New Home Treadle machine – wheee!
Well, I guess I should be careful what I wish for! After hemming and hawing over the EuroPro Shark Intellisew computerized embroidery machine at Target a couple of weeks ago, and deciding against it for the very reason that it was way too high-tech for me, I was in a thrift shop yesterday and scored a 1908 Light Running New Home treadle sewing machine with the treadle table for $100. Half the price of the embroidery machine, and as low-tech as they come!
The dusty machine body was in a ratty cardboard box with many assorted small table pieces, two boxes of feet, a packet of needles (!!) and a manual that is 20 years its junior. The table had all four side drawers intact, the upper drawer removed and slightly modified and sure needs a cleaning. While all of the working bits are filthy, both the machine mechanism and the treadle move cleanly without any squeaking or other worrisome sounds – triumph! Oh, that the former owner could have slipped a note in the box telling me of the origins of the machine and the wonderful things made with it.
The machine is wonderfully different from my usual machine – the three bobbins are like thick 1″ nails with a head at each end. The bobbin shuttle looks like the top of a fountain pen. I’m nervous of harming it – there was only one in the whole lot.
I’ve placed a hold on a book at the library that will help me determine the actual model number of the machine, and I’ve downloaded a manual for a similar New Home treadle machine from the Smithsonian online. (Now isn’t THAT remarkable – I can go to my 21st century computer and print a 100-year old sewing manual!)
But now I have to inch towards my wonderful new dusty friend and clean him up and set him in his table and get to work. Help!
Has anyone here cleaned something of this sort before? What should I use on the ornately painted exterior of the machine? I’m fine with cleaning the inner workings – pipe cleaners and machine oil will do the trick, and there appears to be no rust inside at all. Does anyone know if there are any parts beyond the leather belt that I need to assemble the machine in table correctly? Should I take a chance on the original needles (which are remarkably the same as the Schmetz needles of today)? Can anyone suggest a source for parts?
I don’t want to take the machine in for service if it doesn’t need it, and hubby is a talented woodworker, so I know he can reassemble the top of the table with ease (he paced around the table for an hour last night, wanting to get going right away).
My sewing machine and serger are Fred and Mrs. Fred, respectively, so this little guy must be Ralph. (M*A*S*H* TV-show fans from the 70s will know the reference). He’s pretty ornate for a Ralph, but he’s a Ralph all the same.
So Christmas came early here, but I have some work to do before Ralph speeds his way through some 21st century fabrics. Can anyone give me tips to approach my new friend?
Thanks, everyone, and happy holidays!