Any collector will tell you that it’s always good when they can add something to their collection. It’s even better when it comes at a knock down price and better still when it’s something unusual. All of the above applied recently when I headed off to Cromford Mill with a stationary engine in the back of the van to form part of a display.
Once our display at the mill was set up, I took the oportunity to take a look around some of the small antique shops that now occupy some of the old mill buildings. I didn’t find much of interest on this occasion though and I was just about to give up when I noticed the Arkwright Society’s charity shop was also open.
Now, for those who don’t know, Cromford Mill is a massively important and early piece of our industrial heritage, built by a chap called Richard Arkwright and used in the spinning industry. The Arkwright society now look after it and hence why they have a charity shop on site. It mainly sells books and a few odd bits of china and glassware that people donate. But on this occasion, sitting on the floor in the corner was what appeared to be the case of a 1960s sewing machine. As I collect old machines I opened the case and much to my surprise, found a Jones Spool machine inside!
I had no idea what a Jones Spool was, but I knew enough to know it looked old. So a few pounds changed hands and I carried the non-working machine back to the van.
Luckily I had my tools and a can of oil with me. So while the old stationary engines chugged away in the background, I started work to free off the partially seized machine. A spot of oil here and there and a bit of turning the handle and she was soon running free again. I noticed there was even a needle still in place. however as I didn’t have any thread, I couldn’t try actually sewing anything until I got home.
Less than 24 hours later and the old machine was happily stitching away! It turns out these machines use a unique design of bobbin for the bottom thread and a very rare type of needle. Luckily the needle that was already fitted was good and I found a few spare bobbins in the base of the machine, together with a few other goodies.
I’ll be looking in that shop again in the future!