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Thread: Has the world changed so much in the last 30 years, or is it me?

  1. #1
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Has the world changed so much in the last 30 years, or is it me?

    I was hunting for some of my widgets that got knocked on the floor this morning and had to lay down on the floor and use a ruler to slide them out from under a shelf. No small feat for a fat man with a fuzzy cat walking all over him.
    As I was on the floor I noticed an ID placard on the bottom of the sewing machine cabinet my wife has been using. It was a Sears-Roebuck and Co cabinet with the date code of March 2, 1983. It came from my cousin with the Bernina which was made in 86 I believe.

    Anyway this cabinet has a platform with multiple holes in it to fasten down a variety of machines. And the platform drops vertically so you can have a level work place for your portable or raised surface for a free arm machine.

    The last time we were in Sears, they had almost nothing as far as sewing. Only a few machines and those were plastic junque.
    No furniture, no notions, no supplies, no ... nothing. It was sad really.

    A number of the cabinets and machines we have are Sears products. Generally good quality and worth the effort to keep in good order. A far cry from the stuff I've seen at the LSMG shop, cheaply made plastic and particle board stuff at outrageous prices.

    When I compared the table and machines from the 80s on back to what is out there now, I wished I was living in 1912 rather than 2012.

    I guess I truly am an anachronism. Elaine said: "We".

    Joe

  2. #2
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    Our Sears just closed. I can't imagine appliance shopping without them! My fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, and previous sewing machine all came from there.

  3. #3
    Senior Member PABerard's Avatar
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    Life has not been as easy ever since Sears discontinued their catalogs

  4. #4
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    It's funny what you can see when lying on the floor. I often find things that had been lost for a long time, especially in my sewing room.

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    Won't find me on the floor unless I fall! 3 knee replacements (twice on the right) last year and still having trouble. I agree- too much plastic and particle board in sewing machines and cabinets! I cringe when I think how much of the Earth's resources go toward making dollar store crap. Modern machines can do things like embroidery the older ones can't, but are so fragile and fussy. The older cabinets have lovely carvings and are made of wood and iron. They can last a very long time when not dumped into a wet barn or basement. Sleek plastic leaves me cold. Remember buying fabrics in Macy's, Montgomery Wards, and Sears? My local Sears did away with sewing machines years ago. I have friends who brag about their $4000 sewing machines, but I can think of far better ways to spend such a sum! Think of the old machines that could be acquired and restored for that amount.

  6. #6
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    If I layed on my sewing floor, they wouldn't be able to recognize me. LOL

  7. #7
    Super Member Kooklabell's Avatar
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    I can't help smiling, 1983 as a year for well built anything! I can remember thinking that the 1983 stuff was junk. My mom had her first furniture when they retired and went "on the road". It was a beautiful maple sets - still in use at my cousins home. I have the desk and my sister has my father's chest of draws.

    My daughter throws her furniture away every 2-3 years. That goes for her kitchen appliances as well. Forget the linens, curtains and such, that goes every year. I suppose everything is made for our disposable society. I'm waiting for her to decide I'm to dusty and throw me into the dumpster as well LOL - I don't feel like I'm made as well as the elder women of my family. It seemed to me they didn't take as much medicine and were much more strong and healthy.

    So, I'm with you - nothing is made the way it once was. But I certainly don't want to go back to 1912 - no computer - no quilting board to read
    Kookie (Patti)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    Sears sold some very good machines under the Kenmore name, although they were always badged by the actual manufacturer. I heard that this has endedand there are no more "Kenmore" machines. My Daddy was a Sears mand and mo Mother got a Kenmore in the 70s when her Singer 401 wouldn't sew knits, then I got one for my HS graduation gift. It was my only machine for 25 years and it served me well (still does).

