Thursday, January 17, 2013

For Allison–Meet EG Benford!

While I was visiting with Allison in Plano --- oohing and ahhing over her machines and vintage quilts, a conversation came up about a little machine I have that has been “for decorative use only” --

I picked it up about 5 years ago at the Liberty Antiques festival in Liberty, NC ---

Not knowing much about really old machines ((My brain could only wrap around SOME of the older Singer models at that time)) I didn’t know if I should pick this up or let it go, but the size was so cute and I didn’t know if I would find another.

This little machine could have been a treadle at one time – or maybe it is missing a hand crank?  I don’t know. It isn’t in great condition, but it still had charm.

Look at this badge:

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EG Benford
16 Castle Square

And that wasn’t the only thing that I awwwed at…..look!

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The Shuttle is still here!  And there is still THREAD on it ?!??

Think of all the things this shuttle bobbin with thread has witnessed in the time it has sat unused.  How much has happened in history ----

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Blurry pic of the gears behind the balance wheel.

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Very dirty and much unused underside!

The machine flips up from its footed base on hinges at the rear…..and everything does move on this machine – it’s not locked up. Gear meets gear and the needle-bar goes up and down ((Yes there is a needle there!)) as the shuttle swings back and forth within the confines of its designated arc of movement ---

Does ANYONE know anything on this lovely little piece of history? I’d sure like to know more about it.  I’m assuming it’s an early “Badged” machine ---unless Mr EG Beford, ESQ was a manufacturer of sewing machines back in 1800-whatever.

For now, it resides on one of the book shelves that flank the fireplace in my living room upstairs….


  1. It is truly a little cutie. I don't know much about older machine so have no answers for you but look for ward the the mystery being solved.
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

  2. Hi Bonnie, glad to have you back. Try this link to get more info. http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/white.htm

  3. Bonnie...check out this website...you may already have, but in case you havent't..it is interesting. http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/white.htm

  4. Bonnie,
    Graham Forsdyke, an antique sewing machine specialist, has a wonderful daily email where you could post question about this Sewing Machine. I bet someone there could answer you. Many of the members live in England, like Graham, and post daily.

    This is the website. You can also post pictures there for people to give you more information.

    1. It's called the ISMACS digest. Most of the questions and answers are about Singer sewing machines, but they often have information about other brands as well.
      One of the recent joiners runs a Sewing Machine museum in England.

  5. Sew sweet. No wonder you couldn't leave her, even though you didn't know about her at the time. Can't wait to learn a little about her myself.

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  7. Hi Bonnie! Loved following your most recent travels and glad you're home safe and sound. "Benford" is a very charming machine, despite his age and condition. Brighton being in the south of England, perhaps you have a fan in that area who can check out company records for that company...Sandra (above) is right about 'sewmuse' as a good source. Looks like Mr. Benford retailed sewing machines, whether or not he made them...I just love a history mystery!

  8. http://www.sewalot.com/sewing_machine_collection.htm A google search for benford sewing machine brighton took me to this link with a short mention. "There was a large importers in Brighton near us called E.G.Benford. I have several of his brass badged machines."

  9. http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/white.htm
    it's an english machine: this is what i found about the factory!
    love from amsterdam, irene

  10. Bonnie if I had questions about an old machine like this, I would ask http://lizzielenard-vintagesewing.blogspot.com/ I get great posts from her about information on old machines. hth

  11. Looks like you're just missing the handle since it is direct drive! Seems like it would be easy to fashion a new one. Wouldn't it be fun to sew with this one?!

  12. There appears to be a number of some sort on the rear throat plate (behind the presser foot). - a serial number, maybe? Perhaps this will give you a something to search with. Beautiful machine! From what I've read, E. G. Benford was a retailer, and it was not unusual to have their info imbedded somewhere on the machines they sold.

  13. Hi Bonnie , What you have is just like the White peerless Serial No. 487459 pictured at this link http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/white.htm . all the decals are gone on yours but can you find the Patent # on the rear slide plate? it would help you date it .

  14. I was going to suggest Brighton, England but the wonderful lady detectives here are on the case! I bet by bedtime the mystery will be solved. It's been a month of mysteries!

  15. Oh how interesting, I can't wait to see Allison's reply as I know she knows all the answers to this mystery.. I am hanging on a thread waiting for the skinny on this one... Glad you made it home Bonnie!

    1. Wow crazy quilter you certainly have a lot of confidence in me and that is nice. However, I don't have all the answers, but sure enjoy a challenge and learning in the process! See below for more info. Hugs, Allison

  16. Wow, look at all the responses! I just finished quilting for the day and have my two reference books in hand. Can't wait to find out more. AND a new source to look up!!

  17. Bonnie, I only have one comment on your machine.... Does it have feed dogs? Or does the needle move the fabric?

    My news is I went to Ikea and bought the "Bonnie" lamp only choices for color were black or white and it seems you are not able to replace the light bulb. The light is bright and I bought it for $10
    I saw a similar 100% solar lamp so cool cost $20 and it came in several different colors the plus is Ikea donates a solar lamp for each one sold
    I bought it also in red
    Colleen in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in the USA

  18. Anonymous8:05 PM EST

    Can't wait for the details on this machine! You're going to have to take the blame for my eBay indiscretion - I just bid on another Featherweight LOL.

  19. Like the previous posters, I googled "benford sewing machine brighton" and got the excellent site http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/white.htm
    To quote: "Note the brass boss recessed into the bed of the machine by the bobbin winder which gives the retailer as
    E. G. Benford, 16 Castle Square, Brighton. These premises were in a prominent positon just yards away from the Royal Pavilion which having fallen out of favour with Queen Victoria was being used as Assembly Rooms. Since the Second World War the Royal Pavilion has been restored to its former glory."

    Now you can speculate about how this machine got from the south of England to the U.S.!

  20. Glad you are home BOnnie. I'm assuming you are not doing quiltcam, so turning in here.
    I know you are probably in bed eating popcorn with feet up, watching a movie. GOodnight!~
    good for you!!~

  21. Cute little machine. I know nothing about it but the above previous links/info. If it proves to be a White badged machine then Katie Farmer may be able to tell you more. She is the goddess of White sewing machines, KF82479@aol.com. She had a great web page on webshots but had to take it down when they changed everything. Now I'm going to be picky...it's not a shuttle bobbin. It's a shuttle AND bobbin -2 separate parts. The thread is wound on the bobbin which is inserted into the shuttle. Sorry for my pickiness! :)

    1. you can call it what you want. but for me...some bobbins go in shuttles, some bobbins are round. so for me the difference is whether it is a shuttle bobbin or a round bobbin. Be as picky as you will!

      I never understood why someone would be so picky-- and then apologize for it -- and still post it?

      Sorry for my questioning! :c)

  22. Hi Bonnie, Looks like sewlucky pegged your little machine. A White Peerless. I've been doing some more reading and wanted to know if you had checked underneath the front slide plate for a serial number? The original decals were once spectacular. Like you said, wonder what its useful years were like before it was retired? Good for you for rescuing it and putting it out in the VSM Quiltville pasture!! Sure enjoyed learning more about your sweet little machine.

  23. Between the serial number Bonnie posted on the Vintage Machines facebook page of 487404 and the rear slide plate date of November 29, 1881 of her machine compared to the one I found for a machine sold in the UK in May of 2012 with a serial number of 494669 with a July 11, 1882 manufacture date -- pretty good guess to go with her 1881 date for her machine. I learned a great deal in the process and have saved all the info in a file so I can refer to it later. I tried to contact Katie Farmer, but her e-mail gets kicked back to me.


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