Wilson Says:

    I am in possession of a Smith and wesson sewing machine. Are they rare?

  14. Betty Hayes Says:

    I have a 1866 Florence Sewing machine in its cabinet with instruction booklet. How can I find its value?

    It needs to be cleaned but I am not sure what to use. I don’t want to damage the finish.

  15. June Mutterer Says:

    Hi. I have a Waltham A treadle sewing machine in a Montgomery Ward cabinet, coffin lid. I’m wondering if Waltham was made for montgomery ward or if someone has just put it in this cabinet. I cannot find any information about this machine. It sewing very nicely. Someone has used this machine a lot as the gold decoration shows a lot of wear. I would really like to know more about this machine. I don’t want to sell it….its a treasure. thank you

  16. joanne Says:

    i have my great grandmothers machine model # G 949 488 in original cabinet. What would the value be and what year was this model first sold. There is a marking on the needle plate with a year 1894. The patton number is marked MAy 1st 1894, also 1896 April 7th, and 1899 Feb 21st.

    any info you might have about this machine please let me know.

    thankyou Joanne..

  17. anthony Says:


  18. VIE Says:

    Well I was wrong. MY 1889 Singer is not.. It is a 1883 Wellcox& Gibbs sewing machine .I had to get a magnifier to see what it was.Now I don’t know what to do with it,

  19. M&M's Says:

    I have recently became the owner of a “DOMESTIC” S.M. CO. sewing machine and case it has a metal plate that has PAT. MAY 19 1863 NOV. 15 1864.
    JAN. 31 1871. this is one of the prettiest machines I have seen it has mother of pearl inlay on body and base of machine. I have researched every possible avenue that I know, but I am not a collector. So I was wandering if this is a rare machine, and if you could share with me any facts and possibly its worth?? I would greatly appreciate any information that you might have… Thank you for your time.

  20. Janelle Says:

    I have a singer sewing machine that came with our house when we bought it. It looks very old and is in a wooden cabinet. The number on the plate of the base is G7928701. Do you any idea how old it might be or how much I might be able to sell it for?

  21. Anne Brennan Says:

    All of you people looking for info about your old machines should go to,, and/or Those sites are gold mines of information. No one is going to tell you how much your machine is worth, though. To find that out, go to eBay and look at past auctions.

  22. Ruth Scott Says:

    I have a 1863 Florence with the fancy cast iron legs and the rose and green and gold leafing. The machine and cabinet have their orginal finish and is in quite good codition. I am looking for a curved needle for this model, there was only a broken needle with it when I got it. On this model the fabric feeds from side to side rather than front to back. I am a collector of old sewing machines also, mainly pre-1900. My goal with my old machines is to clean and restore and get them to sew. The only thing preventing me from getting the Florence to sew is not having a curved needle, do you know where or of anyone that I could purchase a needle for this machine?
    Thank you,
    Ruth Scott

  23. Herbert Zehender Says:

    I have a german sewing machine that was in my family for a long time. My mother told me that it belonged to her grandfather who was a german taylor. I have no idea on the value of this machine but it is complete the only thing missing is the drivebelt. The name of the sewing machine is “MIFA”. It has a beutiful wooden metric measure inlay on top of the machine table. It recesses into a lower compartment. If you need pictures I can send them to you. Can you help me. I would be willing to sell it.
    My mother shipped it to me from germany6 to Ada, Oklahoma
    Herbert Zehender

  24. ISABELLA Says:

    Harry, I have an antique singer sewing machine from my grandmother… The name of the machine is AMERIKA… it has a painting with an American flag on the box and the machine has a logo with an eagle and inscription HBW on it and Jewish six-side stars on it, the panel of the machine is designed with mother of pearls… We have searched for the analogue of the machine, but we were told even from the Singer Company that they haven’t seen another machine exactly like ours and suggested us to send them in order to display it in their exhibition room. It has been already certified to us many times, that this is the only copy in the world, and nothing like it couldn’t be found in any of the catalogues or auctions in the world… We didn’t agree to send them the machine because it’s too precious… some people even doesn’t believe the above-mentioned description of the machine unless we showed the photos…

  25. CM Harper Says:

    I have a Singer International Portable Sewing machine in its original green wooden box. #H1231254. Could you please tell me something about it, and its value. I know it dates back to late 1800’s or early 1900. Thank you!

  26. Shashi Pawa Says:

    Harry… I have a rather old sewing machine (handdriven) which is in a fabulous condition.I use it mostly for altering our clothes.The unusual thing is the colour Blue and Pale Gold matalic!!! on the bar is printed The Modern Sewing Machine Co. The trade mark says MODERN Delux. There is also a logo with a globe like trophy and a lion on either side.under the machine there ia number J-A22 and on a little metal plate H6130865SR
    Looks alot like an old Singer except for the colour.Any info you have on this machine…plz let met know

  27. Marie Wignall Says:

    Hi, I have a GLORIA Sewing Machine which dates back to 1800’s Serial No 644641, its hand driven and in its own wooden box.
    Could you tell me is this worth anything and where to sell?

  28. Harry Berzack Says:

    Please be patient with me and I will try to get back with answers to all queries raised. For any enthuiest a must is the October ISMACS convention in Charlotte, which will include tours to both Carter Bays collection and to mine. Helping organise this has taken most of my spare time this Summer. For details and registration, go to the ISMACS site.
    Please note that I cannot give values on machines. There are just too many variables, and the market sets prices, sometimes high and sometimes low!

  29. Patrick Says:

    I have a Vibrating Shuttle No. 2 Singer sewing machine with the drop cabinet. Serial No. 8717862 (1889). It is in excellent physical and working condition. Where does one find values on machines like this?

  30. Marilee Koval Says:

    Dear Harry,
    Very interesting article on old sewing machines. Just so happens I found
    tucked away in the back of our airplane hangar is a Howe 1863 in pretty
    nice condition except for some dust and dirt it still was threaded and I
    tried the peddle and it worked! Any idea about worth? It is in a coffin
    top type cabinet the unfolds in a pretty cool manner. I never saw anything
    like it. How many did Howe make of these? There is a # 113009 on it near
    the needle and the last listed pat. # is 1863. Even the thread looks old.
    Let me know what she’s worth. No one around here seems to have a clue.
    Thanks alot. Marilee

  31. Anne Smith Says:

    What an interesting write up on Sewing machines. I hadn’t realised that so many people were interested in them and still have them.
    I have a singer hand sewing machine which still works. It is black and gold with the Singer crest on it.It belonged to my Great,great grandmother.
    I’m not sure of its age but I am 76 years old.I had thought of giving it to a museum or handing it down to my children. Is it worth anything and would I be able to sell it?
    I would be glad of your advice,
    Sincerely, Mrs Anne Smith,
    Derbyshire, U.K

  32. Almedia Baker Says:

    I was given what I thought was a old Singer sewing machine in a cabinet.
    Upon further review I have found that it is a Westinghouse Apartment sewing machine. Any idea of the years this machine might have been manufactured? I am lost because I can not find anything on it. It is black cast iron with ornate design, the only number I can find on it is a style# of 577800. It does say it was manufactured in Springfield Mass.


