I’m a bit of a conspiracy nut. The fun, tongue-in-cheek kind, not the building-a-bunker kind. Well, not a bunker, exactly, ’cause that’s a lot of work. But let’s just say that although we don’t have guns, we’ve probably got the best-stocked first aid kit in the neighborhood.
Anyway, thinking about gridcrash, and what it would take to preserve as much of our normal life as possible in such an event, led to an interest in treadle sewing machines. I picked this one up yesterday for a song. According to a serial number search, it was made on April 10, 1901 in Elizabeth, NJ. In the intervening years, it had one owner and was well cared for. As far as cleaning, it just needed a good going over with an old toothbrush (leaving it minty fresh). The cabinet will need to be refinished, but all in all, I hope I look (and smell) this good when I’m 109.
This morning I removed a motor that was added later. The cords going to and from were frayed to the wires, and it scared me just to look at them. Besides, my sole interest was a human-powered machine. Later today, I’ll lug the treadle table up onto the back porch and hook everything up. I understand that treadling is a completely different skill set, and will probably take a while to master, but it will be fun to do so in the meantime. And later, perhaps I can whip up some special steampunkery that can be advertised as being made on a machine that was manufactured within 6 months of the end of Victoria’s time.