Newest Old Thing

I’ve always wanted a treadle sewing machine. I know. Weird. Not that I want to give up my modern (but not computerized) Riccar or serger. But just have that love of old things. I think a lot of it has to do with things that last – unlike most things today. I like quality.

Well, that dream for a treadle hasn’t come true yet, but close. Yesterday I was given a great-grandmother’s sewing machine. It’s 100 years old (or very close), a White Rotary, and electric. But, it was originally a treadle. The original owner had it converted along the way. The motor is a 1920 Hamilton Beach Sewing Motor.


I cleaned it up a little (it didn’t need a lot, just a bit dusty.) And I figured out how to thread it. Moment of truth. It worked! Produced a beautiful even stitch. I didn’t even have to adjust the tension. (I’ll do a more thorough cleaning and oiling.) I found out I can call Viking (who bought White out about 30 years ago) and give them the serial number and they can give me the exact age. (Last patent date on it is 1913.)

I am so excited to have this. Still hope to have a treadle some day though.




Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Newest Old Thing

  1. Ryan says:

    I enjoyed reading this because I just purchased a White Rotary off craigslist for $25! It looks just like yours. It is portable with a nice wooden case. I went to Viking’s website and went to their “contact us” tab and sent them an email with my serial number asking for some info. They emailed back the next morning. Mine was made in 1921! It has a 1920 Hamilton-Beach motor on it as well. I hope mine works as well as yours… I am still trying to figure out what a bobbin is (I have never owned or even used a sewing machine) Wish me luck!