Sunday, June 19, 2011


Last week, my husband and I celebrated one of the major anniversaries and he gave me this gift. As a quirky habit, I name all my antique sewing machines and I call this one Tabitha.

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.


  1. Congratulations on your anniversary. What a beautiful machine. You are so right about the decals. They are in such good condition. Enjoy Tabitha. Hugs, Christine

  2. Happy Anniversary! My husband asked me what I was oohing and ahhing over! Tabitha is gorgeous.

  3. What a husband! Tabitha is a complete package for certain. Enjoy and Happy Anniversary to the two of you.

    Smiles - Valerie

  4. Wow what a machine! She's a beauty. The doll is from the 20's-30's. Probably won as a carnival prize. Sometimes they come with little holes in their hair to hold a ribbon. They were made in japan and had a paper label stating that.

  5. What a fabulous post Kimber. It truly is a beautiful machine and in such a lovely cabinet too. I think your husband is a treasure too. I saw something similar in a shop near to me and they were asking a lot of money.

  6. Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful machine - thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Wow your machine is beautiful. What a treasure.
    So nice of your husband to do that.

  8. Tabitha is a beauty! Glad she was adopted into a good home. :)

  9. Congrats on a special anniversary! Tabitha is a beauty!!A lovely gift!

  10. Happy Anniversary!! The sewing machien is gorgeous and in such great condition!! Congrats!

  11. Beautiful machine - by the way, the pincushion doll is a 'googly-eyed' and from the 1920s/30s - probably made in Japan - the highest quality came from Germany. Most of the German ones are numbered around the waist area, and marked 'Made in Germany'. They were inexpensive novelties in their day (on the whole) but very expensive now as they are highly collected, especially by collectors in the US. I used to have a huge collection of mainly Art Deco pincushion dolls - but sold them on years ago. Most of the best went to the US, and some featured in the Half Doll books by Marc and Shona Lorrin. Sorry for banging on! I used to love them!

  12. Tabitha is like a work of art! I think she was meant for you and your home.
    What a beautiful anniversary gift.
    Thank you for sharing.

  13. O my!
    Tabitha is a dream! She's so lovely! What a lucky woman you are to have a wonderful husband give you such a treasure!
    Congrats and Happy Anniversary!

  14. Thanks for your kind comments, everyone. And a special thank you to Denise and Cupcake Cottons for the info on my pincushion doll. I had no idea she was from Japan. I really love it that you can find so much knowledge out there in the blogging world!

  15. I just got a machine similar for my birthday. I have to get a new leather belt for it as it was way too loose. I'm still trying to get the bobbin to work. It's fantastic that yours works already and that the cabinet and decals were in such nice shape.

  16. Tabitha is a beauty!! I have never seen a faceplate that looks like that-it is stunning.

    I name all my sewing machines too, so I understand. :)

  17. GORGEOUS sewing machine. Especially the cabinet. I've never seen such a beauty!!!
    Enjoyed visiting you today on my birthday!

  18. I was able to find this cabinet/machine at my local "Restore" and am looking for help in replacing a few details - first of all how on earth does the mortised area in the lid aid in lifting the machine? It is sooooo pretty! Any advice will be appreciated -

  19. It is now 2015 and I recently purchased a New Home Series C, High Arm, Disc Tension, Vibrating Shuttle Machine. Read your post tonight. I have the warranty, the packing tag, and manual. However, do you have any idea how old it is?

  20. Congratulations on the event and present. Lovely machine and drawing room cabinet! I have the same machine and decals, but with the grayhound/whippet added to the a flowers. My treadle cabinet is a twiggy New Home. It belonged to the seller's grandmother.

  21. Beautiful machine. I have the same one in a parlor cabinet, manufactured in 1899 and would like to use it but need the assistance of a manual. Could you provide a scanned copy if I provide my email address? Thanks.


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