    My main SM cabinet is a "Parsons" brand cabinet made in the 80's, that I found on craigslist. It is solid wood. It came with a spring-loaded lift to raise the machine vertically similar to your Kenmore cabinet, Joe. This cabinet was also made with an electric lift, which my friend has one with. My hubby traded out the spring-loaded lift for an air lift mechanism from Rockler, and I got an insert from Dream World to fit around my Bernina machine. In total I have about $225 in the whole thing. Much less than the $$$ they want for the newer particle board cabinets like Koala, Horn, ect. I hate the particle board junk!

  9. #9
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Sear, Montgomery Ward, JC Penny's they had so much then but not now!!!!!!!

  10. #10
    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    Koala , Horn, might as well be IKEA

    there is a cabinet maker that has a display at "Road to California" each January- cannot find the brochure or his business csrd right now but when I go to "Road" this year I will be sure to get the internet info.

  11. #11
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    I heard on the news this past week that Sears is struggling and may go out of business. My first machine was a Kenmore and I loved it. It is long gone now but I used it to death making clothes for my little ones and my hubby and anyone else that I could. And we still go to Sears for tools. My DH loves Sears tools. If a screwdriver breaks or gets messed up, he just takes it back to Sears and they replace it for free. You can't beat that. This new generation likes to replace everything on a whim and I guess that's what fuels the economy but I can't throw away money like that. I guess it's why I buy more of the vintage machines, furniture, etc.... that stuff lasts!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    I worked at Sears in 1969 - 1970, at that time they sold material, lots of it, lots of sewing machines, and I bought my first sewing machine there. Got rid of it when I bought my Elna in the mid 90's. What a mistake that was. they don't make machines like that anymore. It was heavy, made of metal and sewed anything. Boy, wish I still had that machine. If I ever find one again, it's coming home with me!!!

  13. #13
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I had to smile as I pictured you on the floor, cat crawling on you and suddenly becoming distracted by how the sewing machine table was constructed! You are just like my hubby. I can look at something and just see it is held together by screws, but hubby points out details such as the angle of the screws, the type of washer used, the way the wood was cut, etc. etc. etc. People with mechanical minds like you and my hubby just blow me away with the details you are able to see! But you guys are mighty handy when it comes to getting the old machines up and running!
    I agree that quality seems to have disappeared over the past 30 years. Sad - we should be making the best products in the world!
    My first sewing machine was a Kenmore, purchased at Sears. I stupidly gave it away when I bought my first "modern" machine. Wish I had it back. We even owned a Sears house for a while. It was an arts and craft bungalow built in 1921. I can't remember the Sears house # of the plan - Sears used to have a catalog where you could pick out your house plan and order the lumber, etc. needed to build it! Wish I had that house back, too!
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

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    Super Member sniktasemaj's Avatar
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    I remember the days in the a950's when Penny's had a whole basement dedicated to fabrics, mostly all cottons. Try to find a fabric at a Penny's now.

  15. #15
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Oh, my. . . I don't think kids of yesteryear could have lived without Sears! That's where our clothes came from. Remember "ToughSkin" jeans for boys?? All of our appliances came from Sears and were Kenmores. Back in the 80's when the microwaves were becoming popular, my dad took me and my brother to Sears with him to buy one. (My mother passed away in the early 80's and dad really thought the microwave would be beneficial in cooking!) My dad picked out a middle of the line Kenmore microwave, and it was over $400! and put it on his Sears card and we hauled it home. It was HUGE!!! You could put a 9 X 13 casserole dish in it. That microwave lasted 22 years!!! Now they have a life span of 1-2 years.

    I learned to sew on a Sears Kenmore sewing machine. Earlier this year, I found the exact same model in a table at Goodwill and paid $10 for it. When I sew on it, it takes me back to a different time, when life was so much simplier.
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheQuiltedPig

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    I am really getting nostalgic reading all the above threads.....I too remember many of those things.......but they are gone forever....we live in a throw away world now all made of plastic-isn't that a byproduct of petroleum, hmmmm. There are no artisans who could work with wood to do those beautiful carvings....and the saddest thing is no one really misses it or it would all come back..........we just keep buying things made in China.........

