Friday, June 6, 2014

Treadle Me This

This machine is a riddle, a mystery, an enigma, and I would love it if someone has any information they can provide about it. 
Arlington treadle machine
It's my Dad's treadle machine that he can't recall now as to whether it was his Mom's or his Grandma's.  I wrote a little about it last summer, and you can read that here.  It's in a beautiful oak cabinet which needs a little bit of TLC, mostly on the top, and a good polish or oil rub.  The machine inside is an Arlington.  I have searched and searched and searched and cannot find anything of significance to help me learn who the manufacturer was or any other related history.  

I was in the local quilt shop here in the wet land - ok, well right now it isn't very wet and in fact it's warming up nicely and will be that way for quite a few days before we see any more of that wet stuff, and while looking around, noticed there are a LOT of antique machines of all types both in and out of cabinets all around the quilt store, but none are Arlingtons.  I asked the man whom I was directed to as the one who acquired them all and was the resident 'expert'.  I showed him the pictures I'd taken - the same ones I'm posting here, but he knew nothing about it.  He offered to make something up for me though - good sense of humor, I much preferred his honesty though.
Rather than wires to raise the machine, it has these metal bars, of which one has "Patd. Mar 27, 1900" so it's a fair guess, and good deductive reasoning, that the machine was made after that date.  That still wouldn't help me decide whether it might be his mother's or his grandmother's.
The plate has this slit in it all the way through for about a 1" length and 1/4" from the left side.  I asked the gent at the quilt store and he said that was so that it could be 'opened' a hair to give a snug fit should it loosen and fall out when the machine was closed up and put away.  Hmmm, sounds possible, but was that now a made up story? Anyone know?
There is a serial number, but this and the patent number on the above rod are the only other information on the machine.
This is the shuttle loaded with a bobbin, in place.  In looking around the web I saw this is called a vibrating shuttle.
These are three of the four bobbins.  How old is that thread?  Some of it had unrolled and become tangled and I had a tough time breaking it with my hands.
Yes, some cleaning would be in order here as well as the whole machine.  This is where the bobbins get wound.
Nothing of significance here.
No decoration on the end plate, but it's free of rust and wear and tear.
The decals are all in great shape and it really doesn't look like it saw a tremendous amount of use.
After a VERY short test-drive, stitches were even and straight, but the tension appears to be off slightly.  It probably hasn't been used in 30 - 50 years! and the belt broke.

A bird's-eye view.

 The 'belt' is leather and it's held together with that small C-shaped clamp.  I removed the threads and I think they weren't supposed to be there but were the product of some past sewing effort.
Here you can see that the leather belt split open...there went my further attempts to keep sewing on the machine.  When I was at the quilt store, I asked about these and the gent said they keep them in stock; he new right away what I needed when I showed him and said leather.  He said they were in the $14 + change range.  I didn't get one yet but may before I leave to head back south.

And a close-up of the decal on the top.
The fate of this machine is still a little up in the air.  As this is my Dad's, technically my STEP-Dad's, one brother prefers that its ownership remain on that side of the family.  I can understand that, but at the same time, it IS my Dad's to do with as he pleases.  He has said I could have it, and even told me to take it south with me back in March, but I'm not sure the ensuing family strife would be worth it, so my brother and I have discussed it and he would be ok with me taking it as long as I promise to put in my will that should he die before me, that it then go to his son.  I could do that. 

1 comment:

  1. Lee, do you belong to the "Treadle On" Yahoo email group? Because over the last few days there has been some posts there about Arlington machines.


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