Here's some before photos when I got the Sew-Rite home. It was a bit dusty with some paint chips, and I could tell right away that the thumb nut was missing from the tension assembly up top.
I tried to do a little research about the Sew-Rite, but this machine is a bit of a mystery.
I found one forum in which this machine was discussed as being manufactured by the Hamilton-Ross company in the 1950's, but couldn't find anything else to substantiate that information. I did find a downloadable manual for a very, very similar machine called the Essex Miniature Machine. With this manual I was able to figure out how to thread and work the Sew-Rite.
Here's pictures after I cleaned up the Sew-Rite, and with the help of a very patient Ace Hardware employee, I found a nut with some washers that work in place of the missing thumb nut.
I didn't have high hopes for this machine, as everything I read about the toy chain stitch machines is that they just didn't work that great and would not produce a good stitch.
Also, the needle size for this machine is super funky - it's very short, and I've not been able to locate any replacements. This is the original needle that came with the machine.
But despite the old needle and the funky altered tension nut, she DOES SEW! Chain stitch machines use just one thread instead of a top and bobbin thread. While the front looks like a normal stitch,
the back looks like a mini-chain, almost like a single row of crochet.
Here's a little video so you can see the Sew-Rite in action!