Use It or Lose It: 1934 White Rotary Century of Progress

1935 White Rotary

This is #9 in the review of sewing machines in my collection: a 1934 White Rotary Chicago World's Fair Century of Progress machine.

This machine has been with me for 7 or 8 years, it came from an estate sale in the Chicago land area. While the World's Fair in Chicago was indeed held in 1933-34, it is difficult to say if this machine was actually sold at the fair (it is possible that White Sewing Machine Company had a booth at the fair), or if the badge was just added to machines sold during that time in commemoration of the fair.

White Rotary Century of Progress

Whatever the case, it's a pretty cool looking tag, isn't it? This is also an interesting finish on this machine, which is sometimes referred to as crinkled, wrinkled, and affectionately nick-named "Godzilla" finish by sewing machine collectors.

I won't get rid of this machine, but I also don't sew on it. Instead of a belt drive, this model employs a direct rubber wheel, or pulley to drive the machine. I never did like the feel of sewing with a pulley driven machine, and since this one is worn out, I never did replace it.

White Rotary Pulley

I still have all the accessories and manual to this machine, and I think this would be a prime candidate for being converted to a hand crank in the future. But for now this machine lives on top of a bookshelf in our dining room, right next to that New Wheeler Vibrating Shuttle. Which means that even if I'm not in my sewing room, it's pretty likely that I can still see a sewing machine or two!

If you'd like to see some of the other machines in my collection, you can click back to read about these oldies but goodies:

#8. Singer 319W
#7. 1957 Singer 221
#6. 1934 Singer 99-13
#3, #4, and #5. 1922 Singer 66, C.1900 Vibrating Shuttle, and Singer 114K103
#2. 1919 Singer 128


Very cool. The Whites don't get a lot of love, but I bet in their day they were a fine brand. My theory is that vintage Singers are more popular now just because of the ease of finding parts, accessories and info. Thanks for showing us this cutie.
Anonymous said…
I have come in possesion of one of these nice collectables what r they wort in good working order
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hello there Anonymous, often factors like condition and other original accessories contribute to the worth of a vintage sewing machine. I'd say look around the internet for machines similar to this for sale and see what the final purchased price has been.
Anonymous said…
I just purchased a White Rotary that does not have any decals on it - never did - but it has a lot of fancy scroll work on it. It has the same rubber issue and I am looking for a new one - is there a good site I can order from? I can't find anything like this machine on the internet and am wondering also how to find out how old it might be - in a cabinet - powered by electricity - paid $40 for it - just had to have it when I saw it at a yard sale. You can respond by email - Thank you for any help.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi there Anonymous, did you try searching the ISMACS website for information? Try doing an internet search for parts for your machine. I have ordered from half a dozen online sewing machine parts stores online with good results from all.
Alana said…
Hi there! I'm so glad to have come across your post. I just picked up a very, very similar-looking White machine yesterday at a local thrift shop. I can't seem to find much info on it. It looks nearly identical to your machine, but the badge is not the limited edition Century of Progress one like yours. Here's my blog post with pictures:

Do you have any ideas where I might find more info about it? I don't know anything about the brand. I do think it's a pretty machine. It'll be fun to learn more.

Thank you!

Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi there Alana, nice thrift store find! Here are some links to help you learn more about your White Rotary machine:

Find out how to date your machine by serial number here:

A little bit about the White company from ISMACS:

A video on how to thread the machine:

You can also still get parts for this model, and if you know what you're looking for you can easily find a set of attachments if yours is missing.

Good luck with your pretty vintage White machine!
Unknown said…
My mother born 1920, my grandmother born 1885 and me born 1954 all had white sewing machine. They swore they were more well built than singers....neither of them would let me tough theirs, because I was a silly teenager! Sadly, all lost in a fire in 195, although knowing what I do now about vsm I would have taken them and tried to resurrect them!
Anyone know the approximate value of this machine? I picked one up for free and it's in perfect working order all the parts and the orIginal manual.
karen said…
Hi, I have a machine just like this that I'd like to start using. do you have any recommendations for a someone in the Chicago area that can do a cleaning and tune up? thanks.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi karen, and thanks for stopping by my blog! Unfortunately, I really don't know anyone in the Chicagoland area who repairs vintage machines. If you are on Facebook, I can suggest checking in with one of the vintage sewing machine groups to ask the question, I am a member of the Vintage Sewing Machines group and there seems to be many Chicago members. Best of luck to you! - Erika
Unknown said…
Thank you for posting pictures of your “White Model 77MG “Century of Progress” machine. It is a special machine!

My wife and I collect and exhibit our machines and the “World’s Fair” group is most popular!. While we do not have a “Century of Progress” White we do display a White 764 that had been exhibited at the “Home of Tomorrow” at the 1964-1965 New York Works Fair.
We hope someday to find one like yours to add to the group.
Again, Thanks for posting...
Pam & J.C. Elliott

Erika's Top Trending Posts: