Saturday, September 14, 2013

SEPIA SATURDAY (179)

The prompt picture on Sepia Saturday this week 
features a woman sewing an American flag back in 1910. 
A lovely scene in itself, 
but one that is so foreign to me. 
I'll explain later
Meanwhile, 
I did do the flag thing before, 
when I spoke about the Red Ensign
which has survived since then, 
standing proudly in my livingroom despite two cats; 
I also talked about the French Canadian rebellion of 1838. 
So I believe I'm done with this topic [for now]. 
So, 
"de fil en aiguille", 
I'll thread my way through these following vintage pictures 
and share with you various details I found on the web 
and a few personal things as well. 
:)~


While researching the archives of the McCord Museum
I came across this: 
"The Wheeler & Wilson & Singer Sewing Machines"
What started with Allen B. Wilson who patented many innovations in the field 
and Nathaniel Wheeler as administrator back in the mid 1800s, 
they won many prizes in various exhibits in Europe and North America. 
They were based in Connecticut, 
and they were eventually taken over by a competitor, 
"Singer"
First known as I.M. Merritt Singer & Co in 1851, 
first established by Isaac Merritt Singer and Edward Clark, 
then Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865, 
then The Singer Company in 1963. 
Its first large factory for mass production was in New Jersey in 1863, 
but the company is based in Tennessee, 
according to Wikipedia...


An interesting find on Wikipedia, 
the Singer Building in Manhattan completed in 1908, 
was 47 stories high and the tallest building in the world from 1908-1909. 
It was commissioned by Frederick Bourne 
and designed by architect Ernest Flagg!!! 
The building was demolished in 1968. 


Here's a 1930 vintage picture 
of men moving a Singer sewing machine in Montreal
My mom had a singer sewing machine, 
a portable one in a green case. 
Never saw her using it though. 
And her needle work was anything but spectacular... 
But having a Singer sewing machine was a common thing for Quebeckers. 
Since the mid 1800s, 
there was a baby boom (La Revanche des Berceaux) to avoid being wiped out by assimilation,  
and making clothes for large families was a necessity, 
along with mending and adjusting those clothes for the next child [und so forth...]. 
Clothes had to be durable!! 
Being fashionable was perhaps not a major concern for many...

video

Here's a 1954 advertisement, 
for the nostalgic ones among you.


Time for those who wish it to pick up the thread at 
where others will prick your curiosity. 
:)~


Men also did some sewing of their own!!!
(1885)


What did I keep from my mom's sewing kit? 
Not much!! 
A pair of scissors, 
a "Dean" measuring tape [that's made in England], 
and a thimble that says  
"Hotel Cyr, St Leonard, New Brunswick"
That last one I find is an odd promotional article, 
but maybe it was a hot item back then?!? 
:D~ 


The source says that this hotel was built by Charles L. Cyr in 1904 
and [only] opened in 1911[???]. 
The view above dates back to about 1915.  
It burned down in 1919 and was quickly[???] rebuilt.


It burned down again in 1965
Period!! 
[As far as I can tell...] 
:D~


What do I keep in my sewing box? 
Just a bunch of buttons from clothes now long gone in general. 
Sewing is not really my thing. 
Just to give you an idea: 
I'm the kind of guy that buys that tape to hem my pants, 
you know the kind that you iron on so it'll melt and hold the fabric together!?!... 
Yeah, 
I'm THAT KIND of guy... 
:D~ 
HUGZ

36 comments:

  1. I started my sewing life with a Singer treadle. Great machine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems to be the consensus here.
      Not only a good reputation, they deserved it by delivering good machines.
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  2. Thanks for that post. Entertaining and informative. loved it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That Singer building is spectacular. Such a shame it didn't last.

    I do like that button photo. Did you take it? It looks like your style :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since I've put my name on it,
      yes, it is a picture of mine, thank you!!
      :)~

      I read somewhere that someone would like to rebuild it...
      We'll hear about it if that really happens!!
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  4. I disagree with Sharon -- I think the Singer building was funny-looking. And I usually like old buildings no matter what.

    Your photoshop-tricky treatments of your button collection and items from your mom's sewing basket are really eye-catching and frame-worthy, quite suitable for someone's craft room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Wendy!!
      Maybe not museum material, but craftroom's, yes!!

