Apparently, it was a little freaky from the audience’s perspective. It was odd to make an effort not to smile. I’m fairly sure some young children were mildly traumatised. When I came home, my husband made me hide from the cat until I washed my face so I wouldn’t freak her out.
In the morning, while we were out on our regular Saturday morning rounds, we noticed signs for an estate sale near our place. The modest 2-storey house was probably built somewhere around 1910, but the outside had been redone in about the 60s with asphalt shingles. The deceased had apparently lived there “forever” – her whole adult life, I assume. That would explain why there seemed to be no significant changes to the place. There was non-wall-to-wall lino in some of the rooms – laid down on the hardwood like an area rug (but attached somehow so it didn’t move or curl up around the edges). Concessions to the age of the owner included the living room having been used as a bedroom, and a toilet and sink having been installed behind the front door at the foot of the stairs (there was a curtain that could be pulled around for privacy). There was a coldness about the place, which I’d put down to the dingy paint and the old (but well-kept) lino. Under that surface, everything looked original. Not a wall had been moved. Every doorway still had its door, including the living room/dining room double pocket doors. Some of them had been taken off the hinges for the estate sale, as I’d imagine getting from one room to the next would result in people (or tchochkes) getting bumped regularly. If I didn’t already have a house, I’d be seriously tempted to try to buy that one. The integrity of the place was amazing and I’m sure it would clean up beautifully.
Most of the contents of the house were knick-knacks and dolls, but there were 2 sewing machines: an older Kenmore, and a Singer treadle machine. Guess what followed me home?
A cursory looks shows that the condition of the cabinet is good: the veneer is unglued in a few places but not peeling; it has either been kept very carefully or refinished at one point; two of the four drawer pulls are missing. The gold decorations on the machine are quite worn but I’m guessing from use rather than abuse.
The exciting stuff: as an L6xxxxx model, I’m told this baby was built in 1901! It looks like it was put away ready to sew: needle in place; apparently threaded properly; bobbin filled and in place. The leather belt seems a little loose (there’s a gap between the ends where they meet at the staple), but there’s enough tension that moving the treadle moves the needle, and the parts feel like they’re moving smoothly. Wow! More details to come as I (hopefully) unravel some of its mysteries.