Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vintage Thingie Thursday--Sewing Machine Table

Twelve years ago when we bought the house my grandparents had lived in, we "inherited" several pieces of furniture that no one in the family needed or had room for, one of which is this vintage sewing machine table. I'm not sure how old it is, but they had a house fire in the late 1950's and this piece survived that.

As you can see, it suffered quite a bit of damage--the varnish and veneer are badly blistered on the top.

The inside, while still damaged, gives a hint of how smooth and shiny it once was.

If you click on this picture and enlarge it, you can clearly see the water stains in the soot. (All underneath a thick coating of dust--I should have least tried to clean it up a little before I took this picture!)

At one time you could still lift the sewing machine up and lock it into place. The metal parts are all still there, but the rubber and electrical components are melted. We took it loose from the fasteners once, trying to see if my hand-me-down sewing machine, circa 1960's, could be put in it's place, but the hardware didn't match up. I hope to correct that--someday!

One thing that I thought was unique about this particular machine set-up, is that it doesn't have a foot pedal--there's a metal thingie underneath it that you fold down, and you pressed it with your knee or thigh to make the sewing machine go. (It's underneath the machine, and without it being fastened I just couldn't figure how to lift it up and hold it and take a picture of that part by myself!)

These drawers (sorry too full of junk to photograph opened) are completely unscathed inside--one of them has little pegs built in along one side to organize thread.

In my grandmother's day, she used this as a sort of end table next to her favorite chair, and the drawers held whatever quilt pieces she was currently working on, along with her crossword and word search puzzle books. The top was usually covered by a pretty towel, which always had needles stuck in the end that hung over beside her, and a table lamp that she used when she was "piecing scraps" or reading her Bible or doing her puzzle books.

It's currently in my kitchen at home, decorated and used during the holidays as the "goodie" table; the rest of year as a "landing pad" to drop mail and whatever other odds and ends we bring into the house. The drawers hold everything from old buttons to an extra pair of scissors to miscellaneous office supplies (at one time I used it as my bill-paying station).

As I mentioned earlier, this is one of my "someday" projects--I have a feeling it could get quite complicated with the blistered veneer on top, and the hardware to change out, but it's a solid piece and heavy as a rock, and I'm hopeful that one of these days I'll be able to open it up and use it as a sewing table again.

When I can get new batteries for my camera, I'll share pictures of my sewing machine--circa 1960's and still working, it belonged to my mother-in-law, who passed it on to me when she got a fancy new machine back in the 80's.

Meanwhile, I'm linking this post to:

Vintage Thingie Thursday
at Coloradolady

Until next time...


  1. I know what you mean about someday projects...I have my grandmother machine and cabinet, the cabinet is in bad shape, and needs a lot of work. I just had the machine serviced but it needs a couple of things too. I plan to get it in order soon. Her cabinet has the foot petal mounted on the side of the cabinet like you describe, but I am going to unscrew it and see if it will work as a foot petal. My mom used to have a machine cabinet and it did not have a foot petal, it had the knee lever like you are talking about...I remember it well.

    Have a great fall weekend and a wonderful VTT!

  2. that's great that it survived the fire. I would just cover it with a pretty vintage scarf until you get it redone. I think Mom used to have one with a knee lever once. That's definitely a keeper.

  3. Looks like you have a big someday project. But it is nice to have a family piece. I wonder how women liked that knee lever device? It seems that your leg would get tired faster. But It might have been a good form of thigh exercises!


  4. That truly is an old machine table. You have a very nice vintage treasure that will be beautiful when finished out.

  5. I agree with Jane--were sewing machines the first "thighmasters"?

  6. That sewing machine table looks like it still has alot of life in it! I learned to sew on one of those tables, with the lever that you had to push with your thigh to make the machine go. It certainly is a nice piece of family history!
    Happy VTT!

  7. I have a few someday projects myself! This table will be great someday but at least now it's getting used and not sitting in the garbage dump.

  8. Oh I have quite a few "someday" projects LOL! That is truly a treasure!


  9. How nice that this piece was saved and that you are able to use it for family entertaining.


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