Monday, April 16, 2012

Antique & Vintage Sewing Machine Collection

I thought I would start this post with this eye catching blue toy/miniature sewing machine. Isn't she a beauty? Ok now I have your attention sit back and enjoy a few photos, with a little bit of info too.

We were very lucky to have local collector Bruce Sowry bring some of his sewing machine collection & speak at our club meeting last Saturday. I asked him if he could pick a couple of his favourites to hold while I took his photo. I really enjoyed listening to him speaking as he has a real passion for sewing machines and collecting. The stories of his finding bargains at garage sales, to chasing certain machines for years was very entertaining.

Some of Mr Sowry's collection, toy sewing machines in front.

The toy/miniature machines really appeal to me the most. The little machine in the centre is a Muller (made in Germany). Muller was the first company to ever make toy machines and this is one of their earliest models. So you could say it it the Mother of all these machines.

This machine still has the original box it came in.

There was an interesting story about this 'Bernina' apparently it was made in Nelson by a man who then sold them to shops so they could put there own brand name on them. Unfortunately the design was a copy of an Elna I think and as he hadn't asked permission to use the design, he had to stop selling them!

This machine is rare because it has been 'electrified' so that the toy could be sold as a portable sewing machine. Mr Sowry said that the instruction book was unusual as it was intact, and not covered in holes. He said it was very common to find books that have needle holes all around the edges, as children were rarely given fabric to sew with, so they sewed holes into the books instead!

Isn't this singer a beauty? I love it has its own seam guide and original box.

I love this fire engine red Vulcan.

This full size sewing machine had the most beautiful mother of pearl work. Mr Sowry said that this would have been a special order machine for a rich client. He estimated that when new a machine without this decoration would have been about 5 pounds, but with the decoration it would have been between 10 to 15 pounds! So that's a lot of extra money for the decoration.

Love the arch shape on this one.

This is one of Mr Sowry's favourites and probably the most valuable of his collection. He chased this sale for several years. The previous owner did not want to sell for many years, and then when she did, Mr Sowry's best offer was well below an Australian collectors. After being sure he had missed out, he was contacted by the lady's son who said his mother had decided she didn't want it leaving the country, so a deal was done!

Club members were asked to bring their oldest sewing machine for Mr Sowry to see. This little plastic toy was one of the machines bought along, the card says 'bought in New York, at least 65 years old'. Obviously it has been a treasured keepsake to still be here today.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the machines on display.


  1. Thank you! These are fabulous! Now I wouldn't mind a few of them myself ;-)
    Some a re similar to the miniatures one I bought off Trademe awhile ago.
    I bet it was interesting to hear the stories & his passion for the machines.

  2. How fascinating - great that you got so many photos to share with us all!

  3. Great photos and great old machines. I love the ones where you need to turn the handle, though that must have made it one handed sewing unless one had a slave doing the turning.

  4. Wow! That's like the world's best show & tell!

  5. What a fabulous collection! How lucky you were to see it.

  6. Nice collections of sewing machine. I am very excited to read your blog post.  Family Sewing Machine


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