I received a call from a gentleman this week who had been referred to me by an antique shop I work with, as he had his mom’s sewing machines, and was taking care of sorting her house as she recently moved into an assisted living apartment.
His mother (Anne) purchased her 301 in 1952 when she was 26 years old, and at this time this was a major purchase as the machine was nearly $300.00 on it’s own, and she also purchased the cabinet to go with the machine. In today’s dollars and factoring for inflation that was the same as spending $4000.00 today in 2022.
That was a great deal of money for a straight stitch machine but the 301/301A is arguably the finest straight stitch machine ever made, they are lightweight and full sized, sew at 1600 stitches a minute, and are built like a Swiss watch. After 70 years of pretty regular use the machine still looks and runs like new.
In 1953 Singer made a few small changes to the 301, adding an A at the end to indicate that these were made in Anderson, South Carolina, and a few decals were changed as later machines did not say “Made in the U.S.A.” across the top.
Her son said his father ran a second hand shop and his mom studied / taught Home Economics and was a gifted seamstress, making lots of clothes in a time when off the peg clothing was still a spendier proposition. She was probably just like my own mom in this regard.
He said his mom is doing well and that he would tell her that her machine would be well taken care of, and that we would make sure it found a new home where it might be loved and appreciated for another 70 years (or more).
Some times machines have no stories and then we sometimes find machines that take us back to an earlier time, and some would say, a simpler time.
Now that we have serviced and polished up the machine, I will have to send Richard a few pictures to show his mom…
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