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National Sewing Machine - Manhattan

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    Posted 3 months ago

    TracyLeigh
    (1 item)

    This sewing machine has been in my family as long as I remember. I've been trying to date this piece with no success.

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    Comments

    1. keramikos, 3 months ago
      Hi, TracyLeigh. :-)

      Beautiful.

      I see you already know quite a bit, because the name on the horizontal arm is "Manhattan," but you've divined that your machine was probably made by National Sewing Machine Company. National made more of what are known as "badged" machines than any other sewing machine company of its day:

      http://ismacs.net/national/from_eldredge_to_national_to_janome.html

      Similarly, you've ferreted out the serial number (628643) that is normally hidden under the front slide plate, but have probably learned that there is no comprehensive database of National serial numbers. :-(

      In looking at the various characteristics of your machine, it seems like it might be a VB-TT Type 5. Here is one at the defunct needlebar dot org website:

      http://needlebar.org/nbwiki/index.php?title=File:04natvbtt3506951.jpeg

      http://needlebar.org/nbwiki/index.php/National_Vibrating_Shuttle_Machines

      The decals aren't the same, but yours has a rounded body, an inspection plate at the shoulder (the junction of the horizontal arm and the pillar), a top leaf tension assembly, a pillar screw stitch length control, and a low bobbin winder.

      I found a blogger who has a VB-TT Type 5, and they found some old Eaton catalogs on archive dot org with at least one that has a drawing of a machine that looks very similar to theirs (and yours):

      http://ncweekendquilter.blogspot.com/p/treadle.html

      I'm simplified the first archive dot org link here to a single page view, because I think it's the pertinent one:

      https://archive.org/details/eatons190500eatouoft/page/n202/mode/1up

      I think the No. 3 Eatonia in the 1905 Eaton catalog looks the closest.

      Then again, as that blogger pointed out, the Sears Home Queen looks very similar:

      http://ismacs.net/sears/images/hq.jpg

      http://ismacs.net/sears/sears.html

      However, none of the Vindex models at needlebar have a top leaf tension assembly. :-(

      All things considered, I think I'd go with a National Sewing Machine Company vibrating shuttle model VB-TT Type 5 badged for the Charles Williams Stores, circa 1905.
    2. keramikos, 3 months ago
      Whoops, I would be remiss in my responsibilities if I didn't tell you that you can correct the orientation of your fourth picture by editing it on your local machine, be it desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone.

      The software here at Collectors Weekly Show & Tell doesn't play nicely with all makes and models of digital cameras, especially some found on tablets and smart phones.

      Any old edit should do the trick, but try trimming the rectangular image to shorten the long sides a bit. Then edit your post, and replace the current image with the edited one.
    3. keramikos, 3 months ago
      Hi again, TracyLeigh. :-)

      I think the only way to narrow down further the age of your machine would be to get a look at some old Charles Williams Stores catalogs.

      The Smithsonian has some, but they haven't been scanned for online viewing:

      https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/SILNMAHTL_28495

      This outfit has some Charles Williams Stores catalogs, but it requires an account (that's the deal killer for me personally, but your mileage may vary):

      https://www.amdigital.co.uk/primary-sources/trade-catalogues-and-the-american-home
    4. TracyLeigh, 3 months ago
      Thank you so much for your help and sources. It is very much appreciated!
    5. keramikos, 3 months ago
      TracyLeigh, You're welcome. :-)

      I'm sorry that I can't pin it down more closely.

      Here is more information in a CW S&T post from about six months ago when I had occasion to help somebody who had a VB-TT Type 5 complete with the same decal set seen on the needbar dot org example (but badged Manhattan):

      https://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/291516-manhattan-sewing-machine

      As I remarked in my comments on that post, vintage sewing machine enthusiast Wayne Schmidt has a VB-TT Type 5 that he was able to approximate a date of 1914, and his has a serial number of 2,296,351, so yours is probably quite a bit older.

      Here is some more history of National machines:

      *snip*

      National Sewing Machine Co. Est 1879 – 1957
      Factory: Boston, Massachusetts 1880 -1887
      Moved to: Chicago, Illinois
      Moved to State Street, Belvidere, Illinois by 1886
      Office 290 Broadway New York 1923
      Presidents: Barnabas Eldredge 1890 - 1911, David Patton 1911 - 1925,Harry D. Pierce 1925 - 1928, Walter E. Dewrwent 1928, Raymond F. List 1928 - 1939+
      Machines Made:
      Labelled Machines for Montgomery Wards & Co., Sears Roebuck & Co.,
      Eldredge B 1888 - 1897
      Belvidere 1893
      Model Nos 3 & 5 1894
      The Eldredge (Vindex B)1904 - 1908
      The Eldredge D 1908
      Eldredge Two Spool 1916 1920
      Seamstress 1893
      Grand 1893
      Imperial Seamstress
      Improved Eldredge B 1904
      National Two spool 1923
      Paveway 1908 1937
      Videx Special
      Expert B.T. 1940
      B. Eldredge Automatic - Chain Stitch 1908
      Reversew REX 1939
      Rotary A, B 1908 1939, C, D 1939.
      Improved Eldredge Rotary B 1937 - 1939
      Damascus Rotary (Montgomery Ward) 1937
      Brunswick 1937 (Montgomery Ward)
      Paveway Regent 1937
      Reversed B, D. 1939
      Stitchwell/Busy Bee/Famous/Juvenile/Wee/ Willamette Junior/ Little Lady/Lavelle/Duquesne/ Little Hustler/Ruth - Toy
      Eldredgette 1939 - 1940+ - Toy
      The American Girl 1933 - 1946 Toy available in red/black/green/cream/blue AKA Young's (Green)
      Production: 1200 machines per day 1908/1917
      150,000 p.a. 1923

      *snip*

      http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/american%20sewing%20machine%20manufacturers.htm

      It doesn't specifically mention the VB-TT machines, but it does mention Model Nos. 3 and 5. I wonder if those could be the VB-TT Type 3 and VB-TT Type 5. It gives a date of 1894 for them.

      It also mentions The Eldredge (Vindex B) with a date of 1904-1908, but needlebar dot org doesn't show any of the Eldredge machines with a top leaf tension assembly.

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