I had the funniest experience last week! I got a nice email from a lady named Caroline who saw my post about my Grandma's Dressmaster sewing machine. She had googled "Dressmaster sewing machine manual". Anyway, she was looking for a manual as am I. I wasn't much help to her except that I could tell her that the manufacturer was White. She showed me a photo of her Dressmaster and I sent back a photo of mine. Hers was a really cool fifties looking machine so I didn't feel I could be much help. Well, mine looks exactly like the Domestic Rotary Electric she just purchased complete with manual for $20! Here's a link to her blog post.
The funny thing about her Domestic was that the company was bought by White in 1924 and apparently they just kept on making the same machines but with new name plates. Well, okay, that's not funny. What's funny is that my machine, which looks exactly like hers (except for the name plates), is twenty years newer than hers. So I decided to do a little looking and it seems to be the same way across the board. From the first electric machines which I guess would be the 1920's right up to about 1950, the machines were all heavy cast iron (as were the treadle machines before that). I'm guessing that the development of stable plastics during WWII brought the change about. The same thing can be seen with dolls. Composition was the material for dolls from 1900 to 1950. Once plastics were adopted, it became the universal standard. Now, I'm not saying plastic is a bad thing. After all, this sewing machine weighs a ton! And composition dolls cracked and peeled, but it does seem a shame that there's nothing being made new with these old materials. I mean, we still make bisque dolls and that's an old material. Oh well, I guess it just means that we need to treasure what is left from the older eras. And this machine is a dream. It is just so smooth and solid. Oh, and Caroline has the manual! And she is going to copy it and send it to me! Yay! Thank you so much, Caroline!