Tag Archives: old catalogues

Concordance/Discordance

That Damn Treadle

Y’know how when forensic specialists are matching finger-prints (or dental records), and they go through the whorls (and fillings) and things looking for points of concordance and discordance between the different images? No? Obviously you should’ve paid more attention in your Forensic Anthropology classes… Well, this  is what’ I’ve been doing.

I know all y’all are just as obsessed as I am about my new treadle. 😉 No? Well, I imagine I’ll have an actual sewing post up one of these days. I still haven’t actually had the chance to work on the treadle; my Mom unexpectedly got a full-time contract (YAY, MOM!) and then Thanksgiving happened, which involved four turkeys, four days, and absolutely no energy for anything but digesting. In the meantime, I spent some quality time hunting down old Eaton’s catalogues, of which there is a surprising abundance on teh marvelous internets. Thank you, internets. Also, Library and Archives Canada and Archive.org. You rock my world. Anyway, I think I have located my machine!

I think I’ll pause here to allow you to imagine the scene as my perplexed family got to witness the peculiar dance of the exultant researcher.

My machine appears to match a model shown in the 1915/16 Winter catalogue through the 1917 spring/summer catalogue (but not in the 1917/18 winter catalogue). Woot! I’m not sure about before 1915 as there’s a gap in the archives before that until 1908, at which point the models are distinctly different.

ZOMG there it is! Also, source.

Yes, that appears to be my machine.

Points of concordance:

  • Cabinet. Oh yes, this took some hunting. I had started off looking in 20s catalogues because I thought the plain, almost masculine style of the woodwork looked newer, although most twenties machines seem to have more art-nouveau kind of decals. But it’s really distinctive both in its plain-ness, the six drawers, and the shape of the bits on either side of the drawers.
  • The machine. Even though the catalogue copy describes this machine as the “Seamstress”, if you click on the illustration to see the full-size image, the machine says “Improved Seamstress”. Every detail of the tension, threading, stitch-length screw, and even decals are pretty much spot on, allowing for a small amount of artistic licence (and a LOT of crud and wear on my machine…)

Compare.

Points of discordance:

Ok, really there’s only the foot pedal, which is distinctly different, and, frankly, doesn’t look like any of the Eaton’s foot-pedals I’ve looked at in the last few days. Which is a lot. It makes me wonder if that part might’ve been replaced, or if it just happened to be a different factory lot from the illustration.

Oh, yeah, along the edge of the board on the illustration, just in front of the sewing machine, you can see a series of regular ticks. It’s actually a measuring-tape decaled onto the surface of the wood. It’s pretty beaten up on my machine, but parts of it are still visible.

Oh, and I finished the Kwik Sew underwear. I’ll tell you all about it next time… 😉

EDIT: A bit more digging turned up a Fall/Winter 1913/14 catalogue, which has a six-drawer model that is different from mine. So that’s an upper age limit. One interesting detail: most of the machines in the 1913/14 catalogue have a foot pedal identical to the one on my machine (but different from the one in the later catalogues). So maybe my machine is an earlier version of its model, fitted with the older pedal style—or maybe it was just some variant from the factory. Anyway, at this point there’s only three catalogues “missing”, Spring/Summer 1914, Fall/Winter 1914/15, and Spring/Summer 1915. And, frankly, a date to within a year or two seems like pretty good accuracy considering a few days ago I wasn’t even positive about decade. So I’m still pretty satisfied, although of course there’s one or two more avenues I could pursue…

EDIT #2: I found the serial number, underneath the slide plate of the shuttle compartment. 2330993. Not sure if there’s anywhere I can look this up to get a date or location of manufacture, but that’s what it is. There’s also a faint letter “A” above it on the left.

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