Biking around the streets of Corvallis, looking at houses for my parents to rent, Dale and I stumbled across a free sewing machine. My dream come true. And even better, it is a Wheeler and Wilson D-9, late 1800s treadle machine in a cabinet. It is absolutely amazing. It's not in great condition but I love it anyway. We took the car back and loaded it in the back seat (we really need a truck, that thing was heavy and awkward).
When we got it home and put it on the deck we pulled out the laptops and started searching for information about the old machine. During my search I found out that Allen B. Wilson was a sewing machines pioneer and all of us sewers have him to thank for the wonders of our modern machines. He created the rotary hook and bobbin combination and four-motion feed that moves the fabric through the machine automatically. In 1905, Singer bought out Wheeler and Wilson and continued some of their lines as late as the 1960s. Wilson never got much money from his patents, definitely no where near what Singer is making on their franchise, but he will go down in history with die-hard sewers and machine hunters.
The other thing I discovered in my online searches was a Singer Featherweight 222K. Of course I know about Featherweights. After all, I learned to sew on my mom's brilliant 1950s machine before getting my own. But I didn't know about the Featherweight 222K. And know that I do know about them, I really want one. The problem is, only 100,000 were ever made (compare that over 1,000,000 Featherweight 221s made between 1948 and 1959) and their scarcity means they are pricey. Especially since they are still very useful machines.
The free arm cousin of the Featherweight 221s were made in Killbowie, Scotland and not only is it a convertible machine that has a tubular bed that is perfect for shirt cuffs, but the feed-dog can be lowered for free form sewing, a huge plus to quilters. So for now, since I am broke, I will keep my eye out on these wonderful little machines in hopes of one day using my own.