The Treadle Machine—my 100th Post!

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.

Posted in Just rambling, Quilts
2 comments on “The Treadle Machine—my 100th Post!
  1. Valerie says:

    Love your treadle. I also have one in a very 1920s cabinet. I haven’t gotten it to work yet, but I should try again. Looking forward to that peace Lynne mentions.

  2. lynne quinsland says:

    i went to kansas to pick up my grandmother’s treadle this past summer. i also went to jamesport, mo. to amish country and got 25 different solids for a BEAUTIFUL amish quilt that i stitched on the treadle. what a work of joy and peace. i need to get some more fabric though because i miscut ALL of the border pieces thinking i needed 1 1/2 inch strips when i really needed 2 inch…..the borders are made of log cabin blocks…, hopefully within the next few months i will get my act together and get my scrappy samples sent into the amish quilt store so they can cut and send me what i need. i do hope that you will pick something to make on your treadle. it is just such a cool connection to the past generations, and is sooooo peaceful…..

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