  33. Yvonne East Says:

    I have a little information for ‘anthony July 21st. 2009.
    The machine made by British United Shoe Machine Company, as the name says was used in the manufacture of shoes. They were a very large company in Leicester-England. Their large factory/headquarters still stands in Leicester, although the company closed around 20 years ago. I worked in their office in 1960 & machines were exported worldwide. They also had a tannery, and made all necessary parts required for footwear including the glue (Bostik) eyelets & thread. For 3 centuries Leics. & surrounding counties employed 40% of the population in shoe factories. the success of BUSM brought the demise of this, as their machines helped to boost 3rd world shoe imports to Britain. They were an enormous company & treated employees like family. They even provided a company Dr. bus service to work, Theater, sports, photo clubs etc.

  34. Hazel Says:

    I have a Singer 201K works with electricity and foot, but I am not able to tell if it has a gear or belt. Could you help please?

  35. Imogene Ford Says:

    I have a Compac Precision Sewing Machine. Electric. I cant find out who made this machine. I need a bobbin cover plate for it.

  36. Kathy Bodlak Says:

    We have begun the daunting task of cleaning out our family farm barn. We have found 4 sewing machines and cabinets. We’d love to find out more on their history, specifically on one marked “Surprise”. It is in a beautiful cabinet with a gateleg, swing extension and has a very Dutch personna with geometric lines carved into the drawer fronts. It is completely manual, has a coffin top, six-drawer carved cabinet with a middle drawer and seems to be made of maple or other hardwood. The plate is engraved with the numbers 400320. The bobbin seems to be located by the wheel and not under the needle. The drawers are filled with foot attachements, bobbin(?)spools, two tins of attachments, some old instructions (no date), and several wooden thread spools. I have been unable to find any info on the suggested auction sites or search engines. Can you give us some advice? Thank you.

  37. Elena Says:

    Fascinating interview.
    I love old sewing machines, have several, but am a user rather than a collector. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find needles for my beloved Wilcox & Gibbs chainstitcher. The stitch it makes is the most beautiful one of any machine I’ve seen. Is there a modern needle that will fit the old machine? I’m down to the last 2 needles. Thanks

  38. Dawn Says:

    Hope someone can help me please. I have just purchased a treadle sewing machine and wish to restore the wrought iron back to what it should be but I cannot seem to find what finish the iron should be. Was it black gloss or dull?


  39. a.turner Says:

    i have a grimme natalis treadle machine n0 t304327 the cast legs have 2 dragons on each side the same as the g.n symbal i have no idea of its age or price any info would be graetful

  40. Mike Says:

    I have just acquired and new to this a 1950’s model 55 zigzag-Made in Japan–lime green lots of bells and whistles and would love to find a manual–i did get a tutorial in the old singer shop by me but lots of info and…they did not know all the operating adjustments

  41. Louisa Piccione Says:

    I just inhereted my Nona’s 1880-1900 standard Seing machine with wooden cabinet everything still works and I have needles and all kinds of parts including the book that went with it. The satand is cast black iron with a push peddle. Do you have any idea of its worth. Thank You; Louisa

  42. Joyce Bash Says:

    I have an 1860s Florence treadle sewing machine in the original cabinet. It also includes the accessories and the instruction book. It is all original except the leather belt which my father replaced sometime in the 50s. Can anyone estimate its value and where can I find needles? My Bernina Artista 200 is a far cry from this, but I display it under a baptismal gown I made for my grandaughter.

  43. Wade Says:

    I have old singer 29-4 leather stitching machine. Like to find more info on it.

  44. Jackie Says:

    I have an old New National treddle sewing machine. It has a wood case that covers the top of the sewing machine. It is in the original case with the original finish and has many of the original parts. I can’t find any information about it. The only number I can find on the machine is on the bobin slide and it is 864256. Any information you could lend would be appreciated. Thanks!

  45. sandy Says:

    I have a singer sewing machine dated 1909 (v501414), it has the bullet shaped bobbin case. When I got the machine the bobbin case was missing, I have managed to get a replacement but am finding it difficult to fit, any ideas.

  46. Fay Says:

    I have a P.R. Quillen, treadle sewing machine,#651817, in a five drawer cabinet. I have searched the internet for information and have come up empty handed. Does anyone have any knowledge of this machine?

  47. MARGARET Says:

    I have a 1948 w2/02 little betty toy sewing machine,do anyone have any information on this machine?

  48. Peter Says:

    I have a very old sewing machine seemingly Singer Saxonia type having number 212369.
    The manufacturer’s plate is perfectly preserved.
    I wonder if it is actually Singer as it has two dragons and scripture:
    G.N & C.caA on it.
    what could be the value of it? It stills works very good. All main parts have number 212369 on then.
    Does anyone have any information on this machine?

  49. greg Says:

    Hi, I was given my Great Grandmothers sewing machine. It has Kenmore stamped on it and a manufacturer’s plate that says Mid-State sewing machine co. Model A Type 15. It also has a serial # H262995. The machine is mounted in a wooden table. I cannot find any information on this machine and I am looking for a manual.
    Can anyone help me?

  50. Yvonne Says:

    I have a Singer AK series 1951 sewing machine. I believe it is an industrial sewing machine that was used on the ships during the war.
    I have a sheet from the Singer Co, AK-123321 to 123820 that says there were only 500 made. Could you help me locate some more information on this machine. I do have a number of 7-57.
    Thank you for your help.

  51. ana Says:

    My mother has a very old sewing machine still working in good conditions.
    The manufacturer’s plate has G.N. and the two dragons Peter said above.
    I wonder if it is actually an old Singer…
    Does anyone have any information on this machine?

  52. a.turner Says:

    ana your machine is agrimme natalis german made

  53. B Gritczek Says:

    I came across your Article while searching for vintage sewing machine collectors. My father purchased a White-Westinghouse Sewing machine in the cabinet for my mother to sew baby clothes for my expected baby brother. 1947, he was born Feb, 1948. The housing is all brass(I was told). I have the machine accessories kit, the optional accessories and the optional buttonhole attachments. There are extra bobbins, extra needles, the Hand Book and a Tag. I used the machine until recently when it shorted out and I am afraid to take it to be repaired.I don’t want to leave it anywhere. Everything is original and in very good condition. I haven’t a clue where to offer this vintage collection or how to arrive at a value. Do you have any ideas, any information would be appreciated. I want to see it with someone who would appreciate it and maybe even use it. I love the accessories, they made sewing gathers, pleats, buttonholes and hems so easy.I like it much better than my newer Singer and that is saying a lot. Thank you. P.S. White-Westinghouse no longer exists, it is Westinghouse now and no longer makes appliances for the home.

  54. Helen Says:

    Almedia Baker – We have a Westinghouse sewing machine in a cabinet with the style #577800 on a metal tag attached to the motor. Underneath the “W” there appears to be a date – 10 35. Did you ever find any more information about yours. What’s your email address? Ours in Can we send you a picture? Does anyone else know more about this model?

  55. Randy Partin Says:

    I have a McClung ‘D’ treadle sewing machine. The patent sticker says mid
    1800’s. It is in it’s own cabinet and in very good condition. I live in
    the Royal Oak, MI area and would like to communicate with you about this
    antique. I await your response. THX.

