Mini Sewing Machine from the 1940s

Contributed by Antiques Roadshow - Beverley

Mini Sewing Machine from the 1940s

This was made by the Essex Engineering Works based in Wanstead, E11 in the late 1940s. They were marketed at teenagers, and sold cheaply. The contributor can remember her grandmother sewing all her clothes on this machine. It's a sign of a make-do-and-mend culture - a time when people made clothes for their families to save money. Now, clothes are so cheap there is no incentive to make them.

Comments are closed for this object


  • 1. At 17:52 on 30 May 2010, Julia Paul wrote:

    I have one just like that! Picked it up in a junk shop in the early 60's for about 4/6d. Money was tight, so taught myself to make my own clothes on it. It has a simple chain stitch mechanism, no bobbin, so have to tie off loose ends, but still works perfectly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 11:43 on 1 June 2010, Maudie_Cornwall wrote:

    We had one of these at home in the late '40s early '50s. My grandmother and great aunts were all dressmakers or milliners. One of my great aunts, a spinster, lived with us. Her contribution to the household was to make all the clothes for my sister and I (often from 'cabbage' she acquired from the cutting tables where she worked). My sister and I complained so much about having pins sticking into us while being 'fitted' ( we dreaded getting home from school to be instructed to take of our dress and stand on the table as this meant a 'fitting' was about to take place).Great Aunt Ethel solved the problem by running up dresses/coats for us using this little machine. We could then try them on and be 'fitted'without the dread of pins. She could then simply pull a thread to undo the chainstitching before sewing up permanently on the treadle lockstitch machine. A very powerful memory!

    Complain about this comment

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline




View more objects from people in Humber.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.