Romancing the Old

Living in an old house is not everyone’s “cup of tea”. However, I cannot ever remember wanting to live any where else but. I suppose  that is why one of my favourite things to do through the years has been to “go antiquing” with MH. Antique shops, flea markets, lawn sales and even auction sales have been the source of so many things that fill this old house and make it our home.

Quite often we meander through the country side, no destination in mind, dogs firmly safety-harnessed in the back seat, lunch packed in the cooler, with hopes of discovering a new source for our indulgence in all things “old”. There is something about the smell of old wood and paper and fabric and pottery and metal that gets my heart thumping with anticipation. We have both been around long enough that much of the wares offered cause us to exclaim “Oh, I remember this!” or “My grandma had one of these!” Sometimes we have no idea what we are looking at, but the shop keeper usually is very obliging and so we learn something new, as well. Once in awhile we find “just the thing” to cram into another nook and cranny of this old house.

A few summers ago I was thrilled to find an old treadle sewing machine very much like the one I remember seeing in my grandma’s house when I was young. It was in rough shape, but the price was right and I had fantasies of restoring it to its former glory and actually use it to sew with. That hasn’t happened yet, but it certainly fills an unused  space in our dining room acting as a lamp table. The truth is that when I first set it up, the belt broke and I haven’t replaced it. ( I think belt breaking might happen often as I saw 100m rolls of it for sale on Amazon!) I have no idea how to thread the machine either, but found a manual on the internet, which I have bookmarked for the day I do get the machine working. Women who actually used a treadle machine must have had great legs, too, because even without the belt, I pretend-sewed to see what it was like, and it took a lot of muscle!

White Family Rotary Machine – Canadian edition early 1900’s

The White brand treadle machines were made from the 1880’s up to the second World War. They were known for their beautiful cabinets and the odd fact that the hand wheel had a backwards rotation.

Have you, dear reader, experienced the thrill of sewing with a treadle sewing machine?































7 thoughts on “Romancing the Old

  1. Oh, do get the belt and oil the machine and thread it. I bet in less than an hour you’ll be sewing with it beautifully. You might check with a local sewing machine shop for belts and advice. I can buy single belts locally for a Singer for $7-12 each, and talk to a shopkeeper who is more than happy to give advice. One belt should last years, so you probably have no use for a big roll of belting.

      1. I don’t think the treadle is hard work. But, I have noticed that all treadles are not alike. One may feel more ergonomic than another, even if they are the same maker. I’m just an amateur, and I’ve only worked with Singers, but that’s my experience.

  2. I think I could have written this post. We love old stuff too. We used to own an antique mall and auction house – once you have the fever for collecting, it never goes away. We don’t get out enjoy the hunt as much as we used to, I supply my need by going by a local thrift shop and another local shop that sells my artwork also carries a few oldies.

    I have my grandmother’s Singer treadle machine. I remember watching her sew with it when I was a child, and her trying to teach me. I have not tried to sew on it, but often think I shall some day. I also have one that belonged to my husband’s family. It is in storage right now until we finish our house remodel.

    Enjoyed this post and the memories it brought back for me.

    Have a good day!
    xo kim

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