I have had this treadle machine for more than 20 years. Mom got it from my Great Aunt Albia’s farm-house and passed it on to me, since I was the quilter in the family. I never saw the machine in action, Aunt Albia was too busy with the farm and feeding us when we came to visit. Oh, the meals she cooked…and baked goods, wonderful yeast breads, but this post is about the treadle…..
I think it was used for everyday sewing and mending since she didn’t have a stash of fabric to clear out, just a few pieces of denim…I think for patching up her boys overalls. The farm-house had a crank telephone well into the sixties, and a really cool milk separator in the back room. The treadle was in the good parlor, a room off-limits to just about everyone except maybe the minister. I liked the kitchen best, it smelled wonderful.
So, I checked the drawers and found a coupon for a free cleaning and adjustment dated 1938, and the instruction book. I oiled everything on the head, reconnected the belt (seems pretty loose) and looked for the bobbins. Thankfully I have 4…..skinny flat bobbins that surely don’t hold much thread…especially that antiquated thick thread that was on the machine. J & P Coats Best Six Cord. 325 yards for 29 cents! The foot pedal treadle was very stiff so I oiled that, too. Time to give it a whirl.
Check this baby out!
It is a Wheeler & Wilson # 9 and the throat plate has patent numbers that date from the turn of the century…..1888! All machines pretty much thread in the same manner, but this one has a couple of extra tensioniers….and the takeup lever has a slot (not an eyelet) that is threaded from the top…down! It took a little playing, but she sews..a nice stitch that needs a bit of tweaking.
I doubt that I will ever make a quilt on this machine, but I am going to get her all adjusted and fix up the tension with good thread. Maybe play around a bit…getting the feet going and the wheel turning to the back…away from me…aiming the fabric in a straight path…seems simple enough!
Maybe if I sit at it long enough I’ll be able to cook like Great Aunt Albia.