Vintage sewing machine cabinets range from beautiful antiques to practical, usable, high quality pieces. Knowing more about your vintage sewing machine cabinet can help you make the most of this addition to your home. Dating a vintage sewing table can be quite easy or significantly more difficult, depending upon the sewing machine and style.
Look for a label or manufacturer on the cabinet itself. This piece of information can help you date the cabinet. Check inside any drawers and on the underside of the cabinet for this information. You may even find a date of manufacture printed on your vintage sewing cabinet.
Date the sewing machine. Sewing machines can typically be dated quite easily by serial number and manufacturer. If your vintage sewing cabinet has an intact machine, this may give you some clues as to the date of the cabinet. Do keep in mind that the machine and cabinet may not have been sold together and that the machine could be older or newer than the cabinet itself.
Assess the hardware. If your sewing cabinet has a treadle, this likely makes it older; however, treadles are still in production. During the 1950s, many sewing cabinets had a knee-press option as an alternative to a foot pedal.
Date your cabinet by style. You may be able to estimate a date for your cabinet by assessing stylistic features. Look at the wood finish, details and general shape of the cabinet. Blond wood and chrome place a vintage sewing table securely in the 1950s, while ornate detailing, small drawers and curving shapes might lend one to believe a piece was from the 1910s. Familiarize yourself with furniture styles to get a better handle on dating vintage sewing cabinets.
Examine the materials and construction. This can help you determine which treadle sewing machine cabinet is authentic versus a reproduction, or allow you to estimate a date. Fiberboard construction places any sewing cabinet in the 1960s at the earliest, while chrome and plywood were common in the 1950s.
With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.