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Thread: Sticking my toe in the waters of Vintage Sewing Machines

  1. #1
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    Sticking my toe in the waters of Vintage Sewing Machines

    I thought I would start a thread instead of bouncing around as I've been doing. I'll still bounce around, but if anyone wants to find me, I'll be here.

    I bought....I should say "saved" or "adopted"...my first machine last weekend. A Minnehaha treadle machine, for $5. I'll post a picture asap, but I have posted it in other places here, so I don't want to be redundant. I want to clean it up before I try to sew with it, but I know that it works, all the parts move, the treadle works, etc. The gears for the bobbin winder are a little gummy, so that might be a challenge, but I think with a little cleaning it might be OK.

    I've watched the videos about cleaning, winding bobbins, etc and have enjoyed them and I have been looking at most of the sights suggested here for more information. I don't know what company made my machine...I've had a few suggestions of either a branded Standard or a National, but I've seen a Davis that also looks very similar, so that is a mystery I would like to solve. It looks a lot like the Minnesota that was made by Goodrich and sold by Sears. There are patent dates listed, and the last one is 1904, so...does that mean it was made in or around 1904?

    I have other "new" machines. I have a Kenmore that I use most often. I have a Viking/Husqvarna #1+ that I've tried to like, but I keep going back to the simplicity of my Kenmore. I bought a Singer at the same estate sale, a 1969 Stylist in a cabinet that I thought would be a fun machine for my daughter to use. I also have a Nolting Long-arm machine for quilting.

    Anyway, I thought I could post my progress here so I don't hi-jak anyone else's threads.

    Thanks for all the welcoming words and advice. I really appreciate it!

    Barb

  2. #2
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    Name:  minnehaha2.jpg
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Size:  528.3 KBName:  minnehaha1.jpg
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Size:  783.6 KBI have the missing drawer front, but the rest of the drawer is gone. He was trying to sell them separately

  3. #3
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    Really kool machine!

  4. #4
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Hi Barb...thanks for putting up pics of your machine. I don't think it's a Davis badge. Davis's have the tension pieces in different locations, and the needle plate is almost always square instead of round or oval. I would bet a National, but I could be just shooting in the dark!! LOL

  5. #5
    Super Member Glenda m's Avatar
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    Congrats on the 'toe' in the water. When you get swept up in the flood, give us a yell and we will through you a lift ring. LOL
    You can get older, but you never have to grow up! Tomorrow's just a future yesterday!-Greg Fergerson

  6. #6
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    You're standing on a mightly slippery band whilst dipping that toe!

    (Psssssstttttt! Glenda is lying when she says we'll toss you a lift ring! We will however, cheer you on! )
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

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  7. #7
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Very nice Barb. Well if your toes are in the Vintage Machine waters beware of the deep, deep waters ahead. BTW, if you have the drawer front you can likely make a drawer. Take a look at the way they are constructed. They are usually very simply made.
    Sweet Caroline

  8. #8
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    Now you've done it! That treadle will send out a siren song to every machine needing rescue for miles around, and within a year you'll have a herd. The drawer front might fit other treadle drawers. If you post the dimensions of your drawers I'm sure folks can check those from other models, and maybe even find you a match.

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    ooohhh...I hadn't thought of that. I was planning on making another drawer box for my little drawer front. Its brass handle is bent, but other than that, the drawer front is fine. They were going to sell them separate from the machine and its cabinet. Silly estate sale man. Yesterday, I just cleaned it with a little mild soap and water and dusted the cabinet. It's looking better already. Some of the decals were already faded, so I don't want to do them any more damage. When I clean the insides, I will most likely leave it all intact...my reconstruction skills are minimal, so I don't want to end up with a pile of screws and no idea where they go.

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    I was just reading the thread about what damage GOOP can do to a machine's decals...glad I read that before I did anything more to this one. It really isn't that dirty, but the decals are faded. Chances are, someone along the line gave it a good cleaning and wiped them away...hmmmm.

    I also bought a Singer at the estate sale. A Singer Stylist 457. I've been cleaning it up, it was a bit musty but it's getting better...but it has a squeak. I haven't tried sewing yet, I wanted to oil anything that was metal against metal before I did too much. The plastic gears all look good, but I just can't determine where the squeak is coming from. It doesn't happen when I disengage the motor to run the bobbin winder. It seems to be getting a bit better as the oil gets into the joints, so I will see what it does when I thread it and try to sew tomorrow.

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    Great find! Enjoy it.

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    Super Member Rumbols's Avatar
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    Awesome machine. Thanks for posting. Great job bargaining.

  13. #13
    Member annasgirl's Avatar
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    Welcome to the addicting world of vintage.....I got thrown in the pond just by reading the posts on this page!! I love these old machines....they are so sexy!

  14. #14
    Junior Member SoBuzy's Avatar
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    Wow!! What a great deal! I just priced a Singer in a cool cabinet that has several red eyes on it.....totally restored and working for $699!!!!! Then there was another Singer in a cabinet for $299!!! And the third one was $499 - not a Singer.... All were just totally maintained!!! Huge difference on price!! Have fun! I don't have room but if I did I would have to have one!
    "Seeking God's guidance is the key to success... even in daily living when we learn to LISTEN!"

