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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dirty Dagny!

During QuiltCam time on the treadle on Sunday afternoon I received a phone call --- one I had to pick up while on camera because it was a call that I was waiting for.

I had sent an email the day before to contact the seller of a pink 1950’s Atlas machine.

The machine was a bit out of my way if I were just searching around my home area, but it turns out that it was ON the way to Kentucky yesterday.

I talked to the lady a little bit about machines, hers in particular.

Let me say this --- people are just INTERESTING!

“Does the machine work?”

“Yes.”

“It’s an early Singer”.

“I don’t think so ---it says Atlas on it, Singer never made machines under the Atlas brand. Likely it’s a Singer clone made in Japan in the late 1950s.”

“It’s an early electric machine.”

“I don’t think so --- Singer started electrifying machines around 1920 if not earlier, and this is from the late 1950s and made in Japan.”

It’s kind of like when you walk into an antique mall and there is a recently worn out Chinese “hand stitched" quilt that fell apart after two washings due to its toe-catcher stitches, and here they are trying to pass it off as a “rare antique.”

She said she had been the only owner and had gotten this as a gift after high school. Whether it had ever been used, I have no idea ---but I’d like to pass on a hint to those who sell things as “rare and valuable”

PLEASE DUST OFF THE COBWEBS and get the dead bugs out of the machine base!

This thing is SO dirty gritty I’m afraid to see what’s inside. It looks like it’s spent the last 40 years in the garden shed.


It’s just as dirty INSIDE! The bobbin tire is just hanging there. We go to plug the machine in ((Because she assured me it works!!)) And nothing goes. It’s a bit tight --- like..has it been oiled in the past 40 years? I’m not sure! It feels like there is thread caught….

I tilt it back and there is NO BOBBIN CASE. It takes a class 15 bobbin, I know I have a couple spares at home. It’s much more standard and easy to replace than the bobbin case for Tiffany, but --- this is in NO WAY in working condition. Dirty dirty dirty!

Tell me this --- if you are touting something as rare and valuable wouldn’t you clean it up before showing it to anyone? Wipe it down maybe? Test it out?


It still has the price tag/serial number tag attached to it!


The good housekeeping seal of approval!

It says plainly – ATLAS made in Japan.

Even though she is so dirty I’m still intrigued. Okay, I love pink machines – I just have a fondness in my girly-girl heart for them. I explain that this machine is going to need a LOT of work. She is asking $50. I come back with $35 explaining that if I take it to my vintage machine guy, likely it’s going to cost me at least $70 to get it gone through plus parts to replace the bobbin case, the tire and the belt and who knows what other problems it has.

She says she wants $50 for it. It means a lot to her. At this time I’m about to walk away and I explain again. You’ve had it listed a long time. It is not in running order. It is not an early Singer and these clones just do not fetch that much money, certainly not in this condition. You could be hanging onto this thing a long time before you sell it, or I could give you $35 for it right now. Your choice.

I explain that I am a vintage machine lover, and if she sells this machine to me it WILL get functional. It will live a good life being loved and used by someone who appreciates it. It will never be this dirty again.

She thinks about it and decides okay, $35 it is.



This is the emblem on the machine bed. Atlas holding up the world!


Little globes encircle the border around the machine bed.

Another reason I don’t think this machine ever saw much use --- the emblems are not worn. I really won’t know until I am able to really clean her up and see what I can do about it ---but this has been one long-neglected machine!

As to her name ----

How many of you have read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand? I loved that book! And of course when I saw the emblem that is what I thought of ---that book!

So I’d like you to say hello to Dagny! Dagny was the main female character in the book ----which was very popular during the 50s.

Dagny it is.

And Dagnabbit if it ends up not working after all this!

50 comments:

Lynelle said...

Cigarette smoke, dirt, grime, it was all worth it! Love your new pink Atlas, I am on the look out for one of those also. I just brought home a turquoise 50's Compac, which I love. I did pay 40 for it, but it is in pristine condition and sews beautifully.

4dreamsr said...

Hope it's really pink & that's not just the tint of the dirt.

Joen(joenprky@aol.com said...

Well it was an interesting experiance anyway..lol
When Dagney is up an running you will be very happy. I love that you name all your machines.

gia gia said...

a dollar a pound, not too bad!

Diane said...

Congrats on your newest! What a great find. I'll bet a huge part of the "dirt" on Dagny is nicotine. My mil (retired chain smoker) gave me a 80's blue Singer that I couldn't even tell the true color until after an entire bottle of 409 and elbow grease!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I almost snorted Diet Dr Pepper thru my nose when reading this post. I am always amazed when people don't clean things up - or a least make an attempt to do so! If I'm looking at something on Craigslist and the background looks like a pig sty, I just keep on moving. Probably miss a few good deals this way, but I just can't do filthy. I giggled when she said "it meant so much to her". So is that why it's been treated like that all those years? Hope Dagny looks better after a bath! Now she will be loved!!!!! Joy in AK

Bev said...

even in her disgusting state, she is beautiful! Wish I could find one as sweet as this!

