Antique Singer Sewing Machine - Model No. 15
Above is a photo of an antique Singer sewing machine, a family heirloom. My mother passed it to me; she got it from her father. The original owner was his mother -- my great-grandmother. Until recently, I didn't know too much else about the machine other than my mother and grandmother did actually use it for home sewing and that it would probably still work, if it had a belt. The machine shows a good bit of wear -- a good portion of the gold detail is missing from the front and some of the pieces are a bit rusted. I suspect it may have spent a good deal of time stored in the attic or garage once it was replaced by an electric model. The cabinet is in very good condition.
I received this piece when I moved to my current home in 1998. I always intended to do some research about the machine, find a belt and maybe restore it to working condition, but I've never gotten around to doing all that. I did go through the accessories and mount them in a shadowbox which is displayed in the same room where the sewing machine resides (also known as my "Westie Wing"; conventionally known as "the formal living room" where there is very little activity).
The manual identifies this as Singer Sewing Machine No. 15 (with Attachments No.35918) Lock Stitch, for Family Use. The inside of the cover indicates a copyright date of 1915 and shows a picture of the machine stand (and also identifies the machine as having an oscillating shuttle):
I've done a quick search online for more information about antique Singer sewing machines. I discovered that the serial number could identify the place and time period the machine was manufactured. The serial number on my machine begins with a G5xxxxxx -- this indicates it was made between 1916-1918 in Elizabeth, NJ (search for International Sewing Machine Collectors Society). It seems this particular model was very popular.
From the Singer Sewing Co. website, Serial Number support page (active page link no longer exists) - G Series listing of Register numbers: This machine was "born" on January 3, 1918 and was part of a lot of 50,000 model 15 machines.
Visit the Singer website and search for "serial number" to find the manufacture dates; visit their Support page for manuals and how to find the model number.
At the time I was searching for information (November 2007), I also found a couple of eBay listings with virtually the identical cabinet which is described as being a 7-drawer cabinet, made from tiger oak with Art Nouveau carvings.
Some other informative links: (I'll add to the list if I find any others:
- About the Values of Antique Singer Sewing Machines << link added July 2010
- How to Restore Antique Treadle Sewing Machines << link added November 2010
- Singer Online Manuals - Vintage Sewing Machines blog << link added December 2012
- How Much is My Sewing Machine Worth? | Singer.com << link added October 2020
Parting shot: Several years ago I stitched this counted cross stitch design called Sew Many Memories by Sue Hillis designs. It's not an exact replica, but it's a pretty good likeness.