  17. #17
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Geri,

    These old machines are not gone for ever, they are still here. You just gotta look for 'em.

    Here is a very nice Kenmore up for grabs:
    { http://www.shopgoodwill.com/viewItem...temID=12134073 }

    Goodwill online auctions sewing machine search URL: { http://www.shopgoodwill.com/search/s...umbs=on&page=1 }

    And Miriam has some Kenmores too

    Joe

  18. #18
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Amusing mental picture here of you down on the floor with your quilt inspectors hovering around and on you. All I find under my cabinets is billows of accumulated dog and cat hair that has wafted down and under. And I vacuum every day. Somewhere in this house is another dog and cat that is invisible cause they have lost all of their hair. I can still see the current residents of the couch and chair and they still have full hair coats.

    The 80s are gone forever along with quality. Perhaps that is why we all love our vintage sewing machines and cabinets, they were built to outlast us. Now things have a current life of, at the most, five years. I am currently working on an 1893 Singer treadle cabinet in which to put my 306. It has lasted 120 years. If it had been made of that particle board stuff it would not be here.
    Sweet Caroline

  19. #19
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I remember as a child our Sears catalog was so worn and torn from use by the time we got our new one. Just about everything came from catalogs when you lived in the country. As a child I lived for the Christmas catalog to get there and would spend hours dreaming over it. For me those were a good time. Yes, the world has changed and the life of the junk they sell today is short.

  20. #20
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Reading all the above, and agree with most of the comments....but am also thankful for many of the things that we have in our world today. Just look at the member above who was able to have 3 knee replacements in one year.

  21. #21
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    I have enjoyed reading all the post as I too miss the quality that "used to be" but got a giggle from the image of Joe on the floor with the cats crawling on him-------I remember how proud my mom was to get her Kenmore zz in the late fifties after sewing on a Minnesota treadle for many years.......she sewed so many quilts, clothes, prom dresses and endless repairs.....And now our Sears is closed......sad.

  22. #22
    Junior Member makitmama's Avatar
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    I think it is all a mindset- we live in a throw away society, and there is no reward for making something that is long-lasting. Except for craftsters and artists, that is- I am speaking of manufacturing, here.
    Look at what I just bought off etsy to make purses from. It is a feed sack from a french mill, circa 1930. When the farmer returned it, he got the 5f deposit back. It is machine darned all over! the mill owner had someone who had to maintain the bags on return. Just the concepts involved it that are daunting. Also, I just bought a junk treadle from a junk yard- really old irons, and the drawers hadn't been emptied! there were two well worn hand darning eggs, and one of those weird singer sock darner thingees.
    I am going to stop, or I could go on forever. This is a common mental lament for me. Hand-work isn't appreciated, and pride in your product is useless because it will just get thrown away.
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    I'm a Queen.... at least my pantyhose say I am!


    (proud caretaker of a magenta 221, purple 222, assorted 66's, a 301, a pink Atlas and Monarch, and Granny's 201-2.

  23. #23
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    For some things modern technology has been a Godsend. But for others, such as sewing machines, fans, toasters, coffee pots, and things that used to be made from metal, Bakelite, wood, and mechanical parts modern technology has made them far worse. They are no longer durable.
    The current computerized plastic and pot metal sewing machines might do wondrous things when new, but they just will not last.
    In that light they are a waste of money.

    JMHO

    Joe

  24. #24
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    makitmama,

    That is true recycling. Like the old soda bottles with the deposits. Use them over and over. Not any more, just toss 'em in the bin and recycle them. A waste of products and energy.

    I still want to go back in time a 100 years. There is nothing here I couldn't live without.

    Joe

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    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    I really got a good laugh out of mentally seeing you flat on the floor with kittycat walking all over you.....and the picture came to mind if that were me, I would have to push my little "emergency button that says I've fallen and can't get up"......absolutely LOL here. Jo Ann
    Make every day count for something!

    JoAnn

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