  56. pfandler Says:

    Hello from austria / europe !!
    I will help all sewingmachines-collectors, i have a lot of needles for early sewing-machines:

    Wheeler & wilson 1/2/3/4, curved, and bobbins
    Grover & baker 8, curved
    Howe B + C
    Weed 3 + 8
    Singer Kl. 2 + Titania

    I don´t need these needles, maybe i can exchange with sewing-machines!
    Write to

  57. WILLIAM Says:

    HI,I purchase my sewing machine couple days ago I love it.
    Question:can you give more details on the machine or may help me with a web site.
    When and where was built the exact or close year of the machine.
    Singer sewing machine serial # G8291016
    The original books says Singer electric sewing machine 128-18 vibrating shuttle lock stitch, for family use.
    Thank you

  58. alice atkins Says:

    i am looking for the date for my machine.its an industral singer with table,its very old the seril number is w614478.i think.i was told it was used in the world war era.can some one please help me ,i need needles for it.

  59. Jack Says:

    Hello, I have a old electric bell sewing machine made in Germany, it is in a stand and in very good condition. I can not find any info on this machine. Any info. you can give would be helpful.

  60. sarah tomlinson Says:

    Hi! unfortunately I do not have an antique sewing machine, but I do have a charming wooden “accessory” box {3″ X 8 3/4″). Some very interesting scroll work covers the top and in the center there is a circle with Wheeler&Wilson around the perimeter and W&W in the middle. the side has a metal push button to open the top and the overall finish is quite good. The corners are dovetailed with nine each at each of the four corners. I had never heard of Wheeler&Wilson, as I am only 78 yrs old (ha!) and always had a Singer. This came to me from my mother’s family, and I am curious about it . Can anyone help?

  61. Edie Zaprir Says:

    Hi Mr. Harry,

    I was just given an old sewing machine as a gift, in a wooden cabinet. I expected it to be a Singer but when I took the machine out, it said Manhattan across it. Your article said that there are only 2 known ones, yours and carters. What year were they manufactured and how do I find out the year that mine was made? Do you know an approximate value?
    Also, when is the next convention?

    Thanks so much for your info,
    Edie in Florida

  62. frances Says:

    hi i have a sewing machine cabnite that no one any where has ever seen before
    it opens on a pully and chaine like a bike chaine
    i would love to no somthing about it if any one no’s
    i had the machine to but someone took it when it was in the barn
    please e mail me if you no this machine
    i put it a shop to be worked on but it has no name on it any where
    now they said that it was worth fixixg because it is so old
    but they want 800 or 1.000 to fix the machine cabnite
    i dont want to do it unless it is worth the money
    the shop sad it was well worth fixing

  63. Sharon Pritchard Says:

    Hello. I have a Jones Hand Sewing machine serial 421989. I live in the UK and I am finding it impossible to get a value for this machine. It is in excellent working condition with original far I have learnt that it was built around 1924. Any help would be very appreciated. Thank you.

  64. Mary Says:

    I have a tredle Honeymoon sewing machine. It was one of two owned by my mother (I am 63). One was bought when I was a baby and the other was bought when my father was a baby. How do I find the age of the one I have? I have a model or serial number that was found on the slide out bobbin drop slot. Thanks for any help you can give me. Mary

  65. Gayle Tumlin Says:

    I have an old sewing machine and the brand name is “Silent.”
    It is from the early 1800’s and was handed down for 6+ generations. Last know place was Tallapoosa,Alabama. Our family came from Ireland origionally.
    I want to sell this item but have no luck in getting info with my searches. Can you tell me anything about it and it’s estimated value? It’s in the origional cabinet with cast iron base/foot tredle and is very pretty. The origional items are in the drawers.
    Thank you,
    gayle Tumlin ( please e-mail me this info)

  66. Lea Says:

    I am looking for any information on an Harness Leather Singer Machine Model 9710. We are wanting to purchase it and need to find out if parts are still made for it. Thanks for the any help that you may be able to give me, for i have been ssearching with no results. Lea

  67. Linda Lee Says:

    I have a German Singer (Tredle)machine. It is in a wooden cabinet and it is all in great condition. My husband bought it from the family of a deceased German lady. It still has her belongings in the drawers. The serial number is C2855870. I would love to know the year it was made. Can you help me?

  68. Liz Says:

    I have a Singer Sewing Machine. The info under the machine is
    Cat. No.RFJ8-8
    V.110-120 AO.8.AC&Dc
    It says that is Made in Canada.On the stitch regulator it has the #185 K.
    Could you please give me some info about this Sewing Machine.
    Thank You

  69. Sue Says:

    I have a Muller toy sewing machine, I belive it is a No 1 model. There is a
    # 72459 stamped on the base. Does anyone know if this is a rare machine as I cannot find any information on this particular model. Any info welcomed.
    Thank You, Sue,
    Lancashire, U.K.

  70. Diane Says:

    I am baffled by the machine I have had since childhood. It was very old even then. Trying to ID the electric machine if can help it would be very much appreciated.

    On upper body:
    Gold lettering and design reading: “Republic”

    On thread area a plaque reads:
    MEREX Sewing Machine, Inc. Distributors. Made in Japan

    On motor it reads:
    Dynamic Universal Motors, Model 73
    Made in U.S.A.

    Thanks so much!

  71. Darlene Smith Says:

    I have my great grandmother’s 1872 Florence sewing machine. It is in its original cabinet, which is in very good condition, with some flaws in the finish. The machine itsself is a circular shape with gold designs. I have no idea what it is worth. The only information I could find is that the exact instruction booklet is at the Smithsonian, but no mention of the machine. Would you know anything about it and what it might be worth? Where could I find a belt for it? Thank you for any info you might be able to give me. Darlene Smith – MI

  72. Karen Fava Says:

    hello i was just wondering if thier is anyone who can tell me more. I have a Normac model 40 sewing machine. Looking for as much info about it and if a can get parts and accesories.

    Thank You

  73. Melladee Says:

    Hi. I am not a collector but I have just acquired an old portable sewing machine. It is black and on the very top of the machine,in fancy gold-leaf script, it reads, THE SORITE SEWING MACHINE CO..It also has gold clover designs. The motor has a large “S” Simplex model 15. On the base of the machine is a small plate stamped Z 40424. Any information you can offer would be appreciated.
    Thank You

  74. Mike Says:

    My Mom has an old sewing machine used by my Dad years ago for shoe repair, made by The Singer Manufacturing Company. When I was 5 years old (in 1950) I remember being at his shop, so I know it’s at least that old. When my Dad bought the shoe repair business this sewing machine for sewing on
    soles, etc was purchased from the prior owner so it was manufactured some time prior to 1950.

    There are 2 numbers on the machine, I think one may be a model number and the other a serial number. The numbers are 29K51, and Y5886808.

    I’m trying to find out a few things about it and was hoping you might be able to assist me:
    1) Where I can find out more about it, and how old it is.
    2) If you know the Singer Company website, as I haven’t been able to locate it to date.
    3) Also, what the value would be, and the best way to go about selling it (located in Rochester, NY).

    Thanks so much for any assistance you can provide.



  75. Cindy Hansen Says:

    I have in my grandmother’s attic a Singer sewing machine in a stand. The numbers I could get off it were CAT# BZ 15-B and SS# AU52-19-1. Is this worth anything and possibly how much?

  76. Dee Says:

    You have a beautiful collection and I have enjoyed reading of your journey collecting these machines.