  15. #15
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Really nice!!! There is nothing like vintage machines!!!!

  16. #16
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jljack View Post
    Hi Barb...thanks for putting up pics of your machine. I don't think it's a Davis badge. Davis's have the tension pieces in different locations, and the needle plate is almost always square instead of round or oval. I would bet a National, but I could be just shooting in the dark!! LOL
    I'll second that. Wonder how they got the name "Minnehaha", is a play off of Sears "Minnesota"? Noticed the center brace with Minnehaha was installed backwards at some point in time. Nice machine.

    Jon

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    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    From Wiki:

    Minnehaha is a fictional Native American woman documented in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1855 epic poem The Song of Hiawatha. She is the lover of the titular protagonist Hiawatha. The name is often incorrectly said to mean "laughing water", though in reality it translates to "waterfall" or "rapid water" in Dakota.[1] She is the subject of the poem, and later song, cantata, and painting, The Death of Minnehaha.


    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

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    It's also the name of a town here in Minnesota. There's also Minnehaha park, Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Ave...etc. (Lots of American Indian influence in the town names around here...I live in Mahtomedi) I thought maybe it was a branded machine with a local connection...maybe Montgomery Wards answer to Sears. I really can't find a definitive answer to who made the machine, where, when. If the last patent date listed is 1904, can we determine she was made on or around that date?

  19. #19
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingweb View Post
    I also bought a Singer at the estate sale. A Singer Stylist 457. ..but it has a squeak. I wanted to oil anything that was metal against metal before I did too much.
    I was cleaning and oiling a Singer 185j, last week, and when I was done oiling everything that looked like it moved I plugged it in and started running it. It sounded like an animal was dying in there, the squeal was so loud. I finally narrowed down where the noise was coming from, added a couple of drops of oil and after that....no more squeal. You just have to put your ear near the machine to see if you can figure out the general area of where the squeak is coming from. Good luck on it.

    I have a Stylist from 1975 that I used for many, many years. I had such nostalgic feelings for it that I couldn't bear to get rid of it. I still have it and I also started collection vintage machines almost 3 yrs ago. It won't be long before you find yourself with another beauty...heh heh heh....we are all enablers on here BTW!!
    ~~Cathy~~

  20. #20
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    Oh, I've been listening. I can't find it, but I'll keep looking...er...listening. One good thing, working on the old machines has made me less nervous about looking inside and figuring out how they work. My bobbin winder on my main machine stopped working today...opened it up, looked inside and figured it out. FUN!

  21. #21
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    Friday I was so excited to be going to two more estate sales. Neither one of them had ANYTHING I wanted, no sewing machines, no fabric, no antique quilt tops ready for me to take home and quilt...What? A house with no sewing? Is that even possible? I guess so...I wonder how my kids will handle all my STUFF when I'm gone. I've already told them, my sister and my best friend should get first chance at all the sewing stuff. They'll know what they're looking at...not just a bunch of fabric, but POSSIBILITIES! (There was a dumpster at one of the houses. My 13 year old wouldn't let me look inside. She knows me too well.)

  22. #22
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    If all else fails...check on Ebay for some drawers for your new machine.
    I sold some there years ago from a treadle cabinet that was beyond help....the base was fine, with a paint job....the drawers were fine...the top was water damaged and destroyed. So installed a piece of marble to the legs and wa-laaaa.... a new table for me.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

  23. #23
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    Congratulations to your toe! BEWARE,!! We started with one working treadle in a cabinet (pd too much but sews like dream). We now have 7 different vintage machines! HELP we need a 12 step program for addiction to vintage machines. Luckily or unluckily DH is as addicted as I am. Looks like you have a fun project on your hands.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  24. #24
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingweb View Post
    It's also the name of a town here in Minnesota. There's also Minnehaha park, Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Ave...etc. (Lots of American Indian influence in the town names around here...I live in Mahtomedi) I thought maybe it was a branded machine with a local connection...maybe Montgomery Wards answer to Sears. I really can't find a definitive answer to who made the machine, where, when. If the last patent date listed is 1904, can we determine she was made on or around that date?
    No. Patent dates are only good for saying that the machine was NOT made before that date. Some patented "things" were made years after their original patent dates listed. Seldom is a patent date for an entire machine, most often it's for one feature or another, i.e., the bobbin winder or handwheel, etc..

    If you know that your machine was sold by Monkey Wards, try a Google search for old catalogs or newspapers in the "Google Books".....you might be able to get a good line on a date from there.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  25. #25
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    No, Charlee, I don't know where my machine came from. I'm just trying to figure it out. If it was a branded machine, made by "Company A" for "Store B"...and it's named Minnehaha...trying to guess what the local stores would have been that would have sold this machine. It's not top end fancy, in fact, it looks like the one "Montgomery Wards does not recommend" that keeps popping up when I do my search. It's charming, but not fancy by any means. Maybe I should concentrate on local department stores of the 1900-1920 era. I found a site that sells a manual for a Brunswick machine that looks very much like my machine.

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