Authored by Daniel Sanders from Four Sales Ltd - Jul 14, 2012
Antique sewing machines are a collector’s dream and aren’t always easy to find. Estate sales are one place where they can be found regularly!
Sewing machines have been produced since the late 1700’s as a way to inexpensively make large quantities of garments to sell. These futuristic contraptions weren’t patented until 1854 in the United States. The first sewing machines were built noticeably different as the fabric was held vertically; these rare industrial pieces can only be found in museums. There were hundreds of designs and dozens of producers as time progressed, and only one patent for the best machine. Inventors started stealing each other’s ideas and it became a mad dash to see who would receive the patent, at one point there were five inventors working together on one prototype. The machines were produced and sold for $15 USD a piece, but of course only the rich could buy this luxury. Because of the price, it wasn’t practical for all households to have them until the Singer brand electric machines came along in 1899. These antique technology pieces have been desired by collectors for some time. The rarest ones cost a pretty penny when auctioned or sold to other collectors. Each Singer machine can be identified as such because of the engraved nameplate, which changed from being painted gold in the early years of production to being left whatever the color of the machine was produced. In other words – be on the lookout for a Singer with the gold nameplate!
Finding these rare machines in estate sales is realistic and has been done many times before. Reading up on era of production and specific antique brands will allow you to better price the item. Note that the rarity of the item could be solely based on production of the technology and not just the time-frame from which it was produced.
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