I stripped the old finish off, applied some bondo, sanded, and gave it a coat of primer before it was forgotten and shelved over 4 years ago (to be fair,it was pushed aside because we started planning for our wedding, so don't judge me too harshly for forgetting about this poor little girl). I settled on a pretty metallic blue paint, and boy do I love this color! All those funny little "spikes" and fluff coming from the machine are plugs and masking to keep the paint out of important parts of the machine.
Just to make this really different, I finished it off with a top coat of a transparent reflective paint! You can sort of see the effect on the bed of the machine - it brightly reflects direct light, but when there is no direct source of light you can see the the paint underneath. Very cool! When this coat is dry I will top it all off with a clear coat later this weekend.
My plan for this baby is to add a crank to the hand wheel and set it in a small wooden base to use for small crafts and quick projects on the fly where there is no electricity. Crafting in the park, anyone?
So the BIG MYSTERY about this little Singer is what model it might be. The serial number puts the date of this machine at 1901, but I don't know the exact model. This is a treadle machine without the motor mount hole, it has the simple stitch width knob that sticks right out of the machine, no reverse, and a spoked wheel. Oh, and the badge was missing. So far everyone I've asked can't place this model, so if you think you can solve the mystery please help!
Thanks everyone who responded here, via email, and through the ISMACS list! Looking at the machine closer, it is actually a 15-30! It looked exactly like this photo from the ISMACS site (well, except for being kind of rode hard and put away wet), and I also found this pretty photo of a well-preserved 15-30 at Vintage Sewing.