St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: One Stitch in Time

Can you imagine what it was like for our female ancestors when all sewing was done one stitch at a time?  Can you imagine the glee when sewing machines were invented?  Seems that owning one of these miracle machines could really make a difference in the lives of women.  I wonder if my seamstress kin enjoyed having the new contraption or were they forced to continue to sew by hand.

I thought that today would be just perfect for sewing, and then I thought, that, maybe, just maybe, I would rethink that thought.  After all, looking at my old family machine might be more fun.  And by my family machine, I mean family.

I do have an old Eldredge sewing machine built by the company of Barnabus Eldredge (1843-1911).  This company, which also got into the business of bicycles and automobiles, was only in business under the Eldredge name from 1869-1890.  In 1890, he changed the name of the company to the National Sewing Machine Company.

Of interest to me is that Barnabus's grandfather is also the 3g grandfather of my spouse. Barnabus's earlier family came over on the Mayflower voyage, although the Eldredge line itself were actually latecomers--  arriving in 1635.  The Mayflower Connection even has one of his grandpas as the 17th signer of the Mayflower Compact and arriving in 1620. 

I also have a card on the Eldredge Sewing Machine.  My machine is a different model as mine is a rotary machine. But the overall case and design of the metal work is essentially the same. (Note the pic depicting the name change on the pedal.) 

It's neat to think that ole Barnabus was of the opinion that a job with him was a job for life.  He didn't fire people when they got old.  He just left them on the payroll.  I bet that made for some loyal employees especially during the Great Depression!

Click here to read more about the business itself.

Guess I'll have to find some more of these old machines so each of my kids can take a tangible, metal piece of family history with them. 

Ah, genealogy.  Just a stitch in time.

©2010 AS Eldredge

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

We passed my mother's old sewing machine on to our daughter... she has more room. Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations on Top 100 Recognition!
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Bill ;-)
Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"