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Treadle Sewing Machines Information

Category Sewing
The manual treadle sewing machine harks back to a time when in-home electricity was not common place. It is still used in areas worldwide that lack electricity. Some crafters and seamstresses enjoy the excellent stitching quality and the gentle clickety-clack of the foot powered mechanism. This page contains treadle sewing machine information.


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May 11, 2010

I have a Singer treadle machine model, #w20841. I cannot thread it. Any ideas how I can find out?

By joyce from Shawnee, OK


May 15, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've owned 3 treadles, a White & 2 Singers. They all thread in basically the same way.
These older machines are quite simple to thread & your best bet would be to find a video on U-Tube of someone demonstrating it, but if you're like me & have only dial-up internet & can't get videos, I will try to attempt describing how to do it:

* Look at the machine diagram below & if you see in anything in "quotes" that means the item in quotes is shown in the drawing below:

FIRST: You need to know that the take-up lever needs to ALWAYS be ALL the way up before you start to you thread!

SECOND: Any time you move the "Machine Pulley" wheel (the wheel to the right that moves the needle up & down) you ALWAYS need to turn it towards you which would be Counter-clockwise & NEVER turn it clock-wise!


THIRD: To know WHICH DIRECTION to thread the machines needle from (in ANY machine) you look where the last thread guide is & if it is in the front, you'd thread the needle from the front, if the last thread guide is on the left side, you would thread the needle from the left

1) Put the thread on the "Spool Pin" (facing either way)
2) Then pull strand of thread over to your left & slide it in the first thread guide you come to (not shown on drawing)
3) You will see the round "Tension" dial (with numbers on it). Put the thread inside the dial from the right to the left under then BETWEEN the 2 round circle/disc plates
4) Now bring the thread up & into the "Take-Up Lever" & thread it from right to left
5) Then bring thread down through the next 2 or 3 thread guides


6) Thread the needle.
* Remember to thread the needle (as stated above) looking where the last thread guide is on your machine.

---> Almost all machines thread like this: First through a thread guide, then down & through the upper tension, then up through the take-up lever, then down through the thread guides & into the needle.

BOBBIN THREADING: (there are 2 types)
1) If you have a "drop-in" bobbin & put the bobbin in so if you pull on the thread, the bobbin would spin counter-clockwise. Slide back the metal plate that covers the bobbin, drop the bobbin into the machine, then slide the thread in to a slot which is the Bottom Tension & slide the plate back in.
2) If your bobbin casing is the kind that comes out & you remove from the machine, have the thread bobbin thread face the same way, then pull the thread into the little slot, (near a tiny screw, this screw is the bobbin tension).


Next, hold the little lever out (this prevents the bobbin from falling out) & use it as a handle to put the Bobbin casing back into the machine.

You need to get your bobbin thread up. To do this, simply hold on to the top thread with your left hand while you spin the "Machine Pulley Wheel" towards you (counter-clockwise) with your right hand & the bobbin thread will come out & be on the top. Each time you sew, it helps if you hold the 2 threads in you fingers while you sew the first couple of stitches so the bobbin thread doesn't get sucked back down into the machine.

---> This sounds very difficult, but it's super-easy if someone showed you how... It's just hard to write it all out!





Your antique machine will need to be oiled before you use it! Find directions on how to oil on the Singer site or on the web. It's super-easy! Don't pay someone to do it for you! ...If you care for this machine, it will last another 2 or 3-hundred years! It would also help if you take some canned-air & a little paintbrush to clean & blow away any dust & lint that's accumulated inside the bobbin, underneath & in the upper machine.

* ALSO: Some old machines are timed differently & need to be re-timed so our modern needles work with them. So if your machine is having problems, maybe it hasn't been timed to modern specifications. I don't know much about this, I just know that they needed to do this to one of my treadles. Here's some more info:



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February 7, 2019

I have a White Family rotary sewing machine FR 253588 and I would like to know the value?


February 7, 20190 found this helpful

This one is asking $276.

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February 8, 20190 found this helpful


I would not take anything below $150.00 to $200.00 since yours in in such good shape.



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February 9, 20190 found this helpful

Looks like your machine is in very good condition but the problem with treadle machines is the cost of shipping such a heavy piece.
This means the machines are usually posted in ads as "pick up only" and the value may depend on where you are located and if your area is "into" vintage sewing machines.

