Vestazinha Little Vesta Saxonia Sewing Machine Circa 1940
Hello Dear Friends and Readers, and a warm welcome to todays post.
It has been a long time since I have written a post about a sewing machine. This is basically because I haven’t acquired any new “old” machines nor felt the need…however…..
A few months ago I visited a local second hand shop. while wandering around, I spotted an adorable looking small hand crank machine. I approached the lady and asked for the price. She said it was not for sale as she was giving it to a friend. I was actually a little disappointed.
Nevermind…… Then, a couple of days ago I happened to be walking past the same shop and I thought I would have a wander through. I spotted a couple of interesting items including an old cast iron bed frame.
How nice would this be with a quilt or two on it?
I was about to leave when I spotted that little machine again. I approached the lady again and she said that her friend didn’t want it afterall. I asked her about the previous owner. Apparently she acquired it from a lady who had said that it was working….. and that was all she knew.
It is seriously such a good looking little girl that I decided to get it. Here she is as found. Needs a little cleaning, but not too much.
It is a Transverse Shuttle Hand Crank 3/4 machine.
Vestazinha Sewing Machine – A “Little” History
I took it home and did a bit of reading. I suspected it was of German origin but I wasn’t sure. It turns out that all the records for these machines were pretty much destroyed or repatriated to Russia by the Russians, when they took over the factory during the Second World War. This triangle symbol apparently indicates that the machine was built after 1936. https://www.fiddlebase.com/german-machines/vesta/sewing-machines/
The factory was in Altenburg Germany, south of Leipzig and north of Dresden.
On opening the base, the number was located. The inside of the base was surprisingly clean.
According to Wikipedia by 1940, two million machines had been built. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesta-N%C3%A4hmaschinen-Werke
I found a very similar machine for sale which was dated as sold in 1946. The number on that machine is 2043258, meaning it was made sometime after mine.. All sewing machine production was ceased in 1940, then recommenced in 1946. During those years it was used for munitions. The machine with a similar number might have been produced after the war. The guarantee is faintly dated 1946. it is being dispatched from Ukraine which used to be part of Russia. Machines made in this factory after the war were reparations and sent to Russia. https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/1398147207/vesta-antique-cast-iron-german-made
So after a good sleep I woke up thinking that my machine was probably made in 1946 too. Reason being, it is so similar to the other one and the decals actually look Russian in their colours and design. They certainly look different from what I could see of their previous machines. I also had a lovely comment from Marianne who had reached the same conclusion, see the comments in the post. Thank you Marianne K.
Just as a point of interest I found one site which said that Zinha was Portuguese for “Little Woman”. Also Zina is a name used in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Apparently it can mean welcoming and Hospitable.
All of the decals are in pretty good condition so I do not believe it was heavily used. The base has a wooden veneer coating which has delaminated in places so I will reglue it.
The hand wheel seems large for the machine. The open cut gears can be seen and it has a beautiful folding porcelain handle.
Vestazinha Cleaning and Threading Little Vesta
As the previous owner said that it had been working, it did have a needle and I was hoping this was correct. I was inserted incorrectly. It needs to be threaded from front to back. As you can see the nickel plating is a bit scarred. I cleaned off all the major dirt with a soft damp lint free cloth and then lubricated the machine and polished it all using sewing machine oil.
The shuttle and bobbin were present which is a bonus and the shuttle was moving freely with turning the hand wheel.
The tension spring was initally very tight and sticky. After loosening it and cleaning it threaded up easily. You can see the thread pathway in the orange thread. Also note the unusual but lovely snakeskin pattern on the side plate. The nipple/thread guide which can be seen of the front upper right of the photo is for winding the shuttle bobbin, which I have not attempted yet.
After a few adjustments to the tension spring, she is stitching beautifully!!! Maybe a touch tight on the tension, I will loosen it up.
The image below is courtesy of Alex Askaroff from his Sewalot site which you can access here.https://sewalot.com/vesta%20sewing%20machines.htm
I believe this image contains the most valuable historical information regarding this this machine. Thank you Alex.
Unfortunately, it is missing the bentwood case, but no matter as this Vestazinha “Little Vesta” looks beautiful displayed. One of the main reasons for having this machine is that it is very small and portable. Hand cranks in my experience seem very accurate stitchers,
Actually I am really looking forward to taking this outside and sewing in the natural light.
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© Susan Stuklis 2024