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17 April 2011

Ye Olde Sewing Machine

Do I know how to sew?  No.  I mean, I made a pillow once in Home Ec. ages and ages ago.  But!  We are now proud owners of a sewing machine.  I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my grandmother was kind enough to send us this old rotary thing:

It belonged to my great-grandmother, Nana. She bought it in 1933 or '34 and it was the first electric sewing machine around. Keep in mind that this was the middle of the Great Depression, so this was a BIG purchase. Nana paid it off by sewing up burlap sacks for the two local cotton gins.

This sewing machine has seen a lot of use... as both a sewing machine and as a side table. You can see here that it doesn't look like much when it's all put away:

If it weren't for the hinges and the cord coming out the bottom, you'd never suspect it was anything more than an old beat-up side table.

And this thing is heavy as all get-out. I don't know if we could even get it up the stairs without some serious struggle. Is it cast iron? I think so. It sure feels like it.

It takes two hands just to get the darn thing up out of its little hideaway spot.

I've done a bit of sleuthing, trying to figure out where it might have come from and whether or not it might still be operational. Reliable information has, thus far, been scarce. A brief mention of an "Elgin Sewing Machine and Bicycle Company" is made here in a history of the manufacturing town of Elgin, Illinois. According to this site, the company was later bought out by Sears, Roebuck, and Co. (or at least the "Bicycle" part of the company was... no mention is made of what became of the "Sewing Machine" part of the company). I would not be surprised if Sears continued manufacturing the machines under the Elgin name and Nana ordered this particular machine through the Sears catalog.

I have no idea if it's still operational. I'll have to take it in to a specialty repair shop to have it looked at.

Know anything about old Elgins? Leave a comment and let me know! I'm so curious!


Kerri said...

Did you ever find out if this machine is in working order?

looloolooweez said...

Not yet! I cleaned it up and plugged it in but the wiring may be faulty because it didn't function. I need to find a repair person to take a closer look at it. Do you know anything about older machines like this?

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