Learning About An Antique Singer Sewing Machine

I write about the resources I used to learn about my new-to-me Singer.


I love old treadle sewing machines, and I’ve romanticized them since a relatively young age. I’ve been vaguely looking for an antique sewing machine for over a year, and I was picky about it. Once you start looking for them you find them cropping up everywhere, and I allowed myself to be as selective as I wanted.

I didn’t want to pay too much (nor could I). I preferred a pure treadle, not one with power. I wanted to be able to learn on it and maybe even fix it up if necessary, and I really preferred if it was a Singer.

Yesterday we noticed an Estate Sale that was in a temporary space. You know, one of those spaces that often becomes a Spirit Halloween?

We went in and I felt my usual pull towards linens and other cloth when I saw it.

Here she is, all moved in. Excuse my crafting corner (My spinning wheel, Bonesy, is happy for new company). Image Source: Author

I had been looking at these things long enough to know:

It was a Model 15 Singer

It was in what looked like pretty damn good shape.

At $65 telling myself no was going to be hard.

Of course I bought that Singer.

Singer Sewing Machine. Image Source: Author.

Sewing machines were the first complex mass-manufactured machine. Isaac Merrit Singer’s ability to market his sewing machine is what cemented its role in part of sewing history.

He’s not the inventor of the sewing machine, or even the inventor of the domestic sewing machine. It’s far more hairy than that.

Like every sewing machine inventor around him at the time, Singer would either have to license or steal the design of the lock-stitch (an invention by Elias Howe) to make his machine happen. The lock-stitch was due to Howe’s innovation of placing the eye of the needle at its point.

Lock Stitch Animation. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons



Jamie Toth, The Somewhat Cyclops

I write about independent movies, tarot, consumer safety, and more. Contact me: somewhatcyclops@gmail.com