Vintage or antique sewing machines are those machines that survived the test of time. From its original manufacturing date up to now, this vintage machine remained and retained its original form and performance. Some machines created centuries ago were able to survive to this day and you can still see them perform well in sewing. These machines are called vintage or antique. Some machines may be physically present, but they will be of no or less value if they do not perform well anymore, or if some parts are already damaged or replaced.
Many antique collectors base their collections on the serial number. If the serial number is 500 or lower, you can be sure that the machine is pretty rare and old. Though there are plenty of vintage sewing machines still operational and usable, you will also find some of them as not one of the collector’s items, but for decoration purposes only.
It may be easy for the collectors to determine which one is a perfect item to be collected, and this is because they are already used to it and they have been in this profession ever since. But if you are interested to collect some vintage sewing machines, you should know the factors, first, in determining their value before you can decide whether it is a collector’s item.
Vintage sewing machines, along with all the vintage sewing items and accessories, are highly collectible not just because of the price or value, but also because of the rich culture and history attached to it and its manufacturing. Collectors may have been attached to the history, or are probably in awe when it comes to the old fashion engineering and development.
There are many websites nowadays to surf to identify your sewing machine. If you need information, details, value, identification or parts of your vintage sewing machine, you can easily get help from those websites. They may even lead you to different stores where you can get one for your own collection.
Many collectors consider these old and antique sewing machines as collectors’ items because of different reasons. Some would want one or several machines because they knew its value. More than just the motors and the machines, it is the name and brands that make the machines important, significant, and valuable.
Vintage sewing machines are also affordable nowadays. Some machines are offered at such a low price at many online and offline stores. These machines are also proven to be reliable. Imagine how they survived the time since the day they were produced until now, and their mechanism is still perfectly working in good condition. If you happen to find such a rare gem, that only means the machine was indeed a good catch.
Some machines are also built with a less complex mechanism. The antique sewing machine parts are also made to last for long years, which means the machines are less likely to break. And because they are vintage machines, they do not need electrical power to operate. This would mean you are going “Green” as you conserve energy. More than that, many collectors prefer the vintage sewing machines because they are coll and beautiful.
Different Brands of Vintage and Antique Sewing Machines
Singer Sewing Machines
Although Singer is not the first sewing machine being developed, it became a very popular brand to many sewers, and even for collectors. Some collectors said that it was such a fun experience for them to collect most of the Singer vintage sewing machines because they are plenty and they are still available and usable.
The Singer Company is an American corporation that manufactured plenty of sewing machines. At first, it was I. M. Singer & Co., which was named after its owner, Isaac M. Singer and Edward Clark. But due to the popularity, its name was changed to Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865, and became Singer Company in 1963. Among the best selling sewing machines since the start of the manufacturing were the Model 12K Fiddle bed, Model 66 designed with Lotus decals, Model 99, and the Featherweight Model 222K.
The Singer actually has a lot to offer when it comes to vintage machines. The Turtle Back Family was one of the earliest, being developed in 1856. This was a lightweight machine, but it failed when it came very poorly built. The Singer released the New Family Machine in 1865, and it was small, efficient, and pretty. The Super Model 66 was the best sewing machine that Singer ever introduced that time. There were many new models being developed over the time after the New Family Machine, and the most favorite among collectors was the Featherweight. This machine was introduced in 1933 at the Chicago World’s Fair.
Howe Sewing Machines
Howe was named after its owner, Elias Howe Jr., the first man who invented the machine and was called as the father of sewing machines. His first machine was patented in 1846, earlier than the Singer machines. The first Howe machine ever patented was the Patent Model number 4750. The Genuine Howe Sewing Machines were categorized as A for families, B for larger machines built for boot makers, tailors, and dressmakers, C for very powerful machines built for leathers and harness, and D for free-arm cylinder machines. With the Howe sewing machines, most of the productions in America and other countries sped up. Using the machines, they were able to sew umbrellas, hats, belts, and many more.
Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machines
Nathaniel Wheeler and Allen Wilson was the founder of the company. It was built and established in 1852 in Water Town, Connecticut. After two years of production, the company was able to produce a total of 20,000 sewing machines. It was such a big success for both of them, along with the staffs and employees, which made them to expand and move to Bridgeport.
Wheeler and Wilson developed and built several sewing machines in the past. The first one was called the Wheeler and Wilson model D 1. Most of these machines are vintage and antique. The company was famous for producing efficient sewing machines, and the buttonhole machine even got an award in the year 1860. The antique treadle sewing machines were sought after by many sewers, including industrial companies that manufactured clothes. Ranging from the Old Style Hemmer to the silver-plated machines in their wooden cabinets, all of these machines were a symbol of excellence and wealth. The legacy of the company attracts many vintage and antique collectors to get one or a few of the Wheeler and Wilson sewing machines.
Among the popular sewing machines made by the company were the Models number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and many more. The company was also known for its buttonhole machine, which was capable of sewing 100 buttonholes in one hour.