    I have a Zundapp electric sewing machine manufactured in Germany. Do you know where I can get a manual and parts for this machine? I would guess it was manufactured in the 1940’s. It is a beautiful piece of machinery but needs belts and accessories, etc.

    Thanks for any assistance. Dee

  77. Bill Says:

    There are several internet groups which specialize in antique and vintage sewing machines. Some are on Yahoo Groups under the Singer, Kenmore, White, Viking and other popular brands. The best for information on treadle and hand crank machines (people powered) is the Treadle On group which has a very detailed web site and a very active discussion group. The link for the web site is From there you can find a lot of information and joint the discussion group which seems to generate many messages per day (so you may want to consider subscribing to digest). Hope this helps and thanks to Harry for a great interview.

  78. Jan Blackmon Says:

    My grandfather was a singer sewing machine salesman in the late 1980’s and early 1900’s. He passed on to me a Singer sewing machine in vintage condition that i would like to understand the value of. It is a wood cabinet/ table version with a cast iron treadle. The machine itself is black with beautiful pearl inlay. The marking we have found say it was The Singer Mftg Co NY, patented 1872. The only serial numbers we have found are 4479505 and 543505. Are you familiar with this model? Do you have a suggestion how to go about researching it’s value??
    Thank you so much for your assistance!

  79. Liz B Says:

    I own a Wheeler & Wilson pedal machine that has been passed down through several generations. It is housed in an Oak Cabinet with a drawer on each side. It also has a wood cover with a strip of engraving on the side with a leaf pattern. Underneath the name Wheeler on the left side is the name Bridgeport. Due to age the rest of the writing cannot be read. The machine is in good shape, but the cabinet needs refinishing. I have not done it for fear of decreasing it’s value. On the left side an iron bar pulls out to lift up a small extension on the cabinet. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I would love to know it’s value. I learned to sew on this machine, and it would probably still sew with the proper needles etc. Thanks, Liz

  80. tom schaper Says:

    My aunt who is 95 years young has a sewing machine that she says her granny made all of her clothes with. I have seen the machine but can’t find a complete name on it. It has a partial name which looks like colon but it must be wrong because I can’t find anything with that name or even close to it. It looks similar to some of your pictures. Granny migrated here from England in the 1900’s. Help from anyone? Tom

  81. Joyce Anson Says:

    While cleaning my mother basement out we found a old Singer sewing machine and would like like to know if it is worth anything. The Model number on the machine is AH449101. Can you recommend somewhere I could take it to. It seems to be in very good condition. The bobbins are cone shape, never saw this before. Thank You! Joyce

  82. Joan Colling Says:

    Hello, I am trying to find a spool holder pin for a Brother Precision Sewing Machine Compac HA4B2 Model 260 Super Streamliner. It is in mint condition except for that missing pin. Would also love to find a manual for it.
    If that part is unfindable is there a way to get a picture of it so we could machine one or adapt one for it?
    This machine was inherited from our great grandmother who hardly used it. We do sew lots and are keep our fingers crossed you have a positive answer for us.
    I surely hope that you do read and answer these.
    thank you so much for your time and knowledge.

  83. Merrisa Says:

    We have a sewing machine in which we bought from a woman who was 101 years old and had gotten it from her great aunt… It has the words PARIS on it and has a frenh and american flag on it… Black with gold writing 2 small drawers on each side … I can send a pic if u would like… If u havE any info in would be very appreciated.. Thank you

  84. brainard bonner Says:

    I have an old Howe sewing machine. Patented no. 985382. Can you tell me any thing about this as to the age? I enjoyed your page so much. Thank you. Brainard

  85. Sherri Sweet Says:

    I have an old singner sewing machine that is in beautiful condition IN a curved wood case the has a place for a key The sewing machine is Black with alot of scroll work in gold al over the machine. the only # I can find is AE141785 Might be a serial # or A Pattend # I am not sure would you please E-Mail me back I am looking for the Year it was made
    singned Confused

  86. Bev Says:

    Hello, l have been trying to find something out about a Hordinia cabinet sewing machine l have, l have not seen this name anywhere?
    Any help would be appreciated.

  87. Denise Says:

    Great article (best I have come across)
    I have a very old machine and have not been able to find any information on it. The only marking is New Millard. I believe it may be late 1800’s. Can you help or tell me where I can get some info.

  88. Charlotte Says:

    We have a miniature black tin sewing machine with what looks like an eagle perching on a key on the foot plate and it is decorated in reds and golds and blue with a young girl sitting on a stool feeding doves at her feet and a tree behind her where there are more doves, has anyone any ideas on its history

  89. Linda Says:

    I saw a machine just like the very first picture on this page. It was in excellent condition. It had the name of Willis & Cox (or maybe Wilson & Cox) But it broke my heart to see that it was made into a lamp ! Don’t people realize it ruins the value of it. I didn’t buy it because of that, and they were asking $275. I have a small collection. I have a Singer Red Eye (1919), a Coronet, a New Home(2) a Featherweight and another Singer


    i bought a walthram sewing machine, need info pleasse

  91. Marion Lee Baker Says:

    My wife has a old sewing machine, and we are unable to find any information about it. The machine has a hand crank, and the top has the name, “The Discount Sewing Machine Co.” The front of the arm has the name, “Viscount” The tag under the machine says, “Made in Taiwan R.O.C., NO H 03103″ The machine appears to be in perfect condition and the paint and markings, black and gold, is excellent. Is there anyway to find information on this machine, as to how old this machine can be, and the value.

    Lee Baker

  92. Maggie Sears Says:

    I have an old Nothmann. It has a big decal of the #20 and the other decals are in pretty good shape. The serial no is 1636 006. any ideas on what this is. It is black with gold, bronze and silver decals.

    I cant find out any info about it.

  93. susan harter Says:

    i recently purchased a Singer treadle machine. on the bobbin plate were some patent dates on it. the machine is a singer no.66. the patent dates are as follows; dec.5,1882, sept.22,1885, july 10,1887, Aug 21,1888, and Jan.13,1891. Can you give me any info on this machine? It is in a wooden cabinet with the treadle wheel and a belt. I have no further info on this machine. Any info would be greatly a[[reciated.

  94. Jo Anne Fletcher Says:

    I have a ward brunswick treadle machine. It has a wooden cabinet with 4 drawers. The drawer handles are also wood. It has a serial # of 3313922. I would like to find out how old it is and if I can get a manual or parts. I find all kinds of information about other machines on the internet but very little about machines named brunswick. I know they were made for Montgomery wards by the National Sewing Machine company but that is all I know about them. I am missing the front shuttle plate cover and the front swing out accessory drawer to my cabinet. Other than that it works great. I can send pictures if you need them.


  95. Dawn Sherman Says:

    Hi i recently bought a Wheeler & Wilson tredle sewing machine at a garage sale,it is in working condition and would like to know more about
    it. There is a plate on it with D-9 and No.2933918,pattened Mar 25th 90 and Aug 2nd 92.Any info would be greatly appreciated.Thanks

  96. Elma Turner Says:

    I acquired a Jones spool hand crank sewing machine when I was in England some 33 years ago and would like to know more about this machine. It has the #223967 and it also says Guide Factory Bridge Manchester. I would greatly appreciate any information. Thanks

  97. Lee Ozmun Says:

    I have had an old portable sewing machine sitting in my basement for years (the bottom of the coffin top carrying case is broken). My husband decided to repair it and I thought I would research the machine. Nothing on the web – HELP!! It is a Townley Rotary – Portable AC-DC. Serial # B302869. It is in a walnut coffin top case. Any information will be appreciated. Many Thanks

  98. Edward Kercado Says:

    What type of wood was used by the various sewing machine companies to make the table tops and coffin covers? I have a Demorest cover and a Domestic cover, but I don’t know how to tell what type of wood is used.
    Thank you.

