Wertheim Model A Sewing Machine
Hello Dear Friends and Readers. I haven’t been able to discover a great deal of information about this machine but I’m sharing what I know about this one so far. I suppose the older the machine the probability of finding one becomes a bit more remote and the paucity of available information becomes evident. This machine would have been made in Germany, but how it came to be here in Australia I don’t know, except that the son of Myer Wertheim came to Australia and established a business in Melbourne making Pianos and so there is a possible connection.
By chance I happened across a place called Bargain Hunt Auctions in Sydney. I just had to go in and have a bit of a look around. To my surprise there was a couple of sewing machines that were to be included in their next auction, and this machine was one of them I had no idea about this machine except that it looked very old and most unique as the whole machine and base is cast iron.
The decorative base is quite pretty, and would have been lovely when all the decals were present the needle plate was definitely rusted closed, but I have discovered this can be a positive feature. Reason being, it’s way better than a missing needle plate and absent bobbin or shuttle!
So then I decided I would return in a few days for the auction and buy that machine. I’d never seen one like it in real life and I suspected I might not again. So I went to the auction and sat through about 240 lots to wait for this one. I had to bid persistently to get this one the were at least three other bidders.
I managed to pack it into my little suitcase (lucky I like to travel light) and took her home with me.
Oh, incidently, even though the needle plate was jammed, I was surprised when I opened the base (it has a little button on the front) that the shuttle and bobbin are still present. Not bad for a machine that’s about 140 years old!
By taking a close up photo of the front arm I was able to see the outline of the word Wertheim across the front sewing bar. I was only able to identify this machine thanks to Alex Askaroff and his Sewalot site. This is an early Wertheim cast iron hand crank vibrating shuttle (characterised by the curved arm of the shuttle motion) machine which dates from around 1870. Unfortunately I don’t know any of the history of this particlular machine.
I am not sure if the “timing” is out. To date I have not been able to get the machine to form a proper stitch, only stitching from there top but it is not engaging the thread from the shuttle. It has been suggested that I might need a different needle? Or maybe I should revisit how I have threaded the shuttle. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
The sliding button at the front of the machine next to the shuttle bobbin winder is the stitch length lever. Moving it to the right makes the stitch length longer.
On the advice of Alex Askaroff, the Wertheim Model A requires 135 x 5 needle size 16. Thank you Alex.
You can read a wealth of sewing machine information and history from Alex Askaroff and his Sewalot site.
Here is a link.
I believe it threads from left to right but that is just my guess as there are two deeply grooved thread guides on the left side.
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All the best,