Not currently on display at the V&A

Sewing Machine

ca.1875-80 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is one of the first patented sewing machines. It has an elevated shelf to support the fabric being sewn. Such machines were marketed as essential and easy-to-use accessories for the organised housewife. An expensive machine like this would have taken pride of place in a middle-class drawing room. It is decorated with a fashionable technique called ‘japanning’ – a type of painted lacquer.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cast iron, japanned in black and gold
Brief Description
Sewing machine, cast iron, japanned in black and gold, England, about 1875-80
Physical Description
Sewing machine, cast iron, japanned in black and gold, with a label, engraved 'The arm and platform machine London .E.Ward's patent'. The side facing the sewer is covered with ornament, unlike the back, which is plain.
Credit line
Maja Schalburg Bequest
Object history
The functional aspects of the sewing machine do not result in an easy or regular shape for decoration, yet the side facing the sewer is covered with ornament, unlike the back, which is plain. Such decoration was essential if machines were to take their place in the Victorian interior.
Subject depicted
Summary
This is one of the first patented sewing machines. It has an elevated shelf to support the fabric being sewn. Such machines were marketed as essential and easy-to-use accessories for the organised housewife. An expensive machine like this would have taken pride of place in a middle-class drawing room. It is decorated with a fashionable technique called ‘japanning’ – a type of painted lacquer.
Collection
Accession Number
M.44:1-1991

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdAugust 24, 2005
Record URL