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.

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