  99. Maxwell Meyers Says:

    I have done a little sewing using an old converted Singer machine. But I don’t really know how to sew. I would like to buy a book on how to sew
    (not the owners manual) that would go best for a Singer Featherweight 221-1
    Do you have any suggestions?

  100. John Fisher Says:

    I have my great-grandmothers sewing machine made by “Apartment”. It is house wooden carrying case and it still works. I could not find any information on this machine. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  101. pat sexton Says:

    When I was a little girl, and I am now 71, my father brought home an antique cobbler machine made by Singer. It is heavy iron and all black and is free standing on the floor and driven by foot pedals. That time would have been in the 1940’s. He wanted to sell it to Greenfield Village in Michigan that contains many antiques but never got around to it. Both Mom and Dad have died and I now have it and would like to sell it. How do I find collectors who may be interested in this machine?

  102. Cindy Says:

    Hello, I Have 2 singer sewing machines with the wooden cases
    they are black with the gold details.
    I am wanting to know when they were produced
    The serial numbers are AB261857 and AL322085
    Thank you for your help.

  103. tanya hicks Says:

    I recently bought a class 15 treadle singer sewing machine dated 1935,works fine, but have a question about the metal stand. It has straight legs and originally painted brown with the name singer in gold on crossbar of stand, certainly not the more common black cast iron stand most people are used to seeing. Please, what years did singer make this style of stand and did singer have a name for this style? Would appreciate any available info. Thank you.

  104. Leslie R. Ballard Says:

    I have a Atlas Deluxe Sewing Machine 1950’s model. The price of the machine at that time was $219.50 Full Cash Price. The machine is a light pink color. It has DIAL ACTION forward-reverse feed mechanism, allows you to make a precise, even-length stitches in either direction with a twist of a DIAL and a flick of the lever. It has an automatic darner, deck operated drop feed, improved race design and modern winder are among the many features of this machine. It also has a original box of attachments: The cloth Guide, The attachment foot, The adjusterable Zipper and Cording Foot, The scissors Cutting Gauge, The gathering foot, The Quilter, The Narrow Hemmer, The Hemmers, The Edgesticher, The Multie Slotted Binder and The Ruffler. I have all original booklets “Instruction Manual” and How to “Use Griest Attachments” the original booklets, tin box that contains bobbins and needles,, light bulb, paper measuring tape. I also have the
    silver tin can with the oil still in it with no rust noted. This lifetime guarantee ATLAS sewing machine has a foot pedal and is in its original case. At this machine still works!!! I can’t find out it’s value or who to talk to about this machine. It was passed down to me by my Mother. Please help me! Thank you Leslie R Ballard

  105. sue thiel Says:

    Hi, I have a singer sewing machine that I think was manufactured around 1948. Have serial # B60812 not model number, it think it’s called the (Singer Lock Stitch Family Sewing Machine). I’ve been trying to find anything on it, but have not had any luck-if you can please point me in the right direction that would be great. It’s in its original cabinet.

    Thanks so much

  106. Beverly Says:


    We have been given a singer sewing machine, model 176-21, which appears to be a fur sewing machine. We have been able to download the manual, but cannot obtain a value on the machine. Do you know of a website where we can obtain the value? Any direction you can give would be appreciated.

  107. rachel Says:

    yes i came across a carnegie precision built sewing machine says its made in japan tag is rkc-zz01764 best i can figure is its from 1969 cause that whats stamped on the wood its one of those folds up and the table opens up i’m not sure what to call it i’m trying to research it and learn more also to find out if it worth anything i’m not having any luck. if anyone knows anything please email me at thank you

  108. Cheryl Says:

    I just purchased an antique Singer treadle sewing machine from 1896. How do I find someone in the Chicago area that knows how to fix it(or if it can be fixed)? I would also like to find a manual for this machine. The treadle base is in great condition.

  109. JUDITH Says:


  110. Sharon Davis Says:

    Hi Harry,
    I just purchased a 1940 Singer Heavy Wt. Cat #RFJ8-8 V110-120 A.O.8,A,C. & D.C. The tag on the top of my machine says,/The Singer Company Canada. It is green in color. The machine is small like a Feather wt. and very heavy, no case or cabinet. I was told that it might be an industial machine. Can you give me any information on this machine and a value.Is there anyway to get a book for this or a way to get asseceries?
    Thank you for your time.

  111. Wanda Says:

    This was a very interesting article, the machines shown are beautiful. I have just acquired a trinket box full of treadle (I beleive) sewing attachments, the only thing written on the outside of the wooden box is
    Patented 1899??? February 19 – the 1899 is kind of hard to see but that is the best I can come up with, I am very curious as to who made the box and which machine they were sold for, or are they generic and fit a lot of machines??

  112. Paul Bauer Says:

    I just bought a featherweight 221. The finish on the metal is poor but the decals are still bright. Is there a method that can be used to restore the finish of the paint witout covering or losing the decals? Thank You

  113. Clifford barker Says:

    Hi … Im from South africa … and i have got an industrial singer 45k21 on reading your website i see you also have a 45 singer … I have tried to find on the net a manual of this machine and im also looking for parts … it was givin to me and would like to get it to running order ….if u could give me any infomation on this machine i would be so happy ….but also would like to know when it was made and where it was made.Mnay thanks

  114. Christine in Denver Says:

    Hello, I just purchased a Wheeler and Wilson model no. 4 sewing machine, purchased in 1873, and am looking for the curved needle that it requires. Anyone have a source(s)? thanks


  115. Ruby Tolton Says:

    I am researching White Treddle Sewing Machine that has the following on it:
    54644 April 10, 1900: 678660 July 16, 1901: 696039 March 25, 1902: 799339 Sept. 12, 1905: 9311610 Aug 17, 1909: 990033 April 18, 1911 – also on machine head FR2238380. What information can you give me.

  116. Ruby Tolton Says:

    Can anyone tell me the year made, where made and maybe a photo of this machine. Thanks.

  117. Sandra Constantino Says:

    I have a White Sewing Machine that I just got in working order. I have looked it over pretty extensively but have not been able to find any thing that resembeles a model number. There is a plate that gives three patent dates – The first is May 14,1876, the second is 1878, and the last is July 11, 1882. On the bottom of the machine is a large number 5 stamped into the metal. Might you have any knowledge of what the model might be? Thank you.

  118. James McDowell Says:

    I have an Domestic Sewing Machine that I understand was manufactured in the 18 hundreds. My Grandmother’s mother had the machine and during the time was used quite frequently. I seen other pictures of this sewing machine on the internet and wondered if this is a rare machine cause I’am not a collector. Can you also tell me where to find the marking of the model and ore serial number on it. I would greatly appreciate any information that you can provide. Thank you

  119. Dawn Sherman Says:

    to christine in Denver try pfandler@gmx:at they are in Austria and may have needles for the Wilson & Wheeler

  120. Denise Kurr Says:

    My grandfather was a shoemaker in the coal region of Pa. We have his Singer treadle shoe machine that is in excellent condition, dated early 1900’s. Is it of any value? It seems none of us have the room to keep it but don’t want to give it away if it is a collector’s item. Any info you provide would be helpful.

