Q&A on collecting
Sewing machine is still humming
Q: Enclosed is a photo of a sewing machine that belonged to my great aunt. It was converted from a hand crank to electric around 1950. Marked on the machine are the words and the patent dates “The Singer Manufacturing Co. — Patented Oct 7, 1879 — July 6, 1880, Sept. 18, 1887 — July 18, 1887.” It still works. Can you tell me something about my sewing machine?
A: I.M. Singer and Edward Clark established I.M. Singer and Company in 1851. The name was changed to the Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865. The gold design on the machine is a decal and features an Egyptian sphinx. The decal is fragile and should only be cleaned with gentle cleaners. Modern cleaners can harm the decal and diminish the value. Many sewing machines were made in Elizabeth, N.J. Singer made the first zigzag machine and the first electronic machine. Currently, the Singer Company is located in Tennessee.
Your sewing machine was made around 1900 and would probably be worth $200 to $300.
Q: This mark is on a tea service from my home in England. Also included in the mark are the words “Travel — Designed by Ravilious.” The set includes a tea pot, two cups and saucers, two cereal dishes, a milk jug and an egg cup. The dishes have a gray-white background and the designs are turquoise and black. Each piece has a hot-air balloon in the design. I was wondering if my set is collectible.
A: Wedgwood made your Windsor Gray set in Etruria and Barlaston, England, around 1950. It was designed by artist Eric Ravilious. His travel series featured different types of travel. He also created other dinnerware sets and commemorative pieces. During World War II, he was designated as a war artist. In 1942 he failed to return from an air-sea mission off the coast of Iceland. Because of war regulations, many of his designs were not produced until the 1950s.
Your set was made around 1950 and would probably be worth $300 to $500.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Because of the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters.