Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bonnie's New Sewing Machine...well, Old Sewing Machine

I have a new sewing machine. Well, it is new to me. When I was a little girl, one year for Christmas I received a hand crank sewing machine...and I still have that machine. Here it is:

And it is a little bit rusty...but then, so am I.

Recently someone on Facebook was talking about the "big" hand crank old sewing machines. I joined the discussion and said I was looking for one of those machines because I wanted to make a lamp out of it...and that I didn't care whether it worked or nor. Diann Becker from PA saw my comment and told me she had one and that she would bring it on the bus to Lancaster if I wanted it. Of course, I said, "Yes, please bring it with you." And she did. Thanks, Diann. And here it is:

It is a Frister & Rossmann hand crank machine, made in Germany. From the serial number, it looks to date between 1896 and 1914. So now that I owned this machine, I needed to find out more. We know that in  
1846 Elias Howe invented and patented the first automatic sewing machine for practical operation.

Frister & Rossmann started life near Berlin, Germany, in 1864. The two business partners, Gustav Rossmann and Robert Frister had started their sewing machine business by copying existing machines such as the American Wheeler & Wilson and Willcox & Gibbs under licence from the original manufacturers. Their first sewing machine, the A1 was simply a Wheeler & Wilson clone machine. However its success was unsurpassed, hardly changing for around 50 years. For decades Frister & Rossmann were the largest producers of sewing machines in Germany. By the early 1880s they had made a staggering quarter of a million machines, and by 1903 the great company had produced over one million machines.
Frister & Rossmann machines are known world wide, and similar models are better known in Australia and New Zealand as The Globe, and in America as Jaguar and Kenmore machines. Frister & Rossmann continues to hold it place amongst the premier sewing machine names in Great Britain.
(Frister & Rossman Info Source:

You can see from the photo I shot of the machine, it also has a box of attachments, some bobbins (good thing because they are very strange looking), several feet, and the instruction manual.
Now curious as to what kind of working it order it might be in, I took the machine on Saturday to Keith English of English's Sew & Vac here in Paducah. His motto on TV is that they "sell the best and service the rest." So we'll see if it works when I get it back. Keith said his granddaughter says he can fix anything. Now that is putting the pressure on. : )
Think I still will make into a lamp, but will put a wooden base under it to run the fixings for the lamp so the machine can be removed if I should want to take it to a demonstration some time. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it is good running order. What a fun new machine I have - and it remains to be seen if it will actually sew or live out its life as a lamp!

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