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Thread: My New 1878 Davis Low Arm

  1. #1
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    My New 1878 Davis Low Arm

    Hi All,

    Thought I'd share some pictures of my "new" Davis Low Arm Vertical Feed that I found on CL not far from her birthplace in Watertown, NY. The serial number is 99739, which dates her to 1878. The retail price back then was $70. I still need to do some cosmetic rust removal but she runs and sews nicely. The owner remembers as a young girl her Great Grandmom sewing on it though the last person to use it didn't fare well as the machine had a 15x1 in the needle clamp which is too short. Unfortunatly, the drawers were empty with no interesting junk to look through, one of my favorite parts of a sewing machine purchace. I love the "styling" of the machine and cabinet from this era. Now to find some additional bobbins.

    Jon
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  2. #2
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    I like the elegant curves of the base. The machine has very simple lines in comparison. I have a wilcox and gibbs- again very ornate base but a disproportionately small machine. It's fun sorting through the drawers of machine finds, but watch out for the razor blades.

  3. #3
    Super Member audsgirl's Avatar
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    Even if it didn't sew, it would be wonderful to just look at it. Nice buy!

  4. #4
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I love this machine! The tensioner is almost identical to an early Howe.

    Very Nice. Well done!

  5. #5
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Beautiful!

  6. #6
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    That is a neat machine!

  7. #7
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Nice find!! I love her irons
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  8. #8
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    Very nice! It is so interesting to me what these machines sold for originally in that era. It surely was a prized possession back then.

  9. #9
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    Very pretty and for some reason I find it soothing to look at. Maybe the nice flowing curves of the base?

  10. #10
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    Wow! She's a beauty. I would love to get one of her sisters.

  11. #11
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Jon,

    That's a sturdy looking old work horse isn't it. What needle does it use?

    And, $70.00 1878 dollars calculates out to $2,435.51 2013 dollars. It was probably harder to pay for then than it would be now.

    Joe

  12. #12
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    Hi All,

    Thought I'd share some pictures of my "new" Davis Low Arm Vertical Feed that I found on CL not far from her birthplace in Watertown, NY. The serial number is 99739, which dates her to 1878. The retail price back then was $70. I still need to do some cosmetic rust removal but she runs and sews nicely. The owner remembers as a young girl her Great Grandmom sewing on it though the last person to use it didn't fare well as the machine had a 15x1 in the needle clamp which is too short. Unfortunatly, the drawers were empty with no interesting junk to look through, one of my favorite parts of a sewing machine purchace. I love the "styling" of the machine and cabinet from this era. Now to find some additional bobbins.

    Jon
    Wow Jon, that is really great find! The machine is in amazingly good shape for being 135 years old! Even the cabinet and treadle still look great! Very cool looking machine!

    Nancy

  13. #13
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Jon,

    That's a sturdy looking old work horse isn't it. What needle does it use?

    And, $70.00 1878 dollars calculates out to $2,435.51 2013 dollars. It was probably harder to pay for then than it would be now.

    Joe
    Hi Joe-
    I think people literally took a mortgage out on there sewing machine back then. I have a Bill of Sale from Davis to a General Store in VA for the same model / cabinet style as mine for $26. Hefty markup though most likely the retailer settled for less than the $70 list price.
    I'm using Boye 20 needles in the Davis. I'll use MTx190's when these run out.

    Jon
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    How wonderful! I would love to find a vertical feed!

    And that bill of sale is gorgeous, too - $1.25 for a ruffler and 20 for a hemmer or binder. Can't make out that top item right under the machines. What a nice bit of history to go with your machine.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Whigrose's Avatar
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    Hi jon,
    Aren't these machines so beautiful in all their simplicity?

    Found this post today doing a search for the full manual for the Davis LA VF machine. Did you have any luck finding bobbins for her? Would you mind sharing your source, if you have? I have the same machine.

    Thanks,
    d

    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    ...Now to find some additional bobbins.

    Jon
    My best is the least I can do.

  16. #16
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    I'd try contacting Wolfegangs Collectible's on ebay. The Davis VF Yahoo group has the operating instructions. Bobbins can be easily made on a metal lathe if you have no luck with originals.

    Jon

  17. #17
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    Elegant machine and be treadle base is ...well...Beautiful

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