I had spotted her in an antique mall a little over a month ago but couldn't justify buying her. So when Tom asked me what I wanted for our special day, she naturally came to mind. After all, I would much rather get a lovely antique sewing machine than traditional gifts like flowers or jewelry. He went back to the shop, negotiated a price that fit our budget, and set her up for me in our parlor. She just fits this nook. It's amazing what you can squeeze into a space when you really want to!
There was something about this treadle sewing machine that spoke to me. Not only was Tabitha in good working order with all the necessary attachments, she has her lovely original decals which are still in very good condition considering her age.
I especially liked her faceplate's elegant design.
Inside these drawers were sewing supplies left over from the previous owner...
...and thankfully, the original label. Thanks to it, I know that Tabitha dates to August 1902.
The other door houses the built-in bobbin holders...
Here's what it looks like when the cabinet is closed.
Thank goodness Tabitha also came with her original manual, which features this illustration of the New Home Sewing Machine Company factory. The manual has come in handy as I learn how to thread the machine and wind the bobbin. Yes, I really do want to learn how to use it! After working on a Bernina for years, it felt a bit odd at first to stitch on a 109-year-old machine. But I actually find it quite relaxing and a refreshing change from the high-tech sewing machines of today.
Tabitha has also given me an opportunity to exercise my love of researching things. I'd heard of the New Home Sewing Machine Company but didn't know much about its history. After doing a little research, I found out that its predecessor—the Gold Medal Sewing Machine Company—was established in 1860 in Orange, Massachusetts. In 1882, it was reorganized and renamed the New Home Sewing Machine Company. Their trademark was a greyhound with the legend, "Light Running New Home".
I enjoy collecting vintage ephemera, including old sewing machine advertisements. Here are a couple New Home ads from my collection.
1n 1927, New Home merged with the Free Sewing Machine Company and was eventually absorbed by Janome, a Japanese corporation, in 1957. I couldn't find a lot of information on the parlor cabinet model, which I have, but plan to keep digging. When Tabitha is not in use, I display her with one of my reproduction doll quilts.
You might have noticed the vintage pincushion doll in some of the previous pics in this post. I don't know what era she comes from, so if any of you have any clue, I'd love to know. Feel free to write me at the email button on my sidebar.