One Man’s Trash

Carry CaseFly tipping is a pet hate of mine. I seem to encounter it more than ever since getting the dogs and heading out down country lanes more than I used to. It makes me feel a bit sick that people are so lazy or indifferent about the effects of dumping their unwanted items. When I learnt that a heap of rubbish had appeared on the edge of Clumber Park, where the dogs are walked on weekday mornings, I was saddened. But this wasn’t your usual pile of refuse; sofa cushions and old tyres. Beside a cheap mahogany table lay a curved, wooden dome-shaped box. Carefully kept key
At home I was surprised to find the key was still intact, and tied safely to the handle of the box. The cord was cut and the box opened, revealing a beautiful vintage Singer sewing machine. Other than a small hole in the case, the machine was in good condition. I gave it a clean and a wipe with some antibacterial spray. It had that old, fusty smell that something gets after a long time locked away at the back of a garage or up in a loft. I separated the case, stand and machine and spread it out in front of the radiator to air off. Inside the little storage section was a crude screwdriver, an old toothbrush (an effective lint remover, I imagine) and  a few old pins. I discarded all but the screwdriver. Atop the machine was an attractive old cotton reel filled with khaki coloured cotton. The needle was still threaded, as if the machine had been waiting patiently, ready for the next time it was called upon.
Still ready to stitch I already have one vintage Singer, which is currently up in my own loft, but I imagine is a fairly similar model. I know where that one came from, and who it belonged to, but I quite like the mystery that comes with this ‘new’ machine. I can’t help but feel sad to think that this machine, once, belonged to someone who looked after it. What projects did they create on this machine? What were they sewing with that khaki coloured thread? I also have a distinct suspicion that somewhere there must have been a sewing box, likely filled with more wooden bobbins and sewing paraphernalia. Somewhat sadly, these items were not deposited on the edge of the woods. I’ve blogged before about how personal someone’s sewing basket seems to be, but I feel much the same about a machine, especially when you consider the hours a sewist spends stitching. Intricate Engraving
I don’t need this machine, by any stretch of the imagination – it brings my total to four. I’m also aware it’s not particularly valuable, machines of this sort seem readily available in charity shops and at vintage centres. So, for now, I’ll keep it, because, to me at least, it’s much closer to treasure than trash.
Serial Number
Good working order


22 thoughts on “One Man’s Trash

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  1. I’m glad it’s found a good home. After my mum died I brought her machine home but that meant I really did have to part with one. If you decide four machines is one too many (?!) I found a charity (tools with a purpose I think) who were thrilled to take one and find it a new home where it would be loved, treasured and, most importantly, used.

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  2. Hi, what a beautiful machine, you’re right in terms of monetary value, old Singers aren’t worth much, (I picked one up one gumtree last year for £20, which dates back to 1905, but had a motor & no end plate, but I still love it), but they are great workhorses and yours is a thing of beauty with that silver end plate. It’s hard to believe anyone would dump such a thing, but as you say; lazy & indifferent! I don’t know if you already know this but you can put in the serial number into the ISMACS database & it’ll tell you the year & where it was manufactured.

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    1. Hello, thank you for the lovely comment & thank you for the info on the website, I will definitely look it up. I’m sure I’ve heard machines like these are much better at sewing things like leather. I’m pleased you love yours too 😊


  3. Well done to you for rescuing it. My first sewing machine was just like this one, in the 1980’s I made many a festoon blind on it, I could get up quite a speed on a long seam!! I so wish I had kept it.

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  4. I’m so glad you rescued it and hope you find a deserving home for it soon, even if you have no need for another sewing machine yourself. I learned to sew on my Gran’s hand cranked machine myself and would love to find one in a charity shop. There’s something about getting back to basics with such an old machine that is very special and rewarding.

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  5. So glad you rescued this! Like you I’m so drawn to the history and mystery of things like this. I’m sure the original owner would have been horrified to hear it had just been dumped unceremoniously at the side of the road 😦 That cotton reel all threaded up and sitting patiently is just too sad… Well done for going back to rescue it. Even if you decide not to keep it, it will now hopefully get a more deserving home 🙂

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    1. I know, it’s so undignified to just be discarded like that, and I guess is hugely symptomatic of a shift in attitudes over the last 100 years – I imagine this was a prized possession when it was new. It’s sitting happily on my window sill now 😊

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  6. The hand crank machines are great if you loose power or just want to sew somewhere power isn’t available. I never think of sewing though when we have lost power recently. Your find is in a lot better shape than mine. Abandoned sewing machines and crafting supplies get to me, and a bunch of other crafters too so you’re not alone there!

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