Sewing Machine Relies on Foot Power

By Anne McCollam

February 22, 2019 4 min read

Q: This foot-powered (treadle) sewing machine called "The Wanamaker." It was given to my mother in the early 1900s and is in good working condition. It includes the original wood cabinet and case. The treadle is cast iron, and there are storage drawers on either side. There is a leaf that opens up to provide more workspace. I have been unable to find any serial numbers on the machine or the cabinet.

Any information regarding the history and value, if any, will be very much appreciated.

A: Wanamaker sewing machines were sold by John Wanamaker and Co. John Wanamaker opened his store in the late 1800s in Philadelphia. He was an innovative and successful businessman who was guided by his four principles: a single price tag, a guarantee, cash payment for his products and a cash refund. Before he initiated his single price tag, customers were expected to haggle over the price. Customers were happy with the straightforward method, and Wanamaker was rewarded with growing sales. Wanamaker expanded his store to include women's clothing, house wares and dry goods. He was also the first to offer white sales. He promoted his department store to be a one-stop shop. Eventually, he opened stores in New York and London and Paris.

Your sewing machine with an oak cabinet was made in the early 1900s and would probably be worth $100 to $225.

Q: Recently, I inherited a set of dinnerware that is a service for eight. The enclosed mark is on each piece. The dishes are white with a pink band on the border and trimmed in gold. The set is in excellent condition. Several serving pieces are missing, and I haven't had any luck finding them in antiques shop.

Do you have any advice on how to find the missing dishes? Also, please provide information on the vintage and value of my set.

A: Your dinnerware was made by W. S. George Pottery Company. In 1904, William Shaw George purchased the controlling interest in the East Palestine Pottery Company that was located in East Palestine, Ohio. Four years later, he changed the name to W. S. George Pottery Company. It specialized in semi-porcelain dinnerware, hotel ware and decorative ware. Much of its dinnerware was made in specific shapes and decorated with different patterns. The names of the shapes were included with the mark, and collectors mistakenly assume "Derwood" to be the pattern name. "Derwood" is the name of the shape of your dishes and was made from 1911 till the 1950s. "Rhapsody" is the name of the pattern and was in production from 1945 to 1949.

Search the internet for one of the matching companies to find the missing dishes. Your set of dinnerware would probably be worth $125 to $225.

 John Wanamaker opened his first store in Philadelphia in the late 1800s.
John Wanamaker opened his first store in Philadelphia in the late 1800s.
 W. S. George Pottery Company made dinnerware, hotel ware and decorative ware.
W. S. George Pottery Company made dinnerware, hotel ware and decorative ware.

Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Like it? Share it!

  • 1

Antique or Junque
About Anne McCollam
Read More | RSS | Subscribe

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE...