Assistant Archivist’s Desk #2: Singer Sewing Machine

As a part of our Threads of History seasonal display, we’ve recently brought out a number of items for exhibition in the young woman’s room at the second floor of the Miller House. Among these items is a beautiful 19th century Singer Manufacturing Company Model 66 sewing machine. The Model 66 was produced from around 1902 up until 1956.

Now known as the Singer Corporation, the company has continuously produced sewing machines since it’s founding in 1851. This particular unit, reckoning by the serial number, was produced in March 1923. Electricity in homes was becoming more and more common at this point, however over half of the homes in America still lacked power at this time, and as such this device is operated via a foot pump. This particular arrangement is known as a treadle machine. The machine itself is set into a wooden cabinet which contains both the inner workings of the foot pump as well as myriad drawers and compartments for storing various accessories and sewing supplies. The machine itself is painted glossy black and decorated with a beautiful red and gold pattern known among enthusiasts as the “Red Eye Pattern”, a far cry from the often sleek and minimalist home appliances of today.

To see this and many other items related to the history of home sewing, be sure to visit the Miller House Museum for a tour!

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