Linnie Quilts said...

Oh Bonnie! Atlas Shrugged is my most favorite book of ALL times, bar none. It's a really LONG and (at times) tough read but exactly what is happening in this world and country today. I would urge anyone who hasn't read the book to give it a try ... well worth it. Dagny is the PERFECT name for this machine. Rising from the "ashes" so to speak ... sorry, just HAD to say it. From a reformed smoker I'm feeling your pain about the odors. Please keep us posted on Dagny's reform ... perhaps you could introduce her to everyone on QuiltCam once she's back in the land of the living ... travel safe!

Linnie Quilts said...

...."snorted Diet Dr Pepper" ... LMAO

Eileen S said...

I love that you found a pink machine!! So Bonnie, how many machines do you have?? ;-)

judy crumpler said...

I see a diamond on the rough. Yuck hate cigs....

Sandra Henderson said...

You'll get it working BOnnie. I'm sure of it.
I hate that feeling that you described of feeling dirty after... ugh. Bless your heart.
My husband met Ayn Rand when she came to speak at Duke. He use to subscribe to the "Objectiveness Newsletter" that she put out.
COOL!~
again.

Sandra Henderson said...

That's funny. lol

Sandra Henderson said...

lol

Valerie said...

LOL!! Worth it's weight in gold, hopefully!

quiltyVal said...

Bonnie, every time I read about one of your great finds, I want to go out and start collecting vintage machines! But, unfortunately, I am currently unemployed. When I get a job, though.... In the meantime, can you refer me to any resources to educate myself what to look for? Thanks!

Valerie (vjm413@gmail.com

Sandra Henderson said...

AMEN!~re. how Atlas Shrugged applies to today!
I need to get that on tape and listen to it on my next roadtrip!!

Susan said...

Bonnie!

I'm writing with a question. How often are you suppose to change needles on your machine?

Susan
myhookandi.blogspot.com/

Valerie said...

It is coincidental that this morning I read your post from a couple years ago about reading "Atlas Shrugged."

As to cleaning, I've discovered a fantastic homemade concoction--a mixture of vinegar and Dawn dish detergent. Original recipe called for equal parts, but that took too much rinsing, so I use about 3 or 4 parts vinegar to 1 part Dawn. It is amazing the things it will clean, and I think that layer of nicotine will not put up a fight with it. Have fun cleaning and getting to know Dagny!

janice said...

Your posts make me want to start collecting. I have my mother's electric singer and my grandmother's treadle. I use only my newer singer, but think I will use these, also. Can't wait to see Dagny all cleaned up !

Tami C said...

So glad you found a new pink one! I'm sure hope that Dagny turns out to be the replacement that you were hoping for. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Bonnie - I love your new machine. I'm relatively new to quilting and have a newer lightweight Brother, but I really love the older machines that remind me of the one my Mom used 40 years ago. I actually have an Atlas that looks just like this one that my son picked up somewhere and it's sitting in my basement. I tried to get it working and had no luck, but I know so little about servicing sewing machines. Can you recommend a good website or resource for manuals on servicing or for parts such as belts, etc.? Thanks so much! Linda (ldclark333@gmail.com)

Beth said...

I know that Dagny will be returned to her original beauty in your hands. I bet after a good cleaning and some lubrication (maybe a few parts) she will purr for you.
You do want me to go on a machine hunt.

Mary Ellen said...

What was the reaction when you pointed out the filthy, non-working condition of this "much loved,, in working order" machine? Really, did she think you just fell off the turnip truck or what? IMHO you were doing her a favor taking the thing off her hands and she should have paid you. Kind of like adopting an abused puppy or kitten. Dagny will be so happy to have landed in such a soft spot.

Stephen in London said...

Well done for rescuing that poor neglected little machine! I am SO with you on ciggie smoke - a guy sat down behind me on the bus today who stank so badly of smoke that I nearly threw up - fortunately I was getting off quite soon afterwards! A friend who restores oil paintings professionally uses surgical spirit to get nicotine layers off - make sure you have good ventilation.

Carolyn Sullivan said...

I wish there was a "LIKE" button as well as a reply button for your comment section! I too almost 'snorted diet' only it was tea! you are too funny! I loved Ann Rynd and I think that is a great name! I also like the 1 part of Dawn and 1 part vinegar as a cleaning mixture.
I have some 1930-1950's feather weights due to you. I used vinegar and often just oil to get the gung off of the machines. But the smells are the hardest to get out of the machines and the cases.

Anonymous said...

What you get yourself into, Bonnie!!! Funny, funny post....Pat

sunshineannie said...

I have this same machine, it's a pale pink, not really pretty pink. Mine was much used and lots of scratches on the bed. But it did have all it's parts, and thankfully doesn't stink like a saloon. That's a deal breaker for me.

The Thimblemouse of Country Crossroads said...

