The vast majority of the sewing machines in our collection are very similar no matter who manufactured them. Needle types might be different and the bobbins might vary but outside of our shuttle machines, they all use a round bobbin. The National Two Spool sewing machine didn’t use a shuttle or a round bobbin, it used a second spool of thread. This is a piece of technology that I’m sorry we ever lost.
National Sewing Machine Company
Before we start talking about the two spool sewing machine let’s dive into the company behind the sewing machine, National Sewing Machine Company. It was an odd duck in the sewing machine world, located in Chicago while everyone else was on the east coast. Barnabas Eldredge had tried the east coast but bought the dies from the factory he was using and moved back to Chicago.
He joined forces with F.T. June who was already producing the Jennie June and the companies co-existed until June died in 1890. Eldredge joined the two companies into the National sewing machine company. National was quick to jump on the badged sewing machine wagon, putting large department store brands on their machines. In 1953, National would close its doors and would be purchased by Janome. Read more about National sewing machine company here.
The Man Behind The Machine
Richard K. Hohman designed the machine. Hohman held many, many patents in the sewing machine space. He held them personally and with Hohman Sewing Machine Company, Sears Roebuck, Singer, White, and National. There are 70 patents on Google’s Patent search and I was able to find the patent for the National Two Spool sewing machine!
Hohman applied for the patent in May 1910 and finally received the patent in November 1911. If you click on “Download PDF” you can read the text that was attached to the drawings. This patent was for Richard as an individual and not in conjunction with any sewing machine company.
What makes the two spool special?
The Two Spool sewing machine made by National holds a size 50 spool in the bobbin area. Now, this size of spool isn’t made today but you can refill them on the machine, they are the small wooden spools you can sometimes find at thrift shops and garage sales. Depending on who made the spool depends on how much thread it will hold because some are skinnier in the middle allowing more thread to be wound. We have some that hold 150 yards of thread. A standard class 15 bobbin holds about 65 yards of thread.
When was my sewing machine made?
The National Two Spool enjoyed a fairly long production period lasting from 1913 – 1930. Outside of those dates, without documentation with the machine, it is almost impossible to narrow the dates down. At one time there was someone in the vintage sewing machine community who was attempting to build a database of serial numbers but it was not digitized.
How many versions of the National Two Spool Sewing Machines were made?
There were two, treadle and electric. I have no personal experience with the electric version. Some of the machines are marked “The Eldredge Two Spool” but they are the same machine.