Friday, October 7, 2011

The Singer Custom - A Mystery Machine

This poor little lost sewing machine was trash picked years ago by a friend who saw it in a dumpster. It was really beat up, coated with grimy soot, and attached to just a few splinters of the original treadle cabinet. I think someone probably took the bottom part of the treadle for a table and threw the machine head out, remember that decorating craze? Although the finish on the machine was totally toast, the machine still worked like a champ!

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.


Michelle said...

Can you give me the number on the bed of the machine? Maybe I can help/

Anonymous said...

I think it's an early model 15. You can find out the model using the serial number here:

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi edsmum, I was thinking early 15 class, too, but when I looked at that chart it says this is a class 32 machine which I can't find any information about - I wonder if that is a typo?

Christina said...

Ahh! I have a class 15 treadle too! Love how you painted yours and think converting to crank is a good idea. Just took our treadle to burning man and lugging around the heavy cabinet is unpleasant! Crank is so portable! Congrats on this rescue.