Friday, May 16, 2008

My GRAYBAR Sewing Machine

Jen challenged me, quite awhile ago, to start showing my sewing machine collection. Quite a while ago, actually. The thought of it overwhelmed me, and I just did not put it high on the list of priorities. I'm not sure how many I will get shown, but I will start here. Some of them, I will have to dig out. Some of them won't be all that exciting, but I'll do my best to show them to you. I hope you enjoy seeing them, as much as I have enjoyed 'adopting' them, 'fixing' them, displaying, and enjoying them.

Here is the first on the list. I found this machine last August at a Salvation Army thrift store. I thought the round plate was interesting. It has a vibrating shuttle bobbin. It was 'stuck' when I bought it. I thought it was just thread stuck in the working parts, but what it needed, was oil, really bad! I oiled it, got it moving, figured out how to thread it, (which was a 'feat' in itself) and it does sew. I will never use it, as it REALLY shakes the table, and it is not a comfortable machine to sew on, but it IS a bit of history, and probably one of the first machines to be manufactured to run with electricity, fresh from the factory. This machine was made in the 30's. I thought it was in pretty good shape, cosmetically, considering it's age.I did find some information on the internet about Graybar. The Graybar name was fashioned from the last names of two of the company founders, Professor Elisha Gray, and Enos Barton. (Chicago). I was not sure if I would be able to find a place to display it, but I did. A lot of times, I buy the machines, because I have to 'fix' them, even if I don't plan on keeping them. I just had to see it work. It was missing a black rubber belt to wind the bobbin so I used a couple of fat rubber bands to wind a bobbin, but I eventually found a belt for it. It is a 3/4 size machine. It sits on top of one of my file cabinets in my office. Notice where the belt is for running the bobbin winder. There is a smaller wheel behind the handwheel where the other end of the belt fits. I have never seen anything like this before. In 1872, the Graybar company was incorporated as the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, to meet the huge capital requirements of the telegraph supply business. (If you are interested in knowing more about Graybar and Western Electric, email me, and I will send you a pdf file which has the history.) I noticed the last time we were up to see Jen and Cindy, there is a Graybar Electric building in Milwaukee. I wonder if there is a connection. (scratching head).

Here are a couple posters I found on the internet too, with advertising for the Western Electric. I thought they were interesting.


Hazel said...

Very interesting I had never heard of a Graybar .

alan mendoza said...

I work at graybar electric, and yes they are one and the same.

Anne Coleman said...

I have had a Graybar machine stashed back for several years but it doesn't look like yours. Mine is black with gold tulips on it..enclosing a pic if I can figure out how.. Do you know anything about this Garybar?
Anne Coleman

Michelle Tye said...

I just inherited a graybar machine and I want to date it and learn how to use it. Any suggestions on how to do this?


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