  121. John Loman Says:

    I have a compac portable sewing machine I thinkit is dated in the 1940’s I cannot find any information out about it. I know it does work fine. Is there anything you can tell me about it?

  122. Virginia Hoffman Says:

    Hi, I have just bought a treadle machine .I drove to Camden,Nyto pick it up.It is a smaller machine and cabinet than some treadles I have seen.It has the accessaries with it but no book. I don’t know what company made it.I don’t want to know value,as I will never part with it.The man I bought it from knew nothing about it because it was left in the basement of the house that he had purchased.It has a fold down leaf on the left hand side. The numbers on the slide plate are 2288824 and the name of the machine is “New Victoria”

  123. Virginia Hoffman Says:

    My machine must have had a coffin top.It is in very good shape,but no top was with itl I just would like to know more about this machine if anyone has any information about it.

  124. Barbara Elder Says:

    I just purchased a Compac sewing machine 1951 is there anyway you can tell me who makes it. Serial number # B5017877A I have the original bill of sale.

  125. Mike Bourgeois Says:

    I have an antique 1962 kenmore sewing machine model # 1120 with the cabinet and owners manuel how much would you say it may be worth?

  126. Yvonne Barton Says:

    I happen to have a vintage sewing machine which goes under the name of Lucky, which is the name plate of the front of the wooden case it is housed in. it has beautiful engraving and very decorative, can you tell me which company would have made this or where i could find out some more information on this lovely item.

  127. Pat Says:

    Hello, I am also trying to find out information on The Sorite Sewing Machine Company. Please help, thanks

  128. Erol Says:

    Hello i have an antic singer model 128k , vintage made on 30 may 1922 .. It is in a very good condition and still works well . I would like to have contact with an antic collector for sell .
    Thanks a lot.

  129. Marie, Says:

    Hello, I have an 1876 Florence in cabinet, I have the book and several attachments ( bobins and things I’m not sure what they are. I would like to fine out if it is rare and it”s worth. Thank you

  130. Bagrat Says:

    I have 1871 year sewing machine SINGER-AMERIKA handmade pictchure of box . machine serial number 0791648

  131. Bagrat Says:

    I have a family relic, hand sewing-machine “SINGER-AMERIKA”, which I wish to sell for a solid price, including foreseeing your interests, of course in the case of your help in this affair.

    As we researched, the sewing-machine is neither American nor European. It is made by special order of Jewish society, which is confirmed by machine’s own logo, with an image of eagle , Jewish stars with six sides and the inscription “United States Sewing-machine Singer AMERIKA” (America must be written) and initials which mean:

    1. H.B.W.-Hebrew
    2. H.B.W.-Beginning Hebrew B. credits

    Letter “H” is used by Jews instead of hidden. On the wooden cap and platform of the machine there is a painting on the golden soil made on a high level. It is an American emblem decorated by Jews with Jewish stars with six sides. The bronze eagle expressed on this emblem is instead of an American eagle with white head and there is an inscription in several colors “AMERIKA”, when arranging letters according to colors, we receive the word “Arameik”. On the perimeter of the machine there were golden ornaments which peeled off during usage and nacres appeared under them, which are like Aramaic letters, what was confirmed to us in synagogue and several words were read and explained to us: Judas, David.

    This sewing-machine is the only one, there is no other copy like this in the world. The machine has a number with zero and micro 3. 03791648, the machine has one and the same code on nine different details: 69648

  132. Laura Says:

    I have a Singer sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother. She bought it around 1939-40…Looking to put it on sale. Was wondering about how much it is worth. Serial # AF554471. It’s still in good working condition. Comes with enclosed brown wood desk and pedal….

  133. jason swing Says:

    I have a 128-18 Singer electric sewing machine, I also have the original instruction manual. I was just wondering how much it is worth; and were could I sell it? thank you

  134. Candice Lovato Says:

    We have an antique Singer 27 K vibrating shuttle sewing machine with the Vicorian design but cannot dicern a date of manufacture. Best we can find out is that was probably made in 1891. We have the attachments, belt, key for the drawers and the manual. The manual is threatening to fall apart and would like to know if we can laminate them to preserve them? And can you advise us of its worth? Thank you.

  135. Dori Sendig Says:

    I have recently acquired a Sortie brand sewing machine. The placard on the machine says that it is a Simplex Model 15. Can you tell me anything about this machine or its worth?
    Thank you!

  136. John M. Simon, Jr. Says:

    I have a portable electric Florence sewing machine. The sewing machine is in a beautiful wooden case with a handle on top to carry. Latches in on the one end and then locks on the other. Try to find the model number but couldn’t.

  137. Cindy Says:

    I have an older model sewing machine by Consul. The only information on the machine I was able to locate is: Dynamic Universal Motor 73. I have been unsuccessful in finding a serial # or a year. I was wondering if you would have any information on this piece of machinery. I know the machine is at least 55-60 years old. Any time I enter that info on the computer, I get a lot more info that doesn’t relate to it. Any insight you might be able to provide would be a great help. Thank you for your time.

  138. carlos arroyo Says:

    i have a domestic 1878 new york made,it has a some originall needles and diferent domestic parts,it has the cover box and a really good condition,it has a lot of different dates on it, from 1846 to 1876, the last number i founded is 1878,i would like to nkow its estimate or any aditional information on it, thank you.

  139. Rod Smith Says:

    I have a treadle sewing machine manufactured by C.A. WOOD company 1903 ( THE HIGH ARM PHILADELPHIA MACHINE). The serial no. on the slide plate is 5002720. Any information on this machine or manufacturer would be helpfull, thank You.

  140. Ernie T Says:

    I recntly started cleaning up and old sewing machine that has been sitting on the farm for 55 years. All I can find on it is Wilson S M Co Makers Chicago Ill USA on the bottom. There is a picture of a man on the front of it with initials W ? Wilson. The flywheel is behind the sewing machine oriented 90 degrees off of the normal RH orientation. I am looking for more information on this machine. Was this before the Wheeler Wilson machine? I will try to post a picture in your Show & Tell. Thanks

  141. Becca Says:

    I have an old Pfaff sewing machine still works and is in a wooden case. It has 30, 31 on the front. Have found 30’s and 130’s on line but not any with the 30 31. Is this a rare machine? What does the 31 mean?
    Thank You

  142. Ken Briley Says:

    Have an old Singer treadle machine, appears in good shape, with serial number G8705559, but cannot find a date or any other info.
    Is there anyway to determine the date made or the value?

  143. Rocksi Says:

    Hello there. This is to whomever might be able to give me some answers. My husband bought me an old singer at a yard sale and I can’t find any information about it because I’m not finding to proper information to look it up under. Here is the information I have right off the machine;

    number in front: JA902574
    CAT. NO. BA 3-8
    S.S. AU 52-17-1

    Any information would be great especially if I could get a hold of a manual. Thank you for your time.

