Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Henna Design 1929 Singer 15K Henna Design

Singer 15K Sewing Machine
Beautiful Oriental Cabinet, presumably Japanese...

Singer 15K Machine
The Lacquer has some damage.

Singer 15K Machine
The 1929 Singer 15K with Sphinx Decals.

Singer 15K Machine
It turns over wonderfully, the wood on the handcrank needs replacement.

What I've been able to find out so far:

My wife and I were at the local Antique mall where she pointed out "a sewing machine" to me. As I approached the machine, the most obvious feature was the table top cabinet in "Coca-Cola Red". Described as "Japanese", the red lacquered cabinet has beautiful Abalone inlay depicting a Peacock, although there is some damage to the lacquer that may or may not be easy to fix. The machine is a 1929 hand crank Singer 15K (15-30?) with Sphinx decals. The machine has obviously been used - but not abused - and turned over wonderfully right there in the store.

Needless to say, it came home with me as the asking price was only $20!!

A member of the Needlebar contributed: A nice find! I live in Japan and I also guess the cabinet must have been designed to be used on Tatami floor. In a kneeling position on the floor (Seiza in Japanese ). Lacquer may be Urushi lacquer, which is used for traditional handicraft products, wood dishes or furniture. Inlaid mother of pearl is also occasionally seen with Urushi. If it's a really Urushi cabinet, it was a high-class item at the time.

I'm speculating that this 1929 machine was given as a wedding present in about 1930 to a well to do Japanese newlywed couple, then came to the US in the late 1940s with a presumed war bride daughter. Hand cranked machines are quite rare in the US "natively" - US machines were by and large either treadled or electric. It shows that it was both used extensively, and was well loved and well maintained. It didn't even need cleaning!

I need to replace the wood on the handcrank, replace the knobs on the 2 drawers with something appropriate; and I need to either restore, or at least conserve, the lacquer on the cabinet so it doesn't deteriorate further and damage the mother of pearl inlay. I'm going to try to consult with someone who is familiar with the Urushi lacquer.


I basically lost interest in this machine and its beautiful cabinet - too large, so it was sold to someone who will appreciate and conserve it!

Singer 15K Machine
Last view! I offered the buyer the porcelain knobs and wooden handle, but she declined.

Sewing Machine

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