Found: Beautiful Vintage Product Design

My mother recently came into posession of an old model sewing machine (still not sure what year, but the styling places it in mid-20 century I would think). I don’t know exactly what it is about this thing, but it is easily one of the most gorgeous product designs I have ever seen. The lines, the forms, the proportions, the weight of the steel, just about everything. It grabs my attention every time I see it.

Anyway, just thought I’d share a bit of sweetness that I stumbled across. Additional pics can be found on my blog:

That is beautiful.

Yep - this is one of those times when I honestly couldn’t say whether this thing worked well from a functional standpoint, and I’ll go even further by saying that it really doesn’t matter to me that this is even a sewing machine. It could be a toaster oven or a lawnmower for all I care - I just love the form. Heck, I even dig the paint scheme!

Totally understand. I have a bunch of things like this around me at the studio and at home. A few transistor radios from the 60’s, a collection of electric desk fans ranging from the 1900’s through the 60’s, and a few old phones… none of them are plugged in. I just like studying them.

Sweet. Google White Sewing machines and you will find a bunch of good looking products dating from the 1870’s; mostly “industrial” machines, so your grandmother (?) must have been a serious seamstress to have one.

My mom inherited a ancient electric White from her mum; it was black, knocked down to fit in a carrying case, and looked like it was shipped on Conestoga wagon. Probably dated from the mid-40’s or so.

Look at the size of that motor! Bet you could go through leather (or flesh for that matter) quite easily.

I really like how the top surface responds to the wheel in the rear and gracefully transitions toward the front before terminating in a semi crisp transition to another variable surface. That is some complicated surfacing. Art & Design right there.

That is some complicated surfacing. Art & Design right there.

Old school, pre-CAD, descriptive geometry at work! :wink:

In addition to the elegance of the lines and the proportions, I also love the heck out of the metal that the body is made from. It’s not a lightweight plastic or resin. Instead the metal gives it a “weight”, for lack of a better word, that totally seals it for me.

I also LOVE the side-mounted motor, it almost looks like a design they could have used for a spacship in one of the recent Star Wars movies.

I also LOVE the side-mounted motor, it almost looks like a design they could have used for a spacship in one of the recent Star Wars movies.

And total access to it’s guts for maintenance as well; fall-out from evolving from an “industrial” product.

haha! as if…

I just recently picked up almost the EXACT same model from a dealer in town. I wanted one of the old Singers, but wasn’t quite sure how well it would sew through leather. This thing’s pretty robust, and it caught my eye right away. I think the one I’ve got must be a few years older since the tension knob is in a different location, and the machine threads in a slightly different way.

The next one I get will be a machine with a walking foot to be able to properly sew thicker materials, but I just love these old machines. It’s gotta weigh at least 40 pounds, and I love the case that it comes in making it nice and “portable”. I’ll try and post a pic of mine.

That is indeed very smooth, very 50’s american, would that be streamline design from the “atomic age” ?

it certainly would be.

I’d guess more 60s than 50s. And streamline is usually earlier like 30s/40s.

Not so atomic. more industrial.


That is when the streamline era started, but certainly it influenced the mass market much more after WWII rather than before. The atomic age started semi-officially in 1945 and arguably still goes today, but I think is more commonly thought of to end in the 70’s. Think of it of starting at the end of WWII (the bomb) and ending with 3 Mile Island, 1979.

I’d agree that streamline did have a presence in the 50s but more in the late 30s as in the wiki article it was common. Anyhow, don’t think the sewing machine is particularly streamline. Streamline has a lot of teardrop shapes, strong hortizontals, etc.

For sure atomic was 45-on but again, don’t see the styling as so atomic, more the refined industrial/commercial styling of the early 60s. Atomic is more things with fins, rocket/jet engine shapes, chrome, spacey.


What I see is a cumulative influence from all of those eras. More like a conscience decision to go a specific direction with the aesthetic based on external influences of the time. Definitely not accidental but certainly not deliberate styling for specific form language. I love the consistent blending of all the components from the nose to the tail. Dutilio. hit the nail on the head with his styling synopsis. It definitely resonates.

Dutilio. hit the nail on the head with his styling synopsis.

Who’s Dutilio. . …

skyarrow, let’s get serious here … what’s the model number on that thing?

Sorry i meant YO.

I love this stuff!

I dont know how many audiophiles are in this forum, but i follow this blog:

A great deal of awesome retro styles!
(be forewarned, there is a little bit of retro nudity)