I hope Dagny turns into a 'diamond in the rough' - I love that she's Pink...can't wait to hear how this all plays out.

Sheila said...

I too love the book... and the old movie.

Linnie Quilts said...

I'm not Bonnie but I always change my machine needle at the start of a new project. I also change it after about 25 hours of sewing, sooner if I'm using batiks. You can sort of "feel" when it needs to be changed with those ... doesn't sew as smoothly.

Gail said...

Hi Bonnie,

Great find, can't wait to see her all cleaned up and humming along. I think the Atlas machines were made by the Brother Sewing Machine Company. I noticed that the knob to drop the feed dogs has multiple settings. I've never seen that on another machine--it's usually just "up" or "down". It would be interesting to know why there are so many positions.

Gail :)

Mimi said...

I am sure this machine was much loved - never used - but much loved as a special someone probably did indeed give it to her for high school graduation.

We ALL have great hopes for Dagny.... you go girl.

Colleen said...

Even if it doesnt work it will look amazing cleaned up and on display. the globes are priceless.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie, check out this website. Says machine is late 50's or early 60's. I love cleaning up those dirty machines. It's so rewarding. Congrats on another good find.

Betty

Anonymous said...

Oops, just google Atlas Sewing Machine and there are pictures and stories.

Betty

YankeeQuilter said...

I'm sure you will find a way to get this beauty working...the decals are amazing!

JaneB said...

"snorted Diet Dr Pepper" man I hate it when THAT happens!

JaneB said...

Love this post . . . even though it could lead to more collecting, I'm content, I have my treadle (Lily - 1903); and my Featherweight (Betty - 1955) and my Bernina (Sarah - modern girl at 1999). I think I'm happy to have these three girls in my home, but pink could tempt me or turquoise. . . .

Leslie said...

Dagny, the perfect name for a gritty girl who's a little rough around the edges, mostly due to no fault of her own. Did you also read We The Living? Much different from Atlas Shrugged, but a good read.

Vic in NH said...

I read "Atlas Shrugged" in high school in the 1960's and loved it; Dagny was such a wonderful heroine. And, "Who is John Galt?"

Carol Lauer said...

Love this story-You are the American Picker of Sewing machines. Mike and Frank would be proud of you, saving sewing history one piece at a time. And your bargaining skills are awesome!

~Kris~ said...

I have never heard of an Atlas machine. Really interesting. Would you believe I Skyped last night with a 3 year old little girl named Dagny? Her mom loves the book too.

Nann said...

I wonder if the woman from whom you bought the machine will read your blog....

Anonymous said...

I really dig the Atlas motif and logos!

mazie jane said...

Dear Delta Dawn buddy,

My pink Atlas is my primary machine and I have been sewing non-stop on it for more than 20 years now. Of all my oldies, He is my Favorite. She is going to work, she is going to sew a straight stitch that will make your heart sing. And now we are sisters of the pink machines, too.

Mary said...

Glad Dagney is all yours, she deserves the best of care. Thanks for sharing your 'finds'.

tink's mom said...

It looks like you got a lovely machine. I look at the dirt on it I think it may have been better left dirty. Lord knows what she could have done to the globes is she used something say like an eraser sponge in an attempt to clean it.. Better you and your guy clean her up and give her a hug, she needs it.

osmgreasemonkey said...

If not for filthy I would have missed some great machines. I cut my vintage machine maintenance and repair teeth on featherweights and am glad I did. I just won my own pink Atlas this morning on eBay, a nasty thing, and I can't wait to clean it up. Pedal needs to be rewired and I think I can do that too. Best part is I made an offer and and got it for $35 or $40, depending on what shipping actually costs--I never include shipping costs as part of the price of a machine. hee hee

Carolyn Stowe said...

Love it. Just found your YouTube channel, which lead me to your blog, all because of my very own pink atlas! I just found mine abandoned at a habitat for humanity thrift store. She was disgusting to say the least. She wasn't seized up, and the motor ran! There was a note on the piece tag that attachments were up front. I assumed it was talking about the spare bobbins and old needles in the front of her table. Nope. An additional foot pedal. Original tools and bulbs. And the entire set of greist attachments in original box with manual. I was already set on buying it, but after I realized I was getting all of that, it was a deal. Paid $20!!! A bottle of purple power and lots of oil, she runs like a champ!!! I thought I was going to have to order new belts, but turns out I had a spare that was the perfect fit. My five year old son has been over the moon because now he can sit beside me and sew too. He doesn't even mind that it's pink :) I'm going to have to show your collection to my husband. He didn't understand why I NEEDED it. I already had a sewing machine and didn't need another one. It's becoming an obsession!!!! I have a modernage zig zig machine. It was my first vintage. I sold my cheap plastic brother after about a week. It's nothing fancy, but so smooth and sews so much better than these new machines. Plus, there's nothing to break. Nothing an oil can and cleaner can't fix (well there is, but you know what I mean). i absolutely love sewing on my old metal tanks!