      As for the Singer building,
      despite its awkward design, I do like it.
      I wish I could have visited such a place.
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  5. I love that you have a sewing box, very cool, and especially cool when we can keep our family sewing boxes in today's world. I am lucky to have my mother's sewing box, which opens up and is one that she had before I was born and I thought was so old and such a treasure, now I wonder. I saw one very much like it at a garage sale, driving by and part of me wanted to stop and see if it was a remake, but I couldn't do it. Drove on by!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, my "sewing box" is actually just a Tupperware box...
      My mom had one but I didn't keep it.
      It was a little too frou-frou for my taste...
      A white wicker thing with green satin inside.
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  6. I have a Singer sewing table sans the machine that I love.
    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any idea what happened to the machine?
      Or you got it like that already?...
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  7. My grandmother had a singer like the one the men are carrying in Montreal. I think one of my cousins has it, or had it at one time. It was over in the corner being used more as a radio table so I never got to sew on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was the sewing machine still functional?
      I remember throughout my life,
      visiting one person, then another,
      and some had those vintage pieces in a corner,
      sans machine as Jackie put it.
      These were sturdy and not surprisingly, lasted beyond their original purpose.
      Maybe it was only a radio table by the time you saw it.
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  8. My grandmother had one of the first electric Singer sewing machines. She used to make my sisters and me the most beautiful dresses on it. She eventually gave it to my Mom & it's the machine I learned to sew on. When I moved into my own apt. I had to buy my own sewing machine - a Montgomery Wards brand. I've had 3 other machines since then - one of them a fairly new Singer portable. Until recently my daughter had my grandmother's Singer & was using it as a hall table. Tired of having to haul out my portable machine every time I wanted to sew something, I asked if I could have the old Singer & it now sits conveniently in the bay window of my bedroom - ready to sew up whatever I have in mind. It doesn't do any fancy stitches, just nice straight seams . . . but I love it! As they say, what's old is new again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Think how proud your grandma would be to know that her machine still works
      and still makes pretty things for the family.
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  9. I still have my mother's sewing machine - great big b....y heavy thing it is. Not a Singer but a Husqvarna. I also have her old sewing trays and my step-mother's sewing box and anyone else's as well. I love your photos of your buttons and paraphenalia. That photo of the Singer building is fabulous!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, speaking of that building was apropos with the theme,
      and since I love architecture, a natural choice for me.
      I had to google that brandname, but you know what,
      the models I saw resemble somewhat the Singer portable one my mom had.
      Portable, by definition only...
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  10. I learned and watched both my mother and sister use the Singer machine! My made a lot of clothes for us kids when we were young and my sister made a few things for me when I was a teenager. So I learned through osmosis!
    I know the basics and now have a Kenmore machine of my own and use it not too often.
    I like that little collection of your Mom's sewing stuff, Bruno. And those buttons.....I like them and have a collection as well When Ron was gathering woolen fabric for braided rugs, I kept the buttons from jackets and coats and have some interesting ones.
    Wonder why they tore down that beautiful building? I can imagine the 'fixtures' in there!
    Great post sir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely a few items were salvaged and auctioned off, as is usually the case.
      You'd sit me in front of one of those that I'd be dumbfounded,
      never having really see one in action, except on TV....
      or the local dry cleaner store!!

      Thanks for dropping by, Jim!!
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  11. I posted a Wheeler & Wilson tradecard this week. It has been a long time since I have done any sewing, even though I have a couple things that I really should mend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a few things too;
      either I'll do them myself...
      or bring them to a seamstress,
      which sounds to me like the more sensible thing to do!!!
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  12. I did a post on the Wheeler & Wilson factory band last year. My grandmother was a great seamstress and had several machines from treadle to electric. But what I inherited were the hundreds of wooden spools she saved after sewing miles and miles of thread. Lots of interesting shapes and old logos, waiting for the right art project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly would love to see those,
      from a photographer's point of view...
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  13. Oh I forgot. The 1954 advert for a $149.95 Singer sewing machine would cost, according to an inflation calculator, $1,302.15 today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, at that price, we could have one of the deluxe models,
      I think...
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  14. LOL, Especially the Ernest Flagg reference:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, at least, one of you noticed...
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  15. I have a beautiful old Singer, as well as two more recent sewing machines - with a seamstress mother and grandmother, there was no hope for me - I was bound to sew too. Singer must have been a huge company to have a building like that!
    I like your sewing box photos too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could say this was in your genes...

      Yes, Singer did quite well on the market despite wars and the crash.

      As for my own pictures,
      just a bit of fun to add a more personal anecdote to this post.
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  16. Great photos. I remember when the Singer Building was razed. Many people were not happy about that. I don't have a sewing box and I'm not even the type of guy that buys that iron-on tape! My sewing "kit" came from a hotel basket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, I guess my thimble was not such a curious thing then?!?...
      :D~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  17. Great history, great humour, and great take on the photo prompt :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I spin a story, I spin wide and large!!
      Glad you enjoyed it.
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete
  18. I learned to machine sew on a Singer - my mother's old hand-operated was converted to a motorised version on which I made my wedding dress! When I married i had a Singer but it was never the same quality. I still remember the excitement of lifting the heavy old wooden case onto the table, the smell of the machine oil and the sound the machine made. Thanks for the nostalgia trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anytime!! I bet they're good ones for you.
      :)~
      HUGZ

      Delete

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Thank you!!
:)~

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