Raymond Sewing Machine Age.

Raymond Sewing Machine Age; Dating a Raymond Sewing Machine

What is the age of my Raymond Sewing Machine?  How can I date a Raymond sewing machine?  Those are the two most common questions I receive and I’m excited to help you find out too.  My page offers assistance to find the age of your machine but any and all Raymond sewing machines.   Easy photograph instructions for where to find the serial number is provided below.  Start by finding your machine’s serial number and then contact me.

Raymond Sewing Machine Age:

How old is a Raymond Sewing Machine?  Raymond’s machines in fact have a long history as Charles’ first machine would date to 1851.  Except, a legal challenge from Isaac Singer in 1852 shut Raymond’s plans down.  So, if any 1851 Raymond sewing machines exist today is unknown.  Raymond’s next attempt came in 1857 with partner Wilford Nettleton.  Together they made an unknown quantity and heavily promoted their machine in an extensive advertisement campaign.  Still, Raymond Nettleton examples are pretty rare as, at the present time, only three are known to exist today.  Be aware, many of today’s New England “for sale” listings are mistakenly labeled Raymond Nettleton.  In short, be careful before you spend large dough.

New England Chain Stitch:

Charles Raymond’s first mass-produced sewing machine was traced to 1861.  As a result, Raymond’s New England chain stitch created great success and firmly established his market share.  Any New England sewing machine is very collectible today.  Although early generations are rare, the others less so are found in the market places.  I can date Raymond’s New England period from documentation but also personal inspection.  Notwithstanding hours of study of collections made available to me. Please contact me for a discussion.

Serial number for determining age:

Machine serial number is undoubtedly the best way to date a Raymond Sewing Machine.  Keep in mind, Raymond’s England and Household were the only models without a serial number.  Why not? It is still a mystery.  Raymond’s Lock Stitch model, however, is the first to receive an organized serial number system.  I date this era by your photos to first confirm identity but also by its serial number.

Next, the first and later generations of New Raymond High Arm are also serial numbered.  So is the Economy machine, specifically a secondary line introduced late in production history.  You can see in every model Raymond produced noticeable changes or upgrades which occurred over time.  Observable changes reflect design progress and assist to age and classify each model into generations.  You will find this helpful when discussing and understanding Raymond’s production history.

 

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Raymond Sewing Machine Age

Raymond Sewing Machine age, serial numbers, cont. :

All Raymond serial number locations appear below.  Although, a serial number can sometimes be hard to see. Often due to lighting but also due to a layer of dried oil and dirt.  I often find dirt is removable with just one’s fingernail.  Good lighting, good eyesight, magnification or, scrub lightly with fine abrasive may be required.

Pro Tip !!

Smartphone cameras do well at capturing an image of the serial number and serve as a good magnifier.

Be careful should a mild abrasive be considered. But, I have successfully used steel wool, carefully applied, for example. You may find pre softening dirt, with fresh sewing machine oil is enough. I am cautious in advising, in stubborn cases only, the use of Gojo non-pumice hand cleaner. But in a stubborn case, Gojo products will soften dried oil to ease removal. Most importantly, please note my warning below.

Gojo Warning

Except for directly over a serial number boss, do not apply Gojo anywhere else on a Raymond Sewing head. Raymond’s clear coat may be too fragile for Gojo’s ingredients and, you risk wiping the color out of the decoration.  This damage, regretfully, will be permanent.

Raymond serial number | Main line heads | Location instructions.

The following instruction applies to a variety of labels.  New Raymond, Canadian White, Premier, Dominion R, Challenge X (and others) are Raymond main line sewing heads, to name a few.  You many notice, Farmer’s Supply Co, cast into the iron of the cabinet stand of certain brand names.

Look close for a prefix or suffix character

Many, but not all, Raymond sewing machine serial numbers are found with a prefix.  Strangely, a suffix is occasionally observed although the meaning or purpose is unknown.  Characters A, B, D, E, G, K, M, 2M and 1,3 and 9 are most common and there may be others.  A prefix or suffix is not critical to determine the age of or to date but are worth noting; I record them regardless.   Such characters are hard to see and thus routinely missed.

Raymond Sewing Machine Age.  Find your Economy line serial number- pictured here. This machine’s serial number always end in an “A”.

Raymond Sewing Machine Age

Raymond Lock stitch | No 1, 2 or 3 Lock stitch | Instructions

Raymond Sewing Machine Age, continued.

Below: You can find your Raymond Lockstitch or Raymond No 1, No 2, No 3 serial number here.  From my experience, the serial number is sometimes stamped in whole but often just in part at the bottom of the machine.  Therefore, the needle bar or presser bar is the preferred location and I find consistently correct.

Raymond Lock Stitch, Raymond No 1, Raymond No 2, Raymond No 3

Raymond Sewing Machine Age

Serial number on the presser bar or needle bar.

Below: An example of a serial number found on the bottom of sliding shuttle cover.

Raymond sewing machine age

Patent dates

Patent dates signify the beginning of a design but can be limited to just a single part.  A patent date, seen here on Raymond’s automatic bobbin winder, applied the winder only.  Subsequently, patent dates are not a useful date guide as, in this case, this date was stamped between 1879 and 1903.

Raymond Sewing Machine Age

Links to must see pages

I’d like to introduce you to Guelph’s local historian, Bonnie Durtnall.  I credit Ms Durtnall for parts of Raymond Sewing machine research as she’s never hesitated to help.  The webpage is amazing and I never stop learning each time I review her Guelph Labouring history.  Click the link to enter the page.