By Rebecca Solomowitz
This week’s object is a toy sewing machine from circa 1900. The sewing machine has the manufacturer’s label, “Midget”, on the base. The machine is cast iron, wood, and is painted black with polychrome, with a hand painted red, gold and green floral design along the base and body. There is a wooden handle with a metal table. This sewing machine was donated to Historic Huguenot Street by Barbara Mcnenney in 2008. It is still in working condition, although it is difficult to operate because of a broken needle.
The “Midget” toy sewing machines were created by the Foley & Williams Sewing Machine Company.1 Foley & Williams was created in 1880, and in 1882 it bought out the Cincinnati branch of the Goodrich Company. The Goodrich Company was the largest manufacturer of sewing machine attachments in that time period. The Foley & Williams Company was most well known for their sewing machines, and they had many different toy sized sewing machines besides the Midget. Other toy sewing machines are Yankee, Practical, Triumph, Victor, Poney, Reliable, Liberty and Tourist. The Midget toy sewing machine was one of the cheaper toy sewing machines during this time period, selling for $2.50 through the Sears & Roebuck catalog.
1 Askaroff, Alex I. “Foley & Williams Incorporating Goodrich Sewing Machines.” Home of the Sewalot Site.