Rusty Old Sewing machines

How do old sewing machines fit into the rusty collection? I would say there are several reasons. The first reason is that I needed a sewing machine to do some repairs on the old cars. When I started to look for a sewing machine, I realised an old sewing machine would be strong enough for the fabric and leather of car upholstery. Researching old sewing machines revealed a whole universe of machines, manufacturers and history. And best of all: they were mechanical marvels and very affordable too. 

Here’s a selection:

All Sewing machines

  • Chinese Cobbler machine
    You wouldn’t believe that this contraption is a new “Cobbler” sewing machine we bought only a few years ago. It is a Chinese version of a “Patent Elastique” or “Claes patcher”  leather sewing machine. Though it looks very crude it sews right through thick leather. I used it to sew the canvas roof for the […]
  • Ward Arm & Platform Sewing machine
    Weird and ingenious Ward Arm & Platform  sewing machine was patented in 1873 and produced from 1875 to 1895. By Edward Ward London . The platform hinges downwards to convert the machine into a free arm. 
  • Jones & Co. Serpentine or Swan neck (ca. 1891)
    Jones & Co. Serpentine or Swan neck (ca. 1891) This old lady was probably manufactured around 1892. It is obvious why this is called a “Serpentine“or “Swan neck“machine. 
  • Tailor bird (ca 1950)
    The Tailor bird (ca 1950) This Tailor Bird is a very strange bird. To me it looks as if someone decided to re-design the sewing machine to be lighter and less complicated. The machine recesses into the box nicely and the crank is connected to the machine with a rubber band. The Tailor Bird Sewing […]
  • National Helvetia
    National Helvetia Fiddlebase tells me “Helvetia” was a Swiss manufacturer in Luzern from 1895 to 1966 also connected to the development of the Dutch Fridor machines. This machine seems to have been manufactured a little before 1966. It is a very nice reciprocating shuttle machine. The colour is very similar to our Fridor.
  • Hestia by Helvetia
    Hestia The script on this machine shows “Hestia“. Some sources say this is manufactured by “Helvetia”.  This machine is complete and seems healthy and free. The cabinet is worn, but still very nice. In the little cubby I found a bill for some tea towels dated 1941, so I assume this machine was manufactured before […]
  • Frister & Rossmann Saxonia
    Frister & Rossmann Saxonia High body This is a high body Saxonia type sewing machine by Frister & Rossmann in a coffin type case.  I have been looking for this type of machine for a while now, so what a pleasant surprise! Very different from the Singer type machines. There are obvious similarities,  but interesting […]
  • Elna Grasshopper 1946
    The Elna When you start reading about the history of sewing machines you can’t miss the brilliant Elna Grasshopper electric free arm machine. It is so much smaller and lighter than the old cast iron machines. I understand it must be the first electric lightweight free arm household machine. This one was built in 1946 according to the […]
  • Elna 2 supermatic zigzag 1958
    Elna 2 supermatic zigzag 1958 This 1958 two tone green machine is the second version of the Elna2. Much larger than the little Grasshopper. This is a full zigzag machine. Drive is supplied by a rubber wheel that develops a flat spot. This machine does have the flat spot, but is is not too bad, […]
  • Elna Lotus (ca.1970)
    A much later Elna is the small Elna Lotus from ca 1970. All accessories fit inside the machine and the sides fold like a lotus flower. Hence the name “Lotus”. Note how small it is compared to the usual Japanese sewing machine case.
  • General Electric Sewhandy( ca 1930)
    General Electric Sewhandy( ca 1930) Some say it’s the ancestor to the Singer featherlight machines. But it was first made by Standard in 1928. This later machine we found is complete except for the powercord and the box insert to store accessories. But still it is a wonderful find.
  • Borletti (ca 1958)
    The Borletti (ca 1958) Another interesting machine is this ca 1958 Borletti 1090 from Italy, Designed by Mark Zanusso. This particular machine is the basic straight stitch version.
  • Singer 12 K New Family 1887 & 1877
    Two Singer 12 sewing machines Of course every collection needs a Singer. This is the Singer 12K New Family. Built in 1887  Even comes with some spare needles!  Singer 12K New Family. Built in 1877. This must be the oldest machine in the collection.


  • Singer 128k Dutch user Manual PDF
    Here’s the well worn Dutch language version of the manual for our 1913 Singer 128k
  • Singer 12 New Family 1898 Dutch Manual PdF
  • Singer 128 1913
    This is a nice Singer 128 manufactured at the Clydebank factory in the second half of 1913.
  • Singer 12 New Family 1898
    Two Singer sewing machines were very kindly donated to the Rusty collection Sewing Machine section. The first is a Singer Twelve New Family, Manufactured in 1898, making this the latest of our three Twelves. Though dusty and slightly damp, the decorations on this machine are mostly in good condition. Here you can browse the Dutch Singer […]
  • Singer lock stitch toy sewing machine
    This plastic Singer lock stitch toy sewing machine from the late 1960. This machine makes a full lock stitch unlike the chain stitch most of the other miniature machines do. It uses a transparent version of the boat shaped transverse “vibrating” shuttle very much like the ancient Singer 12.
  • Singer 15 NL-K “Nostalgia” series Taiwan 1970s
    The Singer 15 NL-K machine manufactured in the Singer factory in Taiwan in the Seventies as a “Nostalgia”series. This one was not used much. It looks like a brand-new old Singer 15. Quality is not as good as the old ones though, very clunky this one. The old ones are smooth even with quite a […]
  • Singer 201K Alloy version1956
    This is the alloy version of the classic Singer 201K. Manufactured in 1956
  • Singer 221K Featherweight (Centennial) 1951
    Singer 221k featherweight 1950/1951 sewing machine with centennial badge This Singer 221k featherweight Centennial Badge sewing machine is different from the other Singers. Very small and very capable. According to the serial number, this machine was manufactured in 1950, but there is a very nice badge celebrating a century of sewing service from 1851 to […]
  • Singer 99K 1955
    The little brother to the 66K. Delicious electric Singer 1955 99k. The little brother to the 66K. Here you can see the difference in size!
  • Singer 66K 1927
     The big and strong 1927 Singer 66K Most sewing machines were expensive so often they were paid for in installments. This is a 1914 Singer 66D installment book dated 1914.
  • Singer 15D Treadle Ca. 1910
    Classic Ca. 1910 Singer 15D Treadle. Made in Germany. Another design that was copied by many manufacturers all over the world.
  • Singer 127K Vibrating shuttle machine 1925
    1925 Singer 127K Vibrating shuttle machine. Spot the differences to the 28k.
  • Singer 28k Vibrating shuttle machine Ca 1894
    Ca 1894 Singer 28k Vibrating shuttle machine. Probably one of the most copied machines in the world.
  • Singer 12 K New Family 1887 & 1877
    Two Singer 12 sewing machines Of course every collection needs a Singer. This is the Singer 12K New Family. Built in 1887  Even comes with some spare needles!  Singer 12K New Family. Built in 1877. This must be the oldest machine in the collection.