antique tredle sewing machine 'the american'

stacisantiquesJuly 1, 2011

Can anyone tell me anything about this machine? It is an antique tredle sewing machine that has beautiful gold/green/red painting on it. The side just says The American and the serial number is 817125. I don't see a brand like Singer on it anywhere. The cabinet is very ornate and in good condition. I just don't see a maker name on it anywhere.

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hopefully here is a picture of it for you to see.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:20PM
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    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:33PM
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The maker is The American Sewing Machine Company I believe.
Linda c

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:41PM
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Wish Damascus Annie was still hanging around the quilting forum, because she was a dedicated collector of old machines and was very helpful dating them. A picture of the cabinet might be helpful in narrowing the era down.

It is likely manufactured by the company Linda suggested, although several companies borrowed that name for some of their models. You could buy parts for old American Sewing machine products clear up to at least the 1920s, as I have found that brand listed in catalogues. Several websites I've visited suggest it's hard to find much history on that company past the turn of the century and one site listed that manufacture number to 1874. However, treadle machines were in common use even when electric machines became mainstream, as even our school had them in use around 1960 and it was on one of them I started sewing.

It appears to be in really good shape and I notice by the winding mechanism it had a cylinder (long) bobbin, and an older style tension one only found on earlier machines or lower cost later ones. I collect old machines, but am not all that knowledgeable about them, and couldn't narrow a date down more than to about a 40 year range on a machine like that. Try searching out old treadle machine sites...they are numerous on the web and you might find someone especially versed in that company.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 4:54PM
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I learned to sew on an old Singer treadle machine that family lore tells us that my father's aunt(?) used to sew a vest for the original Tom Thumb. I guess the machine was made in the later 1800s, and we used that machine to sew our clothes. I loved the feel of it and the ability to control its speed so easily, but alas it had no buttonholer. We found an adapter in the 1950s to make buttonholes.

The device on the lower right of the machine is a bobbin winder and it looks like there is a thread feeding arm in the front of the winder. I suspect the knob above it is the stitch length setting (number of stitches per inch) and perhaps reverses the direction. The center knob on the large wheel on the right end of the machine lets you turn off the needle action when you wind the bobbin. I am having trouble understanding the three projections on the top of the machine. That knob doesn't make sense, and I can't tell what the wide metal piece is under it. But I wonder if that knob is screwed into the hole by the feed dog plates to hold the sewing guide, and I wonder if that long metal piece under the top knob is perhaps the sewing guide that helps the sewer keep her seams even. Or maybe it is another device, such as a ruffler. The machine is missing the leather belt that fits around the groove next to the big wheel and connects to the treadle.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 4:02PM
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The three knobs are the thread tension. Newer machines had disc tensions, often on the front near the needle. My old Ohio Farmer treadle has a similar tension......actually works pretty well.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 5:39PM
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thanks for all the response and info. I figured it was very old, but in really good shape. The cabinet is very nice and I am hopefully attaching a picture of it for you to see. If you can tell anything further, it would be appreciated. Any idea what they sell for today?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Got to nosing around some reference material on turn of the century machines, and it was suspected that National Sewing Machine Company may have bought out the American Sewing Machine Company sometime between 1890 and 1900. I found a picture of a National machine produced from the 1890s to early 1900s, marketed under the badge of "Home Queen" and sold through the two largest catalogues of the time. It is the spitting image of your machine to the detail and was actually the National Model Vindex B Top Tension. To me that implies, if the machine you have is still labeled the "American", it probably predates the acquisition of the Company who bought American Sewing Machine Company out. And the American Machine Model you have likely became the National Model Vindex B Top Tension produced after 1890. Ergo.......suspect your machine predates 1890 and the tooling making your machine made later versions sold until the early 1900s. Just looking at your cabinet.........I'd have guessed about 1910. But they didn't change styles all that much from the 1890s to about 1915. Here's the link on which I found the duplicate machine to your's and suspected links to the American Sewing Machine Company. Look for models Home Queen of the early 1900s and also the Iowa.

As to value? It's all over the board on working machines of that vintage. I bought mine for 80$ thirty years ago, and could have bought one last fall for 25$, but have seen them go as high as 250$ and up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sears Sewing Machines

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 11:10PM
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That cabinet is constructed just like our old Singer treadle, but the carved decoration is different.

If I were you and had the room to keep it, I would get it back into working order and use it for sewing projects.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 4:00PM
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I have one similar but mine has six drawers and says American on it. Does anybody Know anything about this one? I can't find out much about it.

Thank you

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 8:12PM
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