Old Woodcut Illustrations

I’ve always loved old woodcut illustrations. They transform what would be a prosaic instruction manual into something I want to hang onto forever. Here’s the cover of one from a Singer sewing machine that must have been a very early Singer in my family. The fact that it actually says “Electric Sewing Machine” hints that it was among the first. I hunted for a date in this booklet but didn’t find one.

I don’t remember a treadle this wide on any my family had so maybe it was my grandmother’s. I remember her at the sewing machine that looked out toward the ocean, upstairs in the pool room of their Second Street house in Long Beach, California. Yes, a large room devoted to a gorgeous pool table, though I don’t remember ever seeing anyone play pool. If I come across any photos of the room, I’ll post them.

How beautiful! What care in the detail work. This is definitely not the machine I learned to sew on, which had a rather plain front part. For an appliance we consider mundane now, this was a work of art. But I imagine it wasn’t mundane at all in the first years of the electric sewing machine.



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