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A great Victorian BRITISH Scam!

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Martin King 218/12/2021 16:41:14
980 forum posts
436 photos

Hi All,

I just got this funny little metal boxed Sewing Machine in with the junk haul I grabbed last week.

moldacot 1.jpg

I was amazed when I started to research it and discovered the great story behind it, British Swindlers at their best in Victorian days.

Worth a read!

LINK

Mike Hurley18/12/2021 17:25:51
305 forum posts
87 photos

Definately worth a read, but do put enough time aside! ( It's almost as long as the T's & C's you end up agreeing to with things on-line! ) I never realised that the collecting / historical study of sewing machines was so in depth.

As a side issue. (related to the mention of Isaac Singer near the end of the article) - if & when things get back to normal, if you're ever around Paignton in Devon do try and visit his old ' house ' (Oldway mansion). Fabulous building (currently closed to the public) but with super gardens & great tea rooms. Lovely way to spend a few hours!

regards. Mike

 

 

Edited By Mike Hurley on 18/12/2021 17:30:07

larry phelan 119/12/2021 12:13:28
1169 forum posts
15 photos

Conmen, like machines, never sleep !

Chris Crew19/12/2021 22:54:20
avatar
193 forum posts

I have read the full article. Was a it scam or was it over-ambition? Economic history is littered with entrepreneurial companies whose share price has collapsed, followed by the company itself, after the initial euphoria. From the South Sea Bubble to the Dot Com boom many people have had their fingers burnt in supposedly good investment opportunities, myself included. Investments can go down as well as up as any financial adviser will tell you. It may not have been a good product but given the intricacy of the device as mentioned I am rather leaning towards the opinion that the writer of the article may have been a little over censorious in his reflections because real scams usually revolve around illusion rather than actual manufactured hardware. But we will never know.

Mike Hurley21/12/2021 10:20:23
305 forum posts
87 photos

Ok, there was obviously a lot of dodgy wheeling and dealing going on over it's lifetime, but the way i read it was that as a concept it was a good idea but not fully thought through / engineered before rushing to try and patent it - which always seemed critical in those days.

Lets face it, have you ever bought anything that after a few uses you don't start to think - oh, it would have been better with the control knob on the left, or that receptacle could do with being a bit larger etc, etc Nothing is ever 100% perfect to suit every user. Just have to give people some credit for at least trying!

Edited By Mike Hurley on 21/12/2021 10:35:52

SillyOldDuffer21/12/2021 11:33:57
Moderator
8469 forum posts
1885 photos
Posted by Chris Crew on 19/12/2021 22:54:20:

I have read the full article. Was a it scam or was it over-ambition? ...

I'd say it started genuinely with a good idea that nearly worked, but turned into a scam when the promoters found the device couldn't be fixed and still make a profit. Flawed engineering that became a confidence trick when the promoters carried on selling them in full knowledge that it was no good.

Technical innovations often start by going through a rough patch when unexpected problems appear. It's a good tactic to avoid buying anything on the 'bleeding edge', but - if the product survives - the second generation is generally a good bet. The first motor cars were both expensive and almost completely impractical. In comparison what we drive today is remarkably slick for the money. But we live in a highly imperfect world - there's still room for Delorean overoptimism, Volkswagen fibs, Rover asset stripping and go-faster stripes!

Have to say most engineers are too honest to make good business men! Often more important to 'follow the money' than build stuff, however well-made it is.

Dave

PaulG21/12/2021 12:30:36
9 forum posts

To develop Mike's side issue, I have to admit that I am one of those sad people who have a (modest) collection of old sewing machines. I never cease to be amazed that