  144. Tanya Montoya Says:

    Hello i have a 1945 Reverse Electric Sewing Machine with button hole attachments and warranty papers and instruction booklet how much would it be worth still works

  145. Ron Wisniewski Says:

    I have aquired an old sewing machine that has the name “Whippet” on it.I can’t find any information about this machine anywhere. Under the top slide plate are the letters ” T X ” then underneath the numbers 231354. Any help would be deeply appreciated.

  146. Virginia Lynch Says:

    sorry its a model a

  147. Gloria Harris Says:

    I have a Modern Sewing Machine Company K292326 sewing machine and would like to know where I can go to get more information about the company and when it was manufactured. Thank you.

  148. Gretchen Kruziki Says:

    I have inherited my Mother’s sewing machine, a Singer AF067534. I believe it is from 1938. It needs repairs, new belts, a new plug(it is three pronged) and a manual. Do you possibly know where I could begin to look for the correct parts on the web? I am SO LOOKING forward to sewing on this machine. It has been held against my wishes by my late stepmother for 35 years. Now that I am 60, I would like to get going and SEW ON IT!!! I have had many other machines but this one is very special to me.


    Our house recently flooded, and we had a moving company pack & store all of our household goods. When the items were returned to us, the Singer sewing treadle machine (my grandmother’s, so probably 1900’s) that they had removed from the oak base is now missing. I AM DEVASTATED!!
    Since I don’t have the model number of the machine, how can I make sure whatever I replace it with will have the same installation as the one I had? Is there a way you could send me pictures of the inside of the base where the machine would be installed.

  150. Chrystal Simspson Says:

    I recently was given a wood cabnet and base for a sewing machine alot of the original items were in the drawers the machine itself was removed the original sale of warenty states from 190_ it doesn’t have other markings that i can find with it the pedal wheel and cabnet all working there are all the original attachments in a black box with velvet lining needles in there wooden boxes and so on i was just wondering what the value of these items also a traum tracing wheel in box from 1949

  151. Jeannene Balogh Says:

    I have a 1926 Singer sewing machine with all instr books, including metal box, old hard
    black plastic box with several attachments, which I never used. It is in a cabinet with 3
    drawers on right side facing you and one on left. Machine goes down into cabinet. All works well. My question is a letter and numbers engraved on inside of cabinet. D206693. Can you tell me about this cabinet. Thank you.

  152. Ellen Jones Says:

    What a wonderful source of information! I had no idea sewing machines were so beautiful way back when. I have my mothers Compac Precision Sewing Machine DA198158 that is in perfect condition and was wondering where I could find more information about it? That’s so much for keeping history alive!

  153. Marlene Phillips Says:

    I purchased an Adler Class 152 with link take-up lever, it has Greist attachments and buttonholer. Manufactured in Kochs Adlernahmaschinen Werke AG, Bielefeld, Germany, in 1956, in a maple cabinet with three drawers. I am still using it , but it needs a new belt, haven’t been able to find one.

  154. Mary Willis Says:

    I am trying to find a used button hole attachment for a RFJ8-8 singer,but I cannot find the part number so I can identify which will work with that machine

  155. Vicky Lee Says:

    I have a New Williams sewing machine in a Parlor cabinet (very ornate) dates on this machine are pat: July 13 1893 / Aug. 29 1893 another metal emblem states The New Williams Manufacturing Company Jan. 18 1884 / Jan.21 1884 /Jan. 24 1884
    The cabinet has and tag saying Pat: May 1 1877
    The machine when opened then opens front doors. This machine is beautiful and an exciting piece. Any info would be appreciated.
    Thank You

  156. Phyllis Thomton Says:

    I was given an antique ‘Domestic’ sewing machine and don’t know much about it. It has a serial number of 1283678. It is a treadle machine-stand is
    black iron with a star in center. It has 6 drawers(3 on either side), a small swing out drawer and a wooden cover that has ‘Domestic’ on it. Please help me with some info about it. I believe it is about late 1800’s. How far off am I?

  157. Pete Says:

    I have an old 7-30 sewing machine, this machine still works & is in great shape. I’ve been told that machines like it were was used by the army to build tents, & make harrness, back around 1850 & up to & including during the Civil War. I would like to know what it is worth.

  158. Lois Levick Says:

    I have a 1915 Singer Parlor Cabinet machine. I’ve only used it as furniture, but recently pushed the button and lifted the machine up. Now, I can’t get it to go down again. I’ve been searching the internet and even antique dealers in my area but nobody seems to have any suggestions.
    To my dismay, I later remembered there was a wooden bar going across, which, when I brought the machine up, wasn’t there.
    Can you recommend anything that I might do to put this beautiful cabinet back to its closed position?

  159. ross johnson Says:

    i have awheeler-wilson sewing machine. found some numbers 65w1 on plate. i want to know what year an what kind of machine it is an what type of fabric it can sew.where can i find manual for it

  160. angela parry Says:

    Please could you tell me is there many of the Harris sewing machines about?,as i have one,not sure how old it is.Was made in London,found a model number on the motor,684226.Thanks.

  161. Iris Warren Says:

    I have a hand crank Jones hand crank sewing machine (light green in color). Made in England – Model #59, ID 007009. I would like to find a new bobbin case and extra bobbins. Could you help me out. I’ve looked on all the Jone’s sites and can’t find this particular model. I believe it’s from the ’50s or ’60s but no manfacturing year can be found on it. It has the cylinder shuttle and long bobbins, not the newer type. I would appreciate any help you can give me about this machine. It’s in good working order and I love it. Thank you

  162. Sherrie G Says:

    I have an Oak Treadle New Home sewing machine cabinet w/attachments, serial or model #3670716, I believe is circa 1900. Can you provide any information on value. Thank you.

  163. Lysanne Says:

    I have a sewing machine and I want to know, if it’s possible, the year of fabrication please ?
    The color of the machine is a sort of blue.
    The inscription on the top is :
    La Salle Precision Manufactured Sewing Machine
    The numbers graved under is :
    A/12 7982 F or maybe A/I2 7982 F (because I’m not sure to read it correctly)
    The serial number of the motor is : 121157
    I hope that you’ll be able to tell me this information.
    Thanks a lot!

  164. karen Says:

    do you know who manufactured Premier the name written on the front of a black steel ) sewing machines?

  165. Cathy McIlwain Says:

    I bought an old Macy sewing machine in the cabinet at an auction and am not sure how to use it. It has a knee peddle, but I am not sure if it is supposed to be electric or not. There is a cord that connects from the peddle to the machine. Can you help me? It seems to be in pretty good shape. Thanks.

  166. Annamaria Says:

    I just purchased a Manhattan brand treadle sewing machine and can’t find any information about this brand. Can anyone shed light on this beautiful item.

  167. Sharon Chittick Says:

    I just bought a sewing machine at an estate sale, because I thought it was “charming”, though electric. It was made by Westinghouse, says “New Home”, has a “light running” Trademark with what looks like a Greyhound Dog, Style 952931, and has 2 circular “decals” , one saying Exposition Universal 1889 and the other saying Republique Francaise. It also has a metal piece with NH95499. On another part of the machine it says NHMSC, Rockville, Illinois. I do not even sew, but I think it might be fun to try this nice old machine. The wood, when cleaned up, should be lovely, with one part burl. Can you tell me anything about this interesting machine?

