Photos taken inside the Hobart Historical Society museum. Today, in honor of our close examination of the stitching on those sunbonnets we recently looked at, I present to you a Wheeler & Wilson sewing machine. (It's merely an association of ideas. I am not suggesting that this sewing machine made either sunbonnet.)
The museum gives no date for this machine. A quick search on the internet turns up a site that has everything you ever wanted to know about Wheeler & Wilson. From there, I gather that this model, No. 8, would probably date to the late 1870s or early 1880s. I must admit that until I came across this one, I never heard of Wheeler & Wilson.
I hope that this first photo, showing other items for a sense of scale, gives you an idea of how small this machine is compared to modern ones.
(Click on images to enlarge)
This decorative drawer pull on the cabinet caught my eye.
Some of these old machines are housed in exquisitely beautiful cabinets — which makes sense, since the modest middle-class homes in which the ladies of the house did their own sewing would probably not have the space for a separate sewing room. The sewing machine would be part of the furniture in a parlor or spare bedroom, and expected to be attractive as well as useful.