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Very Old Songer Sewing Machine/Table Found at an Estate Sale in Austin, TX

Very Old Songer Sewing Machine/Table Found at an Estate Sale in Austin, TX

The Discovery

In the heart of Austin, Texas, a city renowned for its vibrant music scene and eclectic culture, an estate sale unearthed a remarkable piece of history: a very old Songer sewing machine and table. The discovery of this antique machine not only captured the attention of vintage enthusiasts and collectors but also sparked curiosity about its origins and historical significance.

The estate sale, held in a quaint, historic neighborhood, drew a diverse crowd. Among the various items up for grabs, the Songer sewing machine stood out due to its distinctive design and evident age. This machine, once a staple in many households, now serves as a tangible link to the past, offering a glimpse into the domestic lives of previous generations.

The Songer Sewing Machine: A Brief History

The Songer sewing machine, though not as widely known as brands like Singer or Bernina, holds a unique place in the history of sewing machines. Manufactured in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Songer sewing machines were renowned for their durability and innovative design. The company, founded by inventor and entrepreneur John Songer, aimed to create machines that were accessible to the average household, enabling individuals to produce high-quality garments and textiles at home.

John Songer, inspired by the burgeoning industrial revolution, saw an opportunity to improve upon existing sewing machine designs. His machines incorporated several key innovations, such as a more efficient bobbin system and adjustable stitch length, which made sewing more accessible and efficient for users. Despite facing stiff competition from more established brands, Songer machines gained a loyal following due to their reliability and ease of use.

r/whatsthisworth - Very old Songer Sewing Machine/Table found at estate sale in Austin, TX.

The Estate Sale: A Treasure Trove of History

Estate sales often serve as windows into the lives and times of those who have passed, and this particular sale in Austin was no exception. The house, a charming Victorian-era structure, had been home to multiple generations of a single family. As visitors perused the items on display, it became clear that this family had cherished their possessions, maintaining many of them in excellent condition.

Among the antique furniture, vintage clothing, and heirlooms, the Songer sewing machine and table commanded attention. The machine, with its intricate ironwork and polished wooden table, was a testament to the craftsmanship of its era. Its elegant design, featuring ornate detailing and a robust hand-crank mechanism, evoked a sense of nostalgia and admiration from those who saw it.

A Closer Look at the Machine

Upon closer inspection, the Songer sewing machine revealed several fascinating features that set it apart from other machines of its time. The cast iron body, adorned with intricate floral patterns, spoke to the aesthetic sensibilities of the late 19th century. The hand-crank mechanism, still functional after all these years, demonstrated the machine’s enduring quality and the ingenuity of its design.

The wooden table, crafted from rich mahogany, served as both a functional workspace and a beautiful piece of furniture. Its smooth surface, though worn with age, retained a warm patina that highlighted the wood’s natural grain. The table also featured built-in storage compartments, allowing users to keep their sewing supplies organized and within easy reach.

One particularly striking aspect of the machine was its simplicity and efficiency. Unlike modern sewing machines, which can be complex and intimidating for beginners, the Songer machine’s straightforward design made it easy to operate. This accessibility, combined with its durability, likely contributed to its popularity among home sewers of the time.

r/whatsthisworth - Very old Songer Sewing Machine/Table found at estate sale in Austin, TX.

The Cultural and Historical Significance

The discovery of the Songer sewing machine and table in Austin is significant not only for its rarity but also for its cultural and historical implications. Sewing machines played a crucial role in the industrialization of textile production, transforming how garments and textiles were made. Before the advent of sewing machines, clothing production was a labor-intensive process, often done by hand. The introduction of machines like the Songer revolutionized this process, making it faster, more efficient, and more accessible to the average person.

In the context of American history, sewing machines also played a role in the women’s labor movement. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many women used sewing machines to earn a living, either by working in factories or by taking on sewing work at home. The ability to sew efficiently provided women with a degree of economic independence and contributed to the broader movement for women’s rights and labor reforms.

Restoring and Preserving the Machine

The new owner of the Songer sewing machine, a local antique collector, has expressed plans to restore and preserve this historical artifact. The restoration process will involve carefully cleaning and refurbishing the machine and table while preserving their original features and character. This effort not only ensures that the machine will be preserved for future generations but also honors the craftsmanship and history embedded in this antique piece.

Restoring such a machine requires a delicate balance of preservation and repair. The collector plans to consult with experts in antique restoration to ensure that the machine is handled with the utmost care. This will involve cleaning the ironwork to remove rust and grime, polishing the wooden table to restore its luster, and ensuring that all mechanical parts are in working order.

The Broader Impact

The discovery and restoration of the Songer sewing machine highlight the importance of preserving historical artifacts and the stories they carry. Each antique item, whether a sewing machine, a piece of furniture, or a handwritten letter, offers a unique perspective on the past. By preserving these items, we maintain a tangible connection to our history and a deeper understanding of the lives and experiences of those who came before us.

Moreover, this discovery underscores the value of estate sales as a means of uncovering hidden treasures. Estate sales often bring to light items that have been cherished and preserved by families for generations, providing an opportunity for new owners to appreciate and care for these pieces of history. The Songer sewing machine is a prime example of how such sales can lead to the rediscovery of valuable and historically significant artifacts.

r/whatsthisworth - Very old Songer Sewing Machine/Table found at estate sale in Austin, TX.


The very old Songer sewing machine and table found at an estate sale in Austin, Texas, serve as a remarkable reminder of the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the past. This antique machine, with its elegant design and enduring quality, offers a glimpse into the history of domestic life and the evolution of textile production. As it undergoes restoration, the Songer sewing machine will continue to be a cherished piece of history, connecting us to the lives and experiences of those who used it long ago.

In a world where technology and innovation constantly reshape our daily lives, the discovery of such a machine provides a moment of reflection and appreciation for the advancements that have brought us to where we are today. The Songer sewing machine, now a treasured artifact, reminds us of the importance of preserving our history and the stories that define us.

r/whatsthisworth - Very old Songer Sewing Machine/Table found at estate sale in Austin, TX.


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