Posted in Treadles, Vintage Sewing Machine

Thinning the herd!

I talked to a local woodworker last night who is going to help me fix and refurbish two of the sewing machine cabinets I’ve been storing in the garage.  We determined that the wood on the third cabinet is beyond repair.

DSCF5326So, the cabinet for the Anker went home with him to fix the area that needs to support the sewing machine and in the meantime I need to start stripping the veneer off the cabinet for the Davis VF and trying to figure out how it comes apart.

Part of the deal is that I’m going to throw in the Red Eye treadle head and irons that go with it; most of the wood is rotten and can only serve as a pattern for a replacement top.  The irons need to be washed, brushed with a wire brush and repainted back to their previous glory, but the treadle action is spot on!DSCF7231

While I haven’t gotten to sew on the Red Eye, which is always my goal, I know it’s a very nice machine; when I bought it I was able to turn the handle by hand to get it to sew and have been excited to get it up and running.  Ironically, I thought this one would be the easiest and fastest one to get working.  Once he gets the cabinet built, which will take him hours, it will be an awesome piece.  Of course I’ll go over it and make sure it’s cleaned, oiled and ready to take on a new project.

The upside is I’ll have two working machines that are high on my priority list,  I get to clear out some space in my garage, keeping my husband happier with less clutter, and someone else will get to share this machine.  That’s a winning situation all the way around!

Posted in Treadles, Vintage Sewing Machine

Improved Hackett’s Beauty–Update

I’ve been working with a fellow Onion (that is, a Treadle On member) from Michigan to get a shuttle that will fit the Improved Hackett’s Beauty treadle I bought last summer.  We finally found a shuttle and bobbin, and I’m really excited!  It turned out that the Eldredge E shuttle was the perfect fit.

DSCF7160I borrowed a treadle belt tool and got the belt installed, but the machine was really noisy, like something wasn’t right.  I was pretty sure the clangy sound was coming from the foot pedal, and as I was playing with last weekend, the pedal “fell off” the machine!  That wasn’t too surprising, as the bolts that were holding it in were at an angle, instead of holding everything in straight.  So, I cleaned up the metal bar underneath the pedal, got some Triflow in there to loosen it up (I’ll add grease later) and put it back together and now only a little clangy noise left!

I tried to adjust a bolt on the pitman (I’m not sure if that’s the term or not) to get rid of the rest of the noise, but it won’t tighten up any further so that’s probably just how it is. DSCF7162

It was so fun to see that it was actually treadling.  However, there was an intermittent rubbing sound and I realized that I’d installed the belt incorrectly; it was winding through one of the supports underneath.  I disconnected the belt, re-threaded it, tightened it up and re-connected it, and, no surprise here, the rubbing sound disappeared.

I also made a shuttle cover out of an old credit card, which is pretty nifty, so still need to keep my eye out for a real one.

DSCF7164I also found some help threading it!  You can see from this side view that it’s not exactly intuitive!  I realized that I’m missing the bobbin winder finger, but I was able to wind a little bit of thread on the bobbin.  I’ve had to work on getting the tension right, and it’s making stitches, but they’re not as good as I’d like so I’ll have to continue to work on that.

The next thing I need to address is that the machine doesn’t lift up flush with the rest of the cabinet.  I discovered that when I push up on a bar underneath that is connected to the chain in the back it will sit flush, so now I have to figure out if the mechanism simply needs to be tightened, or if the chain needs to be adjusted.  I can’t imagine how to adjust the chain!!

I also found a 15×1 needle and got that installed, however, it’s not the size of needle the machine calls for.  I was able to make it work by moving the needle down in the needle holder so that the shuttle could catch the thread.  That could also affect the stitches so I’ll have to see if I can find a longer needle. 

I am SO close to having it all put together!!  And I couldn’t have done it without help from my new friend in Michigan.  I love the internet!

Posted in The Columbian, Treadles, Vintage Sewing Machine

The “Columbian” Treadle – Chicago Sewing Machine Co.


You know what happens when you have too many machines?  You think you’ve told everyone about them all, when you really haven’t!

I got this treadle right before I went on vacation.  It’s called The Columbian and was made by the Chicago Sewing Machine Company.

I found trade literature from the Smithsonian website, which I’d seen before but never got further than I have tonight.  The former name of the company was Tryber & Sweetland Manufacturing Company, 1879-1882.  So I searched on that name which lead me to the SewMuse website:

Tryber and Sweetland became the Chicago Sewing Machine Company in 1875 and then were incorporated from 1882-1902.  They made 11 machine models (if you count the numbered models separately):

No’s 1 – 5, 7, 11
Chicago Low Arm Singer
Imperial High Arm
The Columbian
The Peerless

I still haven’t found a manual, reference to any parts, or any other photos of similar machines.  If I can’t find an original part I’ll need to get something machined to fit over the shuttle in order to use it.

If any of these machines sound familiar to anyone, and you know of any resources, I’d appreciate that info.