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 Dincum.com. 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)

198 comments so far

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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
    Vicky

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. karen Says:

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. Graham Forsdyke Says:

    Answers to all these questions via the ISMACS digest.

    http://www.ismacs.net/digest.html

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. Michael Kaspick Says:

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

  32. 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

  33. HARRY BERZACK Says:

    Michael
    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

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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 zehenderh@yahoo.com
    Thanks
    Herbert Zehender

  38. 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

  39. 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

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. BJ Tolley Says:

    I have a Wheeler & Wilson 1864. Great condition and works. Have always wanted to know the value.

  43. Ann Ridge Says:

    I have an instruction manual for using the singer sewing machine, No. 27 (vibrating shuttle No. 2)
    From 7475 October 8, 1900 supersedes form 7160
    It’s in very good condition, I’m trying to find the value of it. Any help would be appreciated.

  44. Joann Lilley Says:

    I have acquired a wheeler & Wilson sewing machine. We think it is may be from 1872. I do have the serial no. I am looking for a manual and parts list to this machine. Can you give me any info. Where I may find this. Thanks for you help

  45. CJ Ruiz Says:

    I have a Singer Overlock Sew Machine 81-5 built in June 9-1925.. I posted it on this site few weeks ago. Mine was a piece of rust but now is clean and running. But there not much information in this machine… You can find some of this singer industrial model 81 occasionally on Ebay. My question is… What is the story of this machine? I saw some Sew Machine Museums on YouTube but i don’t see this type of machines in there collections. Something happened with this model 81? Why is not collectable? Thanks for any information..

  46. Cheryl Says:

    I have acquired a Singer #66-1, G253201 sewing machine and cabinet from a family friend’s estate (Was in his family). I am unable to keep it due to space. I would love to donate this to someone local (Orange or Los Angeles County, California) who will pick up and give it some TLC. It is not in working condition; have the original manual.

  47. mary steiner Says:

    I want to donate my grand parents old singer to a museum in their memory. They were Russian immigrants living in New York. Local museums and historical societies do not have space….. pls. help with any ideas. thanks, Mary

  48. HARRY BERZACK Says:

    Mary
    I rather suspect that your Singer is one of the mass produced Singers from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Unfortunately these are of no interest to museums as they are so common. Obviously the machine has sentimental value to you, and you should hang on to it together with your memories and pass it down in due course. Depending on condition etc you could possibly get $100 on Eebay, if you just have no space for it


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