As I was prowling estate sales on Saturday, I came across one of those magical black suitcases, the kind that tend to contain a Singer Featherweight sewing machine – and that’s what was inside this one!! Case and machine were in exccellent condition, with all pieces present and accounted for. It was priced at more that I wanted to pay, but they took a bid.
Sunday I picked up my new Featherweight! These machines are a dream to sew on and easily portable for sewing gatherings and classes. I’ve been using a white one from 1964 that’s led a hard life, and actually belongs to my brother. Our dad bought it at a swap meet at some point, sans case and attachments, for $5! I’ve wanted an older black one for years. Based on the serial number, the one now sitting on my sewing table was assigned it’s number in October 1950. The badge says 1851 – 1951, and the letter (!) from father to daughter regarding the machine, that was in the case, is dated January 1951, so I suspect the actually date of the machine is 1951.
Interestingly, the sales brochure for Singer machines, which was also in the case, shows not only the Featherweight, but on the same page an electrified vibrating shuttle machine, Model 128. This is the same model as my non-electric handcranks, which are dated 1895 and 1920.
Transcript of letter:
January 19, 1951
Dear Lois: I enclose a folder of sewing machines. This morning Jeanne and I stopped in at the Singer place, Ridgewood, and priced a couple of machines. The Portable on page 13, the large picture, model No 221-1 seems to be one of the best. It is $149.50. If you want a cabinet type the one on page 8, no 201-1, which fits on the cabinet no. 40 on page 9 is one of the best. If you want either one of these say the word and I shall get it for you or send you a check for the proper amount, if you want to get it somewhere out there. I think it would pay you to get a machine now if you want one and you could probably learn to do a good deal of sewing if you have a machine. … Sewing machines may, like most other things, be harder to get later. So if you want one write or telephone and I shall send a check tout de suite. We have a sunny warm day for my birthday – sixty years of antiquity. Your loving father…
(written up side of page) Don’t fool with a second-hand machine – the advise of mother – in buying something that will last as long as a sewing machine. (written upside down on the bottom of the page) Also old machines are harder to get repair parts for.
What a good father!