  • Not everyone has a sewing room anymore and a treadle takes up a lot of room and that is why the "portable" machines are still popular.
  • Judy shows a listing for a portable (not a treadle) so you cannot compare this with your machine and most likely, it will be very difficult to find an exact machine and that is really the only way to give a good estimate of value.
  • Appraisers use past sales to determine a current value and they many times have to use "similar" machines to reach a current estimated price.
  • Here is a similar machine that looks to be in the same age group and is also in good working condition.
  • Actually, this looks like a really outstanding machine so try to compare it with yours. It also has a lot of accessories which will increase the value but more important it will get a lot more interest and may be a big selling point. You may also have accessories but these can also be sold separately.
  • The pictures are good and they have a very good description other than they have no serial number or model number. This happens a lot as many people do not do research to find information on their items.
  • I'm only mentioning this as this listing will give you a good idea of how to post your machine if you decide to sell it. You can place a watch on this machine to see if it sells.
  • Here is a link to a glossary of White machines that you might find interesting. Most of these will not still be for sale either because they sold or the seller stopped linting. If you see something that looks interesting, click on the "see similar items" and it will usually take you to the item and click on original listing (right side) and you may be able check out the machines. If it did not sell it will have "0" bids shown. This type of research is the only way you will be able to find a price even close to the value.
  • Here is a link to machines currently listed on eBay so you can sort through these to see if any are similar. Be sure to place a watch on any that appear similar.
  • I did find a lot of these older treadles (in various conditions) listed for under $200 and many are not being sold but most are local pick up only so the area may have a lot to do with the sales.
  • You have your serial number but I have not been able to date it yet.
  • If you call the Husqvarna/Viking/White company at 800 - 446-2333, they will date your machine for you.
  • Here is a popular sewing machine site - Ismacs - and they have a link about finding the value:
  • Here is a link that has information about this type of White machine but just for information only.
  • You may be able to ask your question about value at one or more of the free appraisal sites.
  • They will want good pictures of the full machine; front, side, treadle, top and plates as well as a good description of the overall condition. Working? Need parts/needles/accessories. Also any information you have on past history (provenance); any place it has been, who had it, how long, any city/state it has been, etc...
  • This is some trouble but it is the best way to obtain information. They may not tell you the value in your area but will give you either an estimated resale value or an insurance value. Since this is a sewing machine be aware - some may not answer so ask your question at more than one site.
  • You can also pay $17 for an appraisal.
  • Finding the true value of an item like this takes a lot of research and since you have the machine you can determine what is similar and check prices for several months.
  • As for listing your machine, I would suggest sites like your local Craigslist, USA4Sale, Nextdoor and other sites that post listings in your area so if someone is interested they can see the machine and no shipping involved.
  • Start your price at $600 and reduce it if no one shows an interest.
  • I love these sewing machines but I have too many now but I hope you will have good luck in selling your machine.

Here is a link about White history:

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February 21, 20190 found this helpful

Great piece!! Cybergrannie gave you a lot of good info!!

The only thing I can add is what I see in my area, which is the cabinets can sell for way more without the machine as a lot of people turn these into things like bathroom vanity cabinets. I had my heart set on one for years, but could never afford it. I have seen them fetch in the high $400s for cabinets that are in pristine shape.

I settled for a nice store bought piece so I am out of the market for the cabinet. But if you wanted to separate the machine from the cabinet you may fetch more for them separately than together.

Post back what you decide!! Thanks for sharing!! I love old sewing goodies!!!

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January 24, 2019

I also have an Eldridge treadle with same markings, but mine does not have the National Sewing Machine Company badge and I don't see national anywhere. I am dying to know the age. My number on machine is 2031395 (the number 1 is not really clear, but that's my take on it). I just got it today and saw your blog about another treadle. Mine says "the Eldridge" on the front and the back says improved elder edge "B", but no badge on front where the one you are talking about has one. Mine is just more beautiful scroll painting there.


January 24, 20190 found this helpful

Eldridge became the Janome company. Contact their customer service.

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January 26, 20190 found this helpful

Someone may be able to supply more information if you post several pictures of your machine as many owners/sellers do not list a serial number so it is difficult to supply relevant information about your particular machine. Generally, the more nice pictures supplied, the more information that can be found.

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January 26, 20190 found this helpful


If the serial number on your treadle machine is located on the front or side, it was made after 1959. If you can go on google and pull up photos of treadle se
wing machines, you might be able to get a more specific date.

These machines have such beauty, both historically and sentimentally.

Have a blessed day:)


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February 12, 20190 found this helpful

Did you get more info?

