A couple of friends of mine visited this week–well, we spent a little time together, but mostly they came to attend a treadle sewing machine gathering, not me. Saturday morning my husband and I went to take a look at what they were doing. I can’t say I was bitten by the bug, but I did find it interesting. I remember sewing on my great aunt’s treadle machine. I’m not even sure why I had to use her machine. I was in grade school, I think, perhaps doing a 4-H project. But I digress.
So I came back home after visiting my friend’s treadle group and pulled up Craigslist and found an advertisement for a treadle sewing machine for $50. There were other treadles–from $200 to $800, but no, the bug hadn’t really bitten that hard. So I looked at the $50 one. When I talked to the man he said it was his grandmothers and that he had stored it in the basement for 25 years since she passed away. The last two weeks it was stored in a carport wrapped in a tarp (ugh!), as he had to put it somewhere while moving. When we looked at it, I have no doubt that the man’s account was true. The laminate on the top has some cracks and bubbles. Not sure if that can be saved. The laminate on the inside cover of the top definitely cannot be saved. The laminate on the back is mostly gone. If it was laminate. Well, the back looks awful, regardless. The head looks like it has been dipped in grime. And the treadle legs and pedal are so dirty that I cannot tell if there is any paint left under them.
But we decided to buy it anyway. When we told the man we wanted to actually make it sew again, he knocked it down to $40, because he said that’s what he always wanted to do with it. Maybe it is worth more. Maybe it isn’t worth that much. I don’t know. But we thought it would be interesting to give it a try and see if we can salvage the cabinet at least. Make we can make the head sew again. And $40 wasn’t a huge investment.
The head does appear to be intact–including foot and bobbin shuttle and bobbin. The bobbin still has green thread in it. The hand wheel turns easily, as does the foot pedal mechanism. The belt is still on the machine, but it is no longer intact. The little wheels on the bottom of the cast iron legs turn freely. If anyone knows anything about the New Ideal R (made by New Home, I believe), please let me know. From a little internet surfing last night and what he told me, I think it may be anywhere from 1920-1935.
My husband has done some furniture refinishing before, so I thought he might like a challenge. I figured at worst we are out $40.