I am not a collector.
The fact that I own 6 electric sewing machines, 4 treadle machines, one hand-cranked and 3 sergers does not mean I am a collector.
The other day I met with the glass-industry study group (don't ask - or, take a look at the glass portion of my other blog) we came to discuss collecting. They declared themselves to be collectors (of glass, mostly), and offered me a definition: a collector has no interest in if the thing (maybe I should say artefact) "works" - if only it looks "good".
And more: a true collector would never use the thing (artefact) - if s/he has paid good money for a (say) glass vase designed by (say) Gate, s/he would perhaps put it on a shelf somewhere, but would never even dream of using it to put flowers in. (Knowing some of the self-proclaimed collectors a bit better, I would suspect
the artefact would be placed in a box somewhere, the new owner hoping it could one day be sold - an investment, in fact.)
The idea of restoring an artefact is unthinkable, I was told.
So - I am not a collector.
Well - maybe this one is more for looks than for (even potential) use:
He is, as you can see, called Shakespear and was born in Birmingham. The manual that came with him is dated 1865 - but, according to this site that can't be true. I bought him for his looks - but: he sews! He is a chain-stitch machine, and it is awkward to have to dedicate one hand to the cranking.
My mother gave me my first sewing machine when she got a newer Adler. This is a Singer, and she got it from her mother as a treadle machine. Mother invested in an upgrade, and he has been motorized in all my life. He still sews beautifully, and I use him for "important" edgestitching. Unfortunately, the treadle is unconfortable if used for any length of time. At the moment, he sits on a shelf.
Later, I bought a Husqvarna (in 1972, if memory serves). She served me faithfully until last year - and I will probably have her repaired. (Why? because I'm an idiot - and found a new Elna for approx the same price as the repair would have cost. I suppose it works - but there are no feet for it. AND the "standard" feet that I have been able to mount on ALL the other machines don't fit. Sigh.)
When I started to sew professionally, I bought Princess Pfaff, but I also needed other machines - topstitching in grey, green and yellow took way to long if I had to re-thread for each gown. I had the Singer and the Husqvarna, but I also retrieved the old Adler...
In the meantime, as I had space, I found an old treadle machine - a Husqvarna Triumf - a machine with a shuttle (instead of a bobbin). After some, er, fiddling, he sews. The shuttle looks almost exactly as does a fly-shuttle for weaving - the problem was to figure out how to load the bobbin.
I know the Triumf was maufactured in 1889, but haven't found out for how long.
I especially like the plate with the recommendations of which thread to use with which needle!
Then came the Sackmann's Victoria - I couldn't resist her, with all the mother-of-pearl inlays!
She also has a shuttle, but it operates sideways. Her needle/thread recommendation plate photographed better, as it is flat. (And I wish there was a better choice of sewing threads nowadays!)
She also has another detail - a small grindstone to sharpen the needles! (It took a long time of gentle oiling to make it turn - but now it does.)
Some 'net-search results indicate that this was manufactured by Singer - but the picture on this site shows an inlay much like my Victoria's - and says she comes from Germany.
For some time I also had a Singer 29K70, like this, bought from the estate of a shoemaker. The most interesting feature of that is that the whole needle bar (or maybe just the foot) could be rotated - you could sew "forwards" and have the piece going "backwards". In my house, it was only used once - we repaired a sail with it. And one day, I had a customer who "gave me an offer I couldn't refuse", so it is now gone. Hopefully to a good home.
Anyway. As I am no collector, I can disregard everything, and just enjoy all my sewing machines - even USE them!
- There are other things I also don't collect - like encyclopedias. For readers of Swedish, the pages Kuriosa on my website have some thoughts on the use of encyclopedias through time...