This website gives a little history of the brand:

I like looking at this site also as they are collectors and often know details like you are seeking:

Post back what you learn with a photo! I love old sewing machines!! They are so elegant and functional!

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November 7, 2018

I have a Eldredge treadle. It was gifted to me in '09 after my bf's grandmother passed. It has sat around all these years and I've finally overcome my fear and decided to restore the treadle.

My question is this. I can't seem to find any information on when she was made or where for that matter. It does have a serial number 1311592, but nothing else. It has a decal on the front of the arm that says, "The Eldredge" and on the back of the arm it says, "Improved Eldredge B". I've researched a lot and every image I seem to pull up doesn't match my treadle. I've found manuals a plenty of another Improved Eldredge, it's similar, but not at all exact.

I would just like to get a date because I want to set up a memory book with his late grandmother and great grandmother and any information I can find about this particular model. So that when it's not in use (I do plan to use it) this memory book and pics of the grandmothers can rest on top.

So any info on a possible date would be so greatly appreciated.


November 7, 20180 found this helpful

In June of 1890, Eldridge was consolidated with the National Sewing Machine Company. Your machine is at least that old.

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November 7, 20180 found this helpful

Perhaps this blog can help! Maybe the author has additional sources.

Your idea is lovely! It is so sweet to preserve history like this!!

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November 8, 20180 found this helpful

There is a lot of information about the Eldredge and National Sewing Machines but not a lot of actual information that makes it possible for just "anyone" to date one of these machines.

  • Your machine had to have been produced after 1890 since it has a National Sewing Machine "badge" on the front (nameplate).
  • I cannot find any statement showing that the name Eldredge was completely dropped in favor of using the National Machine name so it is possible the Eldredge name stayed on their machines until they closed the factory.
  • There is evidence that National Sewing Machine company sold machines to several companies placing whatever name that company wanted to use (clones) (just like the Japanese companies did with the "Singer" model).
  • Here is an ad from 1879 showing a similar machine but it cannot be yours because this was 11 years before National was started.
  • Even Wikipedia does not say when (or if) the sewing machines were renamed to National. I cannot even find a date when treadle machines were dropped from production.
  • Here is a link to Eldredge manuals but some of them are no longer available and your machine may be one of the missing ones. You can look at the pictures and writing to see if your machine is mentioned.
  • It is possible that you could contact this company to see if they can tell you which machine is yours and if they have a manual. I certainly think a manual would be worth the few dollars they are priced. It may take a few days to get an answer.
  • Here is a link that you can purchase (usually) replacement parts and needles/bobbins for antique/vintage machines.
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November 9, 20180 found this helpful

I think for your purposes you can safely put 1890's and it will be great. You can also put in a note re the manufacturer and how important the sewing machine was to the development of society in ways that we completely overlook nowadays

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January 2, 2019

l've been looking at buying a treadle sewing machine and have seen one, but I haven't heard of the brand before. Can anyone help me with any information about a U.S.A machine?



January 3, 20190 found this helpful

It is made by the White company, and is a very good brand.

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January 3, 20190 found this helpful

Thanks for the info Judy.

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January 5, 20190 found this helpful

I'm not familiar with the U.S.A. brand but Judy is probably right about it being made by White as White did make several "clone" machines for other companies (especially Sears) before they closed shop in 2006.

There is a sewing machine forum that will answer questions like this but you do have to join their site. It is free to join but does cost to become a member. You can ask your question but you will need pictures of the complete machine as well as pictures of all logos and a list of any information on the machine.
Here is a link to their site but this may not be of interest if the machine is inexpensive or you decide not to buy.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 11, 2010

I need the name of a company that sells treadle sewing machines.

Mary from AR


Treadle Sewing Machines Information

Have you tried Lehman's Non Electric Catalog? They are based in Kidron, Ohio, USA and sell a lot to the Amish. (11/23/2004)

By Peach

Treadle Sewing Machines Information

There are two companies that make modern treadle sewing machines. Janome, the 712T is a nice looking machine. The other company is Singer that makes a dual electric/treadle. You need to have a treadle table for either machine. I would like to purchase a Janome, but am having trouble finding a treadle table. There are no modern day manufactures that I can fine, and I hate to destroy an antique to acquire a table. (05/31/2009)

By Sally Saunders-Przybil

Treadle Sewing Machines Information

Janome 712T Treadle Machine


By Richard Shaffer

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Crafts SewingMarch 6, 2018
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