I love to sew and I love the history of useful things. In fact, I’ve researched family history for years and find it fascinating. I’ve been watching Craigslist for some time now. Looking at all the treadle and hand crank sewing machines as they become available and I found this one in my local area. Isn’t she beautiful!
I paid $100 and took her home. She had been a TV stand for 20 years. I bought a belt, oiled her up, and gave the wooden table a treatment with Watco Danish Oil. Then I adjusted the top and bottom tension and took ‘Tiffany’ for a test drive.
I’ve been practicing to get the rhythm of sewing off the grid. One foot sets forward of my other foot and I alternate pushing my right heel and left toes on the pedal in a rocking motion. It’s a bit tricky. If I mess up the rhythm of my feet I can quickly flip the wheel and be sewing backwards.
My Singer 115 has Tiffany decals and an early version circular bobbin that replaced the old bullet-shaped shuttle-type bobbin. She was built in 1917 according to serial number research.
Other interesting facts about 1917:
April 1, 1917 – President Woodrow Wilson called us into war and our military was sent to fight with the allied countries in Europe. US military swelled from 370,000 to 4.8 million. For a time, 10,000 troops per day were landing on French soils. On the home front, women took assembly line factory jobs producing trucks and munitions. By the time the World War I ended in November 1918, 48,000 Americans had been lost in battle. My grandpa was trained as a machine gunner for the US Army, but the war ended before he was shipped overseas.
It’s interesting to look at the average price of commodities in 1917. A pound of butter cost $.526, cheese $.350, sugar $.096, bread $.102, steak $.329, rice $.120, a package of potatoes $.453, a quart of milk $.126, a dozen eggs $.475. One yard calico fabric 24 – 25″ wide cost $.10, gingham 32″ wide cost $.23 for one yard, while one yard of outing flannel cost $.16 and the price of one yard of bleached muslin was $.41. Average income of the period were about $800 per year.
I wonder how much my Singer Tiffany was originally sold for?