Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Venus Project - Part 3

The faceplate. On every sewing machine, this is removable, but though I hunted everywhere, I could not find a screw holding it on. There was a tiny metal bump in the middle, but it wasn't a screw. I finally took a leap into the unknown, and guessed that perhaps it just snapped on. The dirt and rust on the surface and edges was so baked on, I had to take a boxcutter and cut through it, but I finally managed to slip the blade between two metal surfaces and they separated. The other corners did the same, and we had success - the front DID just clip into place. The tiny bump secured a flexible metal tongue that seems to rest against the needle bar. No idea what that does, I'll have to wait until I put it back together again to find out.

Underneath - ugh! Extremely dirty! And I'd already removed the bug nest that had been lodged in there. I've cleaned it up a bit, but still have a lot to do.

Meanwhile, the face plate is clean of rust, but just dull grey now. I wonder if there's some way of polishing this?

Also, I managed to get the balance wheel off. I tried to remove the big bolt that held it on, but couldn't quite figure out how. The head is round, so a wrench can't easily grip it. I sprayed in PB Blaster, but was having no luck, so as the wheel could turn but do nothing else, I thought I'd see how free I could get its motion. I squirted lots of oil on it and was enjoying myself getting to actually *spin* a bit, when to my delight, the big gear wheel behind it began to turn too! Then I realized that where the bolt ran through the wheels I could see shiny steel! A few more turns, and the whole thing detached: bolt, balance wheel and gear wheel! I'm not sure just how it happened, but it seems to have unscrewed simply by spinning the wheel backwards. The bolt is still attached to the balance wheel, but I'll see if I can remove it later. If I can't, this still seems to work.

The gear wheel cleaned up nicely in EvapoRust. I noticed something interesting - the lip of the wheel is ground down or chipped off. It still seems usable, but maybe this resulted in the gears not meshing and was why the machine was abandoned.

I've done a first cleaning of the balance wheel. I'll work on it some more, but I have doubts that any of the gold filigree decoration is left.



Blogger Tina said...

My goodness, she is a lovely machine. You are making good progress! It was a stroke of great luck that the original bobbin and shuttle were still there. The bobbin is so tiny, it must have needed refilling as often as my weed eater does! LOL

I went over and skimmed the article you linked in the 2nd post. It is very interesting. Contrasting the 16 hours of sewing it would take for a simple jacket by hand, to the 2 1/2 hours a treadle like your Venus could accomplish the work must have been such a delight. There would still have been a lot of handwork - hemming, basting, decorative top stitching, etc., but I wonder if those tasks were accomplished with more enthusiasm after not having to expend so much energy on the shell. We forget that one reason women left work when they married was because there was so danged much essential WORK to do at home in those days!


9:09 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Yes, and interesting that there was a lot of resistance to the introduction of sewing machines at first! It makes me think that probably people had a lot fewer clothes than we would consider normal. Every garment would be a considerable investment - in time, if you were making it yourself, and in money, if you had to pay for the labour to make it. Tailors at the time only saw this machine as reducing the value of their work, but the tradeoff would be that people could afford to have more clothes, and they did.

The bobbin is unbelievably tiny! I can't imagine how often you'd have to stop and refill it, or just replace it with another full bobbin. I couldn't see the bobbin or shuttle when I first examined the machine. They weren't actually held in the shuttle holder. They must have been jammed in the mechanism underneath for years. Only when I removed a number of screws securing the works to the machine bed did things starts moving around and they shook loose. Very lucky they weren't lost in all this time.

10:38 am  
Blogger Tina said...

Oh that bit about the bobbin and shuttle is even more interesting. It means she will sew, eventually!

I suspect you are correct about the number of articles of clothing people owned. Very few compared to our overflowing closets. I've been doing some "Living History" things and my sister has sewn me a couple of dresses. When we started researching, it was so interesting to learn that the dickies and "sleeves" from the elbow down, were so common,rather than full blouses. And men's separate collars, which meant they didn't wear out their shirts as quickly. I had seen them before but I guess it didn't register. It makes sense in perspective - didn't waste fabric, would fit even if weight changed, etc.

So have you figured out how/where to display all your machines yet?

10:50 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

The five in cabinets are distributed through the house, and the ones in carry cases are just sort of stashed. One is under the piano, one is in a desk, another ones is BESIDE the desk, and Venus is on top, where I'm working on her. The challenge is to keep for acquiring MORE! (But they're all so beautiful...)

9:39 am  

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