I acquired my first antique, people-powered machine, the Household Treadle in early January, 2013. I immediately began to research for information about how to restore it, how to repair and maintain, how to use, where it came from, etc. I quickly found the ISMACS web site and then TreadleOn. I had joined both e-mail lists and started working on quilt blocks for a TOBE (a TreadleOn Block Exchange). Then, I went to visit my cousin for the weekend. On Day One, took a day drive, antique store and photo safari through the Sierra Nevada foothills north of her home in West Sacramento. I saw a couple of interesting treadle machines, but treadles are a pretty big space commitment and my house is small. But on Day Two, we spent several hours at an incredible Antique Fair under the freeway in downtown Sacramento. In the very last booth, at the very last table, I spied this coffin-topped case. Unveiled, here was a beautiful old hand crank machine decorated with anchors and voluptuous mermaids. I had to have her!
Of all my antique acquisitions, this machine needed the least cleaning and was up and running as soon as the dust was off. And, I use this machine frequently. I named her Nixie (from the German nixen for mermaid). She is an Anker Model 0, (per the “O” on the inside of the pillar) and I believe she dates from around 1910. She is just a solid, quiet, reliable, smooth running little machine.
This machine has just about the best decals of any of my 100+ year-old machines. The woodwork on the base is lovely, with the usual “measuring tape” inlay in the top:
This machine has a different long bobbin style from My Household or Singer long bobbins. This one has a hole in one end that engages with a pin on the bobbin winder. Nixie came with two “bullet” style shuttles and five long bobbins. The machine drawer also held a couple of hemmers, a seam guide and a bunch of needles. I found a vintage Anker attachments tin on e-Bay that came with a number of other attachments, typical for a low-shank machine of its day.