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White Treadle Machine

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Sewing1135 of 1635another singer sewing machineKöhler sewing machine
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Posted 5 years ago


(1 item)

I found this lovely lady on Craigslist - they were asking $50, but when I asked if it was still available - she said she'd take $40 for it - they just wanted it out of their house. It came with 4 bobbins, and a couple of extra feet, as well as the original key. She has a few minor water rings on the top, a chip missing out of the front pannel and a small sliver out of one of the handles. A few small pock marks and dings otherwise.

I'd love to know more about it, the only number I can find on it is on the front of the machine near the bobbin winder - it's 81589

The last patent date was 1900 and there was a news article in the drawer that makes me think it was purchased sometime around 1907 near Buffalo NY

I can't wait to get her cleaned up, a new belt and make her hum!

Mystery Solved


  1. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    More pictures at
  2. Hedgewalker Hedgewalker, 5 years ago
    This is a true beauty and a great price.Congrats !
  3. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    What a great old machine! Thanks for posting it. They didn't keep near the meticulous records that Singer did, but this site might help you. There is a LOT of information and links there about machines like yours.
    If the number you have is the serial number, it's possible it's earlier than you thought! Either way, it's a lovely machine and I'm sure you'll put it to good use. :-)
  4. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    Wow! thank you so much! that site said that answered a lot of questions! looks like it's definitely pre-1906. Thanks again chinablue!

    And thanks Hedgewalker! I am abosolutely thrilled with both the machine and the price LOL
  5. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    These old machines are so ornate, thanks for sharing & welcome to CW.
  6. EJW-54 EJW-54, 5 years ago
    Hi BuffaloNickels, I just got home, was gone all day so I just read all your comments, I will check my machine for #'s to see if it matches my warranty. Our finish was darker than yours and cracked and rough, I used a minwax refinisher stripper and minwax semi gloss poly. The refinisher left some of the dark color.
  7. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    Hi Buffalo Nickels, I noticed on EJW-54's post that you mentioned refinishing your cabinet. Unless someone else has tampered with it your cabinet it should have a shellac finish & they can be restored without to much effort. It doesn't require removing the old finish & damaging the patina. If it has water damage that could be a different matter.
  8. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    Thank you EJW-54 for the advice on restoration. According to what chinablue linked me to, my machine is proabably a little earlier than yours (which is why I was confused by the serial numbers - mine only has 5 numbers - yours has 6 and most older ones have FR in the serial number)

    Walksoftly - the water rings are very very subtle - two of them show up as a foggy circle, and the others are only visable if the light hits it at the right angle. It hasn't damaged the actual wood in anyway. I don't think this machine has been touched since the mid 50s, so I doubt that the finish has been changed from the original.

    Thank you all so much for the welcomes and Loves!
  9. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    Check out this site; (one of many)
    There are probably youtube videos as well.
  10. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    Thank you Walksoftly! I bookmarked it.
  11. Bernadette Bernadette, 5 years ago
    Lovely :)
  12. EJW-54 EJW-54, 5 years ago
    Good advice from walksoftly, I wasn't adviseing you on what to do, just what I had to do. My finish was in such bad shape with almost no shellac left on the top and wood veneer damage I had to strip it. good luck with yours.
  13. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    You are correct EJW, sometimes the finish needs a complete overhaul, I had to do that with an old settee that good intentioned family members had put multiple coats of varnish on over the years.
    From the way BuffaloNickels describes it, it sounds like it it could be touched up.
  14. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    On some of these pieces, especially with veneer involved, less is often more. I haven't done but a couple of Singer cabinets, but have done a LOT of furniture over the years helping my father in his restoration business. The man was an artist and always tried to preserve the character of pieces rather than make them look new. I'm sure it will be lovely whatever you choose to do 'cause it already is!
  15. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    I can't thank you all enough for all of the advice. I think in this case, less is definitely more. I can't believe how clean the inside of the machine was. I spent last night taking it all apart and cleaning dust/ lint out from the machine and oiling her. A little restoration on the top where those water marks are, a little metal polish on the silver parts, cleaning and polishing the iron.. and I think that's all she'll really need. I love the character of her. Every time I see little dings or something, I wonder who was the lady sitting at this machine at the turn of the last century, sewing dresses or curtains or something.....
  16. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    Wow, what a story! Thank you for sharing! <3 I have four children, so hopefully I'll have a passel of grandaughters fighting over who gets it next LOL.
  17. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    Between chinablue's help and some help on another board, this is a "White Rotary" dated sometime between Sept 1903 and Feb 1906, probably closer to '03-'04 And I guess it's rare to find the little wooden handle to the left of the slide plate.
  18. chinablue chinablue, 5 years ago
    I just read sewingfool's comment and I am speechless! THIS is why we collect things and pass them on. It's the stories and memories that make these things valuable to us, no matter what their monetary worth. I am SO happy for you, sewingfool! What a delightful story. Thanks for sharing it with us! :-)

    BuffaloNickels, I'm glad you were able to get the information you needed about your machine. Now find a belt and get that machine humming! :-)
  19. Bernadette Bernadette, 5 years ago
    You did really well to get this lovely machine for that price! I think we are all envious :) The 'wooden handle' is part of your bobbin access cover - first time I've seen one of those too :) The later White Rotary has an all metal cover, if you search for other pics you will see the one I mean - someone referred to it as the 'T-shirt' cover.
    The timber looks like it only needs a polish up, use a nice antiques-quality furniture polish :)
    Just use plain sewing machine oil on the metal legs, with a rag or a stiff bristle brush, and rub off the excess.
    Be careful of the machine itself, don't use any chemicals on it.
    I often use a jewellery cleaning plate (piece of metal plate that you add to boiling water and calcium carbonate or washing soda) to clean the removable parts of bright metal. Don't put painted parts in this!! Polish sold for stainless steel appliances is good but residue can be hard to remove from engraving or grooves.
    Belts are fairly easy to get, compare prices on eBay and your local sewing machine shop. Depending on postage eBay will probably be cheaper.
    @sewingfool, what an amazing story!!
  20. BuffaloNickels BuffaloNickels, 5 years ago
    I ordered two new belts within half an hour of getting her home LOL The anticipation is killing me!

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