Singer 66K Treadle Sewing Machine

Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

Model 66K

June 1937

Kilbowie Factory, Clydebank, Scotland

I was fortunate to come across this Cabinet Treadle Sewing Machine in a local 2nd hand shop. It was in a bit of a state, but I thought it had potential. I paid for it and then in the time it took for me to go and get my car to load the machine in, the 2 men in the shop had broken the belt trying to fold the machine down into the cabinet!

Deep breath . . .

When I got the machine home it became quite apparent that it hadn't been used in a REALLY long time. It had probably been stored in someone's shed with a dirt floor. The wheels and treadle plate were caked in mud. That, though, was the least of the problems . . . the inner workings had pretty much seized up. And the cabinet itself had water damage to the top - probably where a pot plant had been standing.

I spent the best part of 2 days spraying the inner parts of the machine with WD40 - applying, waiting, cleaning, applying again. Eventually, all our effort was rewarded by . . . moving parts! Now this is a machine that has, for me, a special charm. But that said, she's nowhere near pristine condition. Aside from the (I'm sure) long period of being stored (or at least not used), I think this machine did her own fair share of work in her day!

The paint is dull.

The decals are faded.

The cabinet needs re-finishing.

But . . .

The belt's been repaired.

The treadle mechanism has been cleaned and adjusted.

The parts all move as they should.

After some adjusting, she sews like a dream - fabulous tension and stitches.

She has that gentle rhythm that treadles have.

Her metalwork is beautiful - the face plate has lovely scroll work.

And when she's not called into service for actual sewing, she doubles as a computer desk . . .

So while I'm busy browsing or typing I can still enjoy the gentle treadle!

The cabinet still needs to be restored, but that's a job for another day. The main thing is that the machine works wonderfully. It's a bit of a learning curve to actually sew (as opposed to just treadling!!!) - a bit like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time - but well worth the practise.


Treadle On

How to Treadle

Sewing Machine History

General Information

ISMACS – International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society

1 comment:

Jude Wright said...

Hi Sue,
I have her sister, also made in June 1937. She was given to me when I bought a spinning wheel and had been left on a veranda for many years.
I have named her Prudence and she sews like a dream. My daughter is currently restoring another one (from 1946) for her own use.
Thank you for the story, its great to see there are more of the old girls still working.

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