Go Back  Quiltingboard Forums > Main > For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts
Help with identifying, please?? >

Help with identifying, please??

Help with identifying, please??

Old 06-05-2019, 01:06 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 12
Default Help with identifying, please??

Hi - greetings from sunny northern Arizona, my first post and I'm already begging for info!

My sister and brother-in-law purchased this great old Singer treadle at an antique store in England, in the late 1970's when they were stationed at Lakenheath AFB. The proprietor of the shop told them the machine was about 100 years old. I bought it from them about 35 years ago, and it has been a cute little dust collector for me - until recently.

I got it hooked up with a new belt, and named her Tillie. She sews better than I do, I had never tried a treadle before, it's kind of like learning to drive - a stick shift!

Hopefully the photos come in clearly, as far as I can tell (even tried doing a pencil rubbing), the serial number is 5624460. I've tried looking numerous times, and can't tell - is she a Model 12?

Thank you so much in advance for allowing me to take advantage of your vast knowledge. I have learned more than you would believe from lurking on here!


Loving Caretaker to:
(Ten Ton) Tillie;
Lucille (Ball) 401A;
Betty (my sweet mother) Featherweight 221;
Ollie Belle (long story..) 201-2
Baby (my sister's) SewHandy No. 20-1
Attached Thumbnails s0opgigisyijb6ciqqp-da.jpg   fullsizeoutput_11dc.jpeg   rgczewofrpodqaa4ty5urw.jpg  
JoneB is offline  
Old 06-05-2019, 01:28 PM
Super Member
leonf's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: near Topeka kansas
Posts: 4,500

Looks too big for a 12. I am leaning towards an early Improved Family. but I have known to be wrong.

Welcome aboard.
leonf is offline  
Old 06-05-2019, 01:47 PM
Super Member
osewme's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,363

Welcome from Texas. If in fact the serial # of your machine is 5624460 it appears as though it was made in 1883. Machines prior to 1900 did not have prefix letters in front of the serial number. Here's a site that might help you.

osewme is offline  
Old 06-05-2019, 02:53 PM
Super Member
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 2,537

I think Leon is right. I certainly don't know, but this site seems to have one similar and it's called an Improved family and has the Singer 15 look to it.


bkay is offline  
Old 06-05-2019, 03:51 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 12

Thank you all for your input. I found one photo awhile back (on Pinterest, I believe) that indicated it was an Early Improved Family but it is the only one I’ve seen that was so close. I am real glad that Leon verified that for me. It’s neat in a way to have one so old, but at the same time there isn’t much info on it. It is simply built, and heavy as a battleship - I am really thankful, as the bobbins, bobbin case, everything but a small thread guide were intact. The glaring red new belt leaves room for improvement, I admit, lol.

I’ve lurked on here for just over a year now - and felt if I’d get good info, it would be here. I love this board! Thanks for the help and the welcomes... ��
JoneB is offline  
Old 06-05-2019, 05:06 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 787

Here's a link to another mystery machine that looks similar to yours. It was set up for leather work.http://mysewingmachineobsession.blog...-improved.html
Nice collection of Singer models!
pennycandy is offline  
Old 06-06-2019, 12:06 PM
Super Member
OurWorkbench's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 3,614

Originally Posted by JoneB View Post
I got it hooked up with a new belt, and named her Tillie. She sews better than I do, I had never tried a treadle before, it's kind of like learning to drive - a stick shift!
Welcome, it look like you have a nice collection.

Actually, driving a stick shift was easier for me (not particularly at the time) as I learned stick shift within about a year of getting my license. I tried my grandmother's treadle and said, no, thank you. My sister learned how to sew on a treadle and kept telling me what joy it brought her, I finally got one and just played a bit with it, until I realized how fun it really was.

Just a thought, I'm thinking you may have an "Improved Manufacturing" machine. I'm basing that on the belt being on the outside of the hand wheel, rather than between the hand wheel and the machine. Most of the IF machines that I have seen pictures of have the belt travel between the hand wheel and the machine.

Both the 15 and 16 class machines have the tension on the 'nose.'

Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
OurWorkbench is offline  
Old 06-06-2019, 12:35 PM
Super Member
Macybaby's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 7,911

That is a nice Improved Family. Model 12 is not a high arm machine, so it's easy to tell them apart.

I have two, and they both take a different bobbin than the class 15, it's just a bit narrower.

this is one of mine, slightly later version

and an earlier model that has a different way to adjust the foot presser, and the bobbin winder was on the belt guard instead of the machine. I'd like to see a picture of how your bobbin winder is mounted as yours is the first I've seen like this with a bobbin winder not on the belt guard. I'd love to get a bobbin winder for mine that mounts to the machine.

it's also neat to see that your belt rides on the outside of the flywheel and not the inside, so it may be an industrial version. Singer made a lot of variations of this machine for industrial use.

Last edited by Macybaby; 06-06-2019 at 12:42 PM.
Macybaby is offline  
Old 06-06-2019, 01:33 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 12

Hi, Janey - thanks for your thoughts on this great-grandmother Tillie of mine! I learned to drive on a stick shift, around 1968 or thereabouts. My poor "instructors" came close to whiplash more than once, I'm afraid!

I've wondered about it being used for some type of manufacturing, you can tell it has seen a lot of use (I think) by all the chipping and wear on the decals. Not sure if that qualifies as more use, but... Also interesting is your (and Cathy's) interest in the belt outside of the hand wheel. I'm loving any and all feedback, because I've so often wondered what kind of life it's had before me!

JoneB is offline  
Old 06-06-2019, 01:42 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 12


Thanks, Cathy - here are some closer photos of the bobbin winder. I replaced the tire recently, and it works extremely well (well, as long as I keep the wheel moving forward...). I did another closer of the SN, and can you all tell if the first number is a 3 - or a 5? I wonder why it would be so chipped, unless someone tried to chop out the plate. Lots of curiosities, which is why this is such a fun pursuit.

I really appreciate all the comments, I honestly did try to read through as much of the previous threads as I could before posting my inquiry so's not to duplicate questions. You all are amazing!
Attached Thumbnails fullsizeoutput_11e1.jpeg   fullsizeoutput_11e4.jpeg   fullsizeoutput_11e3.jpeg  
JoneB is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
02-18-2013 07:49 AM
05-09-2012 09:26 AM
For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts
05-05-2012 05:56 PM
03-16-2011 05:23 PM
10-07-2010 09:36 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

FREE Quilting Newsletter