It took a bit of wrangling, but we managed to slide her into the back seat of my car and take her home. She looks like a portable Featherweight, but she is most definitely attached to that table with its spindly legs.
Once in the house, I gave her a good look. I checked the serial number on Singer’s website and dated her manufacture to 1955. This surprised me, as the 1959 machine my mother had given me a few years before wasn’t nearly so attractive as this one.
SINGER SEWING COMPANY
“AM” Series Register Numbers
Factory Name: Elizabethport
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Letter / From – To: AM- / 000001 – 017250
Machine Class (Model No.): 15
Quantity Alloted: 17250
Date Alloted: February 24
Year Alloted: 1955
Looking over the wiring, which was covered in a grimy layer of dust, I was afraid to even turn her on. She sat for weeks with a stack of books on top, dutifully fulfilling a very practical purpose (the phone having found another home in the meantime). Once in a while my son and I would clean her off and open her up, just to look at her.
“Can I have the machine in my room so I can practice sewing?” my son asked.
“I’m not so sure about that wiring. I don’t want you to be goofing around on that and have it set the room on fire. That would be bad,” I cringed.
“It’ll be fine. Looks okay to me,” he said, examining for loose or exposed wires.
“Nope, she stays here,” I said firmly. “One of these days we’ll get her checked out, then we’ll talk.”
A month later I hired a man to help me sew my purses. Frustrated with how poorly my more advanced machines were performing, I figured maybe it was simply a problem of me not being strong enough. Perhaps someone with experience in sewing heavy fabrics and leather might be more able to get through the process. Jacob had that experience in spades and lived within bicycling distance.
On his first visit to the home studio, Jacob asked about my machines. I showed him the Pfaff I’d been using, plus the Janome and other Singer I had on a shelf.
“And then there’s this one, but I think she’s too old to be much use.” I cleared off the stack of books, flipped open the lid and let Jacob take a look.
“Nope, this one’s good to go. Set it up over there by the window where the light is good. This is the one I’ll use.”
Well okay, then.
Next up, Part III, where she shows us what she’s got.