    Sharon Chittick

  168. judy jowett Says:

    i have a 1908 mahogany parlour can you tell me what it is worth
    treadle and a attachment for electric . good shape. Is it better if
    you redo the cabnet for scratches.

    thank you

  169. Debbie Henson Says:

    I bought an old “White” treadle sewing machine years ago at an auction. It’s in excellant condition, with an instruction booklet, and a “White” metal box with all the attachments. It also came with a letter from the original owner written to the White company on how he had bought it for his wife and it was a good and reliable machine. The letter is dated 1900, and apparently he never sent it to the company. I was wondering how much it was worth. The number on the front of the machine is 1549578 and the first patented date is Mar 20, 1877. Thanks

  170. Dempsey Says:

    I have found by researching the number found on my Singer machine (N539372) is possibly from 1900. I am interested in getting some info on it, as the threadle does not say SINGER it says ELECTRA. I have never seen a singer machine on a threadle that didn’t say singer. I am interested in any info you may have or suggestions on where to research. Thanks!

  171. Jacqueline Says:

    I am looking for an instruction manual for an old Improved Reliance treadle sewing machine. Any one have one I can get a copy of ….the bobbins look like a shuttle or a rocket.

  172. Joe Garza Says:

    Can you point the way to any source that can shed some light on what was
    the procedure or materials used in creating the “gold leafing” designs over
    the “black enamel” or “porcelain”. It’s not a particular design that
    I seek, but rather the technique that was used on the early sewing machines.
    I own a hand crank Singer & the design is so beautiful, that I want to replicate
    my vintage bicycle in the same style. I won’t be using decals but being an artist,
    I will be doing it myself…if possible. I’m not sure if anybody knows, but I thought
    I give it a try before I begin my project. Thank You.

  173. Debbie Hasbrouck Says:

    My husband just bought me a antique “Household” sewing machine made by Westinghouse, he replaced the electrical cords & it works beautifully, unfortunately, I cannot remember how to thread the machine! I am trying to find a copy of the orignal instruction booklet & have no idea where to start, am hoping you have advice for me. Thank You

  174. Graham Forsdyke Says:

    Answers to all these questions via the ISMACS digest.

  175. Jean Brigham Says:

    Reference Marie Wignall’s comments (item 27) about her Gloria Machine.

    I, also have one, serial number 644648! Would be grateful for any information about the date of these machines. Would it be possible to forward this to her?

    Many thanks. Jean

  176. Angela Says:

    After my grandmother passed away, I took into my possession an antique toy sewing machine, I believe. It’s in a weird old box and has never actually been used. I think it was made in 1912, but I’m not for sure. It’s cute, but I just keep it in the box as well, its practically brand new despite the 100 year existence.

  177. Lyn Barnett Says:

    I have an old ANA peddle sewing machine in a cabinet with a roll back top which I have not seen before. The serial number is 1903358
    Can you please give me some information on it if possible and what it would be worth. Thankyou Lyn

  178. Stephen Irvine Says:

    Hi, I inherited an old (bench model?) pedal singer sewing machine with the serial number 10960277. From my investigations it was made in 1873 but I have had nothing to do with antiques before & have no idea how to establish a rough estimate of its value, any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  179. muriel sinclair Says:

    my daughter has bought a singer, which we are trying to get working for her, model 66K, made 13th August, 1928, at Clyde Bank, where do we start to look for parts, have a manual from singer in America. any help would be appreciated. thank you.

  180. Allen Klinefelter Says:

    We had several 9710 floor mounted sewing Machines at the Parachute Packing Maintenance and Airdrop school at Ft Lee Virginia in 1972. Do not know if they still have them but they were great for sewi g thick webbing

  181. Michael Kaspick Says:

    I was wondering what the make and model of the paw foot sewing machine (the second picture from the top)?

  182. Steve Heeter Says:

    Michael – The paw foot machine appears to be a Shaw & Clark Patent machine. Most likely in the early to mid 1860’s. Research in to “New England sewing machines” “Hydrant or Pillar sewing machine” can show a LOT of similar machines

  183. HARRY BERZACK Says:

    Steve has put you on the right track.
    The machine is a Shaw and Clark Monitor Hydrant machine, which is relatively easy to find, but very rare in the mint condituion of this example. The machine has a label affixed to the underside calling the machine “The Little Giant” which was a name assigned to the machine by one of Shaw and Clark’s sales agents

  184. Jeanne Janoch Says:

    I read the article by Harry Berzack, saying that the Manhattan Sewing Machines are far and few between. I have an old treadle machine that says Manhattan across the top. Is is made by the Manhattan Sewing Machine Company, or is it called Manhattan, but made by some other company?
    Would love more info on it. Can also send a picture. Thank you!

  185. HARRY BERZACK Says:

    Referring to Jeanne’s post..
    In retrospect it was an error to refer to the Manhattan machine, as over the years I must have had at least a hundred calls from people who thought they had lucked out with having this extremely rare machine.
    The original maker of the Manhattan machine was a New york company that only remained in business for a short period of time, and probably made no more than 1000/2000 machines.
    Many years later, one of the Chains (And I seem to remember it being Sears), started to badge mass produced sewing machines with the name Manhattan. These later machines are collectable (and I do have an example in my collection) but they have no connection to the New York produced machine, of which I still only know of two examples surviving in collections, and they do not command anything close to the value of the original.

  186. JOan T. Schmitz Says:

    Thank you Harry for the very informative article! AND a big thank you for presenting me with a beautiful serger for winning the Wall Hanging contest in N.C. in 2009. When I sit at my sewing machine, I am across from that Wall Hanging and to my left is that gorgeous serger that you presented me for winning. Life doesn’t get much better than that! Good health to you as you continue to inform all of us about those old gorgeous machines that you own. Gratefully, Joan t. Schmitz

  187. Herbert Zehender Says:

    I have a sewing machine that belonged to my Great grandfather. My mom send it to me from Germany 6 years ago . The machine name is Mifa. It has a beautiful
    wood top with a measuring stick wood inlay. I was told that he was a Taylor.
    Can somebody give me more info or where I can get more info and maybe a value. email me at
    Herbert Zehender

  188. Cheri More Says:

    Have an old hand crank (I think German) sewing machine….It is marked Garanteret … Johan Hammer Troneh?em … and #22145….
    What I would like to know if you can tell me if there is a lock on the crank????? Before we start applying force and oil…. The needle shaft does not move but the foot shaft does go up and down…. The crank we can get to move a little bit forward and back but won’t go around…. The shuttle does move a little bit….. Do we take it apart and clean or is there a lock or button I should push…. I have tried everything…..HELP….
    Cheri More

  189. Marie Says:

    I just purchased a Singer Sewing machine at an Estate Sale and am wanting to know the age and history of the machine. Model number on the machine is G0587179

  190. janet koost Says:

    I have a Margaret sew machine. Working order. Actually used daily last year for some very heavy sewing.
    Q: other than the morse import co. I can not find much information on the machine. I saw that one sold on Ebay for a sum of $1500. Why so much?
    Any other information about this machine would be greatly appreciated.

  191. B McCormick Says:

    I have a beautiful very old Singer Portable with a wood domed case. Beautiful painted on the plate. No on front plate is G5849442 and The information on back plate id Cat No BA3-8 S. S. AU 52-17-1 Siman co
    I would love to know when it was made. It does state U.S.A. and has 110-120 volts. I had it serviced and they said it the most beautiful they had seen and works great.

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