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1938 Kenmore Rotary DeLuxe



Ever since I was a little girl I can remember my "mom's" sewing machine. She didn't sew a whole lot, but it would get taken out every now and again -- usually for a Halloween costume. It was stored in the back bedroom closet. The last time I think I saw it in use must've been the early 80s, where it was doomed to sit for the next 30 years.

In 1998 I became interested in all things vintage and one of the firt things to come out of hiding was that old sewing machine. By now, I knew it was actually my grandmother's machine from the late 1930s. I looked up the model number online and found it was manufactured in 1938. I was thrilled, since I dated it around 1945ish.

It was just a showpiece until 2008 when I seriously learned to sew. I actually went and got it repaired and it works. New life has entered the 70+ year old sewing machine 30 years after it's last use.


It is powered by a knee lever, which takes getting used to. The cord is very "modern" and is in perfect condition.


The drawer handles are beautiful art moderne style.



The top shows its age.



It folds out for a large workspace!



Ahhh, the machine pops out! It is HEAVY AS HELL -- solid metal. I've dropped it and it still keeps going -- no cosmetic dings, even! And even though she has been cleaned and refurbished, she still smells of oldness and oil. Mmmmmm!




This part was completely replaced. It had a big indent in it from being on its side for 30 years.


The model number.




I also found an ad for the closest thing I can find to grandma's sewing machine. It's in my Sears 1940-1941 Winter Catalog. I got excited when I saw it:



I always like to see vintage items in their "natural habitats." Hehe! Dating the machine was easy. I just looked up the model number in the Sears Archive for sewing machines.

Comments

  1. Your machine is beautiful. I love that it's been in your family since it was new. They don't make them like they used to. They are so sturdy and their simplicity makes them incredibly easy to fix the odd time they break. Santa spoiled me this year and got me a brand new Husqvarna Viking sewing machine and serger! I'm not sure what to do with my old machines (70's singer and 50's Singer Spartan). I'll probably just put them away until my daughter is old enough to learn to sew.

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