We work in wood, and a few months ago we went to our local picker to see what he had available… John sometimes fixes furniture bits for him, and he is always very helpful when we visit. I got a large basket I love, but we also found an old sewing machine cabinet that needed restoration. John was going to take the machine out and create a base in it to make a storage cabinet for whatever. The cabinet itself was all wood and looked to be mahogany. It would look lovely in any room, so we took it home.
But we did find a Vintage White Family Rotary sewing machine inside which was in pretty good condition, and I think it might actually work. So we decided to restore the mahogany cabinet and get it ready for someone interested in restoring old vintage machines.
If you have been with me a while, you will remember I got a somewhat angry message on our Etsy shop about making tables out of old sewing machines and just junking the machines. She told me there were a bunch of vintage machines users and collectors out there who hated to see the separation of the machine form the cabinet. So this Bud’s for them!!!
Here are the pictures of the little lady FR 3378552
This cabinet is called a Martha Washington Cabinet from a style used by Martha in the 1700s. She enjoyed knitting and sewing and stored her materials and work in a similarly styled cabinet. Of course, there were no sewing machines at that time. The first sewing machine was made by Singer around the 1850s.
Here is more about the history of the Martha Washington Cabinet Sewing Machine.
“The first machine to combine all the disparate elements of the previous half-century of innovation into the modern sewing machine was the device built by English inventor John Fisher in 1844, thus a little earlier than the very similar machines built by Isaac Merritt Singer in 1851, and the lesser known Elias Howe, in 1845. However, due to the botched filing of Fisher’s patent at the Patent Office, he did not receive due recognition for the modern sewing machine in the legal disputations of priority with Singer, and it was Singer who won the benefits of the patent.”- Wiki
We believe it is possible this cabinet and machine were bought separately, but they both are from the 1920s. In fact, I found a reference for the Martha Washington Cabinet being made in Toledo Ohio in the 1920s by theCowan Manufact. Co.
So here are a few pictures of this restored baby and her sewing machine. MInd you, she is nearly 100 Years old!!!
I have read about people taking the cabinet alone to use as nightstands without even making a bottom for it; as John was going to do. You always have the two side cubbies for storage. I could see the cabinet in a foyer, the living room lamp table, etc, but we are giving the Vintage Sewing People a chance to reclaim her.
I believe the White machine was purchased in the 1920s because I have the sale slip from the woman who bought the machine. How unreal is that? You age the machine by its serial number, but I cannot find a listing for this number. Singer’s are much easier to date because there is much more detailed paperwork online about the Singer models.
I cleaned the machine and rubbed a bit of wax on her to shine her up, but the machine itself requires a deep clean and a refurb of the wires and pedal to get it going. The hand wheel is free, and the machine is not locked up so maybe someone can get her going.
I appeal to all those out there who love these vintage machines to give her a good look.
I have posted a video online to Instagram about the stuff we found in the side compartments. A little treasure chest of the original instruction book and various attachments and a little oil can…so sweet.
There was a bunch of attachment and other bits n pieces in the side compartment along with sales slip and manual.
And finally my favorite treasure- there was a little sewing machine oil can…Great surprise!!!
So the Martha project is now complete and ready for someone who will appreciate her. We w offered this baby for sale on Facebook Marketplace, Vintage Sewing Machine Centers. Will try to Pinterest her too. We sold this machine to a woman in Ohio. Her son came and picked it up. I do so hope she got it to work!!!
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed some of this…let me know.
Take good care,