Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vintage Singer treadle sewing machine

I have something to show you.

It's my new (but very old) toy!

Can you see what it is? Let's remove the cover...

Isn't she beautiful? She's a vintage Singer treadle sewing machine with lovely Sphinx decals. I think I'm gonna call her Cleo...


The belt is still in place, although it's seen better days and probably needs replacing...

The bobbin winding mechanism

The revolutionary 'vibrating shuttle' (fnarr fnarr) bobbin.. The metal plate that slides over the top is stamped as patented in 1886. Not sure if that means the bobbin shuttle mechanism or this particular version of it...

There is a plate with a model number which pins the year of manufacture down to 1900-01 so Cleo is well over 100 years old!

The cabinet is not in brilliant condition - it's badly in need of some tlc. Some of the veneer is flaking off, bits of the ornate turned pillars on the outside of the drawers are coming away and a only three of the six drawers have complete handles.

See that hole? It's a lock - two of the drawers are lockable as is the sewing machine cover.
And I have the key!

what a pretty piece of metal work.

The contents of one of the drawers (the rest were empty, sadly).

The base is cast iron and, apart from needing a good clean, is in excellent condition. This is the drive belt housing...

...and the all important treadle plate itself!

And just in case you were wondering who the manufacturer was...

and again...

Sorry, Cleo, who made you?

They certainly weren't afraid of adding a bit of branding back then were they?! ;-) 

I am so pleased with this - did I mention I was *given* it? For free? It would have been dumped otherwise and, well, Cleo might be a bit shabby round the edges but these machines were built to last and the mechanism seems to be ok. All she needs is a bit of pampering. A good old fashioned bit of spit and polish....

Then I shall need to utilise some modern technology (YouTube) and work out how to thread her up!


  1. *Sniff* My mother used to have one of these but she took it down the tip when we moved from Llanelli. You're so lucky! I remember how fascinated we were with it growing up and how we used to spend ages looking at the drawers and mechanisms. Roo is going to love playing with it as much as you!

  2. Cleo is boootiful - have already met her and she is a very fine lady indeed. I'm sure you two will spend many a happy hour together x Alys

  3. She's lovely! I have one with the same decals, but in a bentwood case. It had a (broken) potted motor on the back but I'm looking for a handcrank because I find them easier for curves and corners.

    You might be able to download a copy of the original manual, also take a peep at the Treedleon group. Have fun!

    1. That's the main reason I wanted one - all the stuff I make is so small sometimes the modern sewing machine is just too fast! I had a hand cranked Jones machine as a teen and used it all the time. Good luck getting yours sorted!

  4. my great grandmother gave me hers when i was 10 years old. i have saved in until now. and have taken it out of the closet. mine was made in 1874 i love looking at it. now i want to use it. i am 62 now.


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