Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do you treadle?

A friend and I were talking the other night and she told me she had two featherweights. I told her that I don't have one but I do have a treadle. REALLY!?! she exclaimed. Well, yes, it's been sitting in my living room for about 20 years, and it was in my mom's house for at least that long. I don't actually know where it came from and I've never even opened it up. WHAT!?! she was shocked. I had a treadle and had never bothered to open it up!?! I was so ashamed.

So I lifted the lid to find...40 years worth of dust, and a dead spider. Ewww.

After fiddling with it a bit, I got it upright.
I wiped it off with a paper towel and took a closer look.
After doing a little online search, I think it was made in 1907.
And I think it is a model 27. It has the sphinx decal and a bobbin winder.
And I was stunned...
It actually works! There is still thread in the bobbin!
The belt seems to be in okay shape, and the parts all move.
It is still filthy, but I am doing more research before I attempt any serious cleaning.
It is missing the spool pin, but I ordered one online last night.
I'm not sure what else is missing at this point.
But she is very pretty, and I think she'll be gorgeous once she's cleaned up.
Now I'm wondering why I waited 20 years to take a peek at her!
Any suggestions for cleaning/ restoration would be very welcome.
Enjoy every stitch!




  1. I used to have three treadle machines but they have new homes now. No room to keep them after moving into a smaller home. I do have several vintage machines. I can't imagine that you never even opened the machine out before.
    Here is an interesting blog post about cleaning the old machines.

    1. Thanks for the link! I will check it out now. I know, I can't believe I didn't take a peek either, it was just something I always thought I would do "one day". I'm glad my friend prompted me to do it, finally!

  2. Wow! Lucky you!! I've been looking for a 15-88 Singer Treadle FOREVER and finally got one on ebay in December. I could hardly wait for it to arrive and was so excited but apparently the UPS folks did a terrible job packaging it and the cabinet was in pieces when it arrived and the metal cross-bar had broken in two! It was just a shame that this gorgeous antique was completely ruined through careless packaging! Anyway, I'm back to the drawing board in my hunt for a 15-88.
    You may want to check out "treadle" as they have wonderful information about treadles, how to clean, use, ship, etc., and it's a very good site.

    1. Oh so sorry, to hear about your machine story! That is sad. Thanks for the website, I have seen it and need to spend more time researching it. Good luck finding another machine!

  3. Everything in it's own time! It's not like you chucked it into the dump or anything terrible.:) Good luck getting it figured out!

    1. HAHAHA...yes, it has been well preserved in a temperature controlled room at least! I am working on it for about an hour a day. Soaking some of the little pieces seems to help, but it's not ever going to look new again. I just hope to get it cleaned up enough to see if I can stitch on it. I know nothing about it, so it's going to take lots of looking and reading on my part. No rush though, if it's lasted this long, another few weeks or months won't make a difference!

  4. Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville has several old machines, including treadles. She cleans them up herself with lots of machine oil. Check her out at What a wonderful find you have - I've been wishing for a treadle!

    1. I love Bonnie and I immediately thought of her and what she would say! She certainly makes it all look much easier than it really is (at least in my opinion.) I can only hope to be as successful in my attempts at getting this treadle running as she is with hers. It's very slow progress, but it is coming along a bit at a time. I'll have to post updates along the way. Thanks for the encouragement and good luck finding a treadle for yourself!

  5. Lucky you! I remember playing beneath my grandmother's on her braided rug. I've always wanted one and almost had one that my mom found at a yard sale only upon closer inspection, there were problems. *sigh* Keep us posted.


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