Grover & Baker Sewing Machines
The two pioneers in the sewing machine history were William O. Grover and William Emerson Baker. They co-founded the Grover and Baker Company, established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1860. Both of them were tailors, which explain why they are familiar and passionate about sewing. Grover and Baker became famous after developing a sewing machine with a double chain stitch. This was built to be a sewing machine for family or home use, and it was intended by the developer for treadle driving. It was in the year 1861 when the machine was introduced to the industry, and since then, many sewers were attracted to buy this machine. Now that centuries have passed, many collectors put this machine on top of their list as a collector’s item.
Among the best machines built by the company were the Sewing Machine Model 22 in 1870, Model 25, and the Grover and Baker embroiderer machine. Many machines came out from the company and they became famous.
Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machines
Willcox & Gibbs introduced the Chain Stitch Sewing Machine to the market in the year 1864. It was actually James A. E. Gibbs, who invented this type of machine, but it was improved by J. Willcox. The company was well-known among the manufacturers and customers not only because of the home machines of treadle and hand-cranks, but also because of the industrial machines that they built which were capable of sewing hard to sew fabrics. Their machines usually came out with gold floral designs and painted in black.
The superb chain stitch of the machines became the dream of many consumers and collectors to collect. Almost all of them had one of these machines from the Willcox and Gibbs. Among the best vintage machines made by the W & G were the Antique Willcox & Gibbs Automatic Noiseless Electric Sewing Machine, Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Sewing Machine, and many more.
Kimball & Morton Sewing Machines
Kimball & Morton Company was known as a company established in 1867 who manufactured animal designs for their sewing machines. They actually did that on purpose. The Lion Sewing Machine became popular to many consumers because of its designs. It was actually referred to as the most handsome and best working sewing machine ever produced by the company that time. The machine was designed excellently, but it was concealed or covered in the body of a lion. Up to now, this machine is among the top item in the list of antique collectors.
The company conceptualized the lion figure as the case of the machine. The lion machine actually stands on a rock, which actually refers to the fine art metal electro-plated and finished in such a beautiful art. Its mechanism has the vibrating shuttle, and it was one of the best sewing machines that had become available in the market since its development until now. Among the antique Kimball & Morton sewing machines were the Antique Eagle, the Lion, and the Kimball & Morton Oscillator.
Jones Sewing Machines
William Jones started developing sewing machines in the year 1859. Since then, the company had produced a wide variety of sewing machines for home or domestic use, and for industrial purposes as well. Among the top machines built by the company were the Jones Cat-Back, Jones Fiddlebase, Jones Serpentine, Jones Hand Crack, Jones Federation Treadle Sewing Machine, and Jones Swan neck. The machines were one of the items that the Royal Family in England collected and used, making the brand famous and well-known.
Sear Roebuck & Co. Sewing Machines
Sear Roebuck and Company used different labels on their sewing machines such as the Kenmore, Minnesota, and many more. Even before the company became popular as Kenmore in most of the sewing machine, it was already producing and introducing different sewing machines under Minnesota model. The Minnesota model A was one of those machines, and it is a vintage machine considered as a family heirloom. The Franklin was also one of the sewing machines sold and marketed by the Sear, but was developed by the Domestic Sewing Machine Company.
Pfaff Sewing Machine
Pfaff sewing machines were known to be durable and heavy duty. Known for the reliability and engineering, the Pfaff machines were among the top selling antique sewing machine brands. Up to now, most of these machines produced and developed by the Pfaff are still working in good condition, making them the top choice as collectors’ items. The first model was the Pfaff Model K which was released and introduced in 1824.
It was Georg-Micheal Pfaff, who founded the Pfaff in Kaiserslautern Germany in 1862. He first made and developed a handheld sewing machine that was capable of sewing leather. When it comes to the name Pfaff, people automatically think of superior engineering based on German technology. Most of the sewing machines the company produced were designed for industrial purposes, but later also introduced sewing machines for home use. Among the significant models of sewing machines made by Pfaff were the Vintage Pfaff 332 with Foot Pedal and case, Pfaff 230 Dial-A Stitch, Pfaff 1222, Heavy Duty Pfaff 230, Pfaff 130, and Pfaff Sewing Machine 262 Complete Snap-on Top Cover Housing Cast Aluminum.
Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine
The Husqvarna Viking became a well-known and prestigious name when it comes to producing and selling highly efficient sewing machines in the year 1869 onwards. One of the best machines from Viking is the Husqvarna Viking 30-10 Sewing Machine Model 756. If you will search for it now, you will find that it has a higher value, not just because it was built to be efficient and powerful, but also because it was from the Viking.
The Husqvarna Viking is considered as a giant name in the industry of sewing machines and cloth manufacturers. The Northern Star was the first ever sewing machine the company made and developed. For more than a century, the company came to develop highly efficient and beautifully designed sewing machines. Among the top models made by the Husky Viking were the Husqvarna Central Bobbin CB, the Husqvarna Model 17, the Husqvarna Freja, and the Husqvarna model 19e. This model 19e was the last Swedish Husky metal machine produced, and it was built to endure the test of time. Being an efficient, durable, and beautiful sewing machine, this model is already old, yet it can still sew perfectly well, even better than the modern style of sewing machines that are made of plastic.