Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Sewing machines

I bought a small treadle cabinet last week. As we have a very small courtesy car while ours is in for repair, Mark and Cheryl brough the cabinet over to us in their much bigger car. The cabinet is walnut veneered and plain but very pretty. We brought the machine head and accessories home with us. The machine is a 201, always desirable. It is missing it's Singer badge, but as I intend keeping it that doesn't matter too much. I Fenmanned the cabinet anbd serviced the machine the day I got it so it is ready to use. The treadle belt is a piece of curtain wire with the hooked ends bent right in, not a bad idea as I usually have lengths of that about.

I am about to buy yet another treadle, offered to me by Jill who we know from the auction. Her friend wants to sell it and Jill knows I collect old machines. We went to look at it several days ago. It is a Wheeler & Wilson no 1, which you sew on sideways. The cabinet has a fold over box top similar to this one, except

there is an extra drawer on the left of the machine in mine. The condition is not good, there is no finish left on the woodwork, the treadle irons are rusty and there is light rust on the metalwork of the machine. On the good side, there is decoration left on the machine, no damage to the woodwork, a few accessories and a mouse chewed manual, plus, a bonus, 4 curved needles which are now unobtainable. So if I get it sorted out I can sew on it. There is also a sharpening stone for the needles. These machines were never French Polished, just waxed, so I need to clean and sand all the woodwork and rewax with a hard wax polish. The belt is not like other treadles with a narrow round strip of leather, this is a wide leather belt and a new one needs to be made from a man's belt cut to length and stitched together. I need also to remove the rust from the treadle irons and refinish either by painting or using black stove enamel.


The New Year is bringing increased activity among our young cockerels. They are starting to fight with the older ones, guess Spring is on it's way. Zinny and Del Boy had a pecking match through the chicken wire which Phil didn't see until he went to put the chickens to bed and found blood on Zinny's comb. We had to bring them indoors and clean them up with Tea Tree and salt water, separately of course. Zinny hated it, but Del has been through it before when he had a fight with Windsor, and bore it stoically. They are both OK today.

Yesterday when I went to say Good Morning to the chickens I noticed Countess the black Cochin was huddled up by the door of their run so I asked Phil to get her out to check up on her as Windsor won't let me into the run. She is painfully thin, I think because Windsor and Duchess tend to drive her away from food. Whenever they are let out she comes running to the greenhouse door and wolfs down any food I give her. I think it has been going on for a while, so we decided to keep her indoors for a week and feed her up. She has been eating steadily, corn, layers' pellets, soaked wholemeal bread, sweetcorn, cat food, greens, soaked oat cakes and maggots. Her crop has been stuffed at bedtime so hopefully she will regain the weight she has lost quite quickly.

I don't think she will be going back with the Cochins as they don't seem to want her in with them. We have to split up the young cockerels soon before they damage each other so it may be a blessing in disguise. We have a spare hutch we bought at the auction which was intended for the Cochins, but will do for Countess and one of the Araucana cockerels. It just needs the front to be altered so there is a side opening door rather than the pull up door it has at the moment. Stan or Ollie can go in with Countess, she is used to a much heavier cockerel so it will be better for her. That leaves the other cockerel on his own so one of the Araucana girls will go in with him. The baby run will be split into 2 again as it was with the Mums and babies with a dividing fence down the middle, Zinny and Charlotte can go one side and Trigger and his hen on the other.

Friday, 6 January 2012

New Year, new sewing machines

Well, the New Year is still very new, but I bought several new sewing machines before Christmas. The parlour cabinet I have already posted about -

The auction before Christmas, there were 2 sewing machines I was interested in. One was an Anker German hand crank which would go on eBay, the other was stunning, even covered in dust. The box it was in can only be described as a rough crate. It was painted a dull green, I was sure this wasn't original, and the words 'machine box were visible on the top under the paint. The machine itself was unusual. The decals which remained were stunning. It was obviously quite old, but it had a rising table which fitted around the free arm of the machine -

I couldn't read the name on the top arm as some of the lettering was missing. I took some photos with my camera and went home to Google it. I found it was a Ward Arm & Platform machine, the first freearm machine ever made. It was made in London by Edward Ward around 1875, a true antique. when we went back to the auction, I bid on it, deciding to stop at £30 and bid up to £13 for the Anker. I got the Anker for £9, so Phil suggested I add on the extra £4 onto the price for the Ward. There were several commission bids on the machine, but I finally got it for £33. I took it home and cleaned it -

I posted about it on the ISMACS Digest and found out with additional research that it was a very sought after machine, a good addition to any collection. Two examples (presumably very good) sold at Christie's auction for over £1200.
The box  is original, although the paint isn't. I haven't found a manual for it yet, but there are pictures of the threaded tension mechanism on Alex Askaroff's website Sewalot. I should be able to thread it up using that and common sense. The shuttle is the dinkiest thing you have ever seen, and it has calibrations on it, as does the tension which is brass. At the moment, I have stripped off all the steel parts and I'm cleaning them up before polishing and putting them back. I have no idea what needles it takes, I will look when I remove that. All in all, it's in amazing condition. The decals are not very well protected, and most of them on the platform have worn off. But I have seen others in collections in far worse condition, with most of the decals worn off.

It now has pride of place in my collection. I also have to strip the yukky green paint off the box. I have started on the drop in front, and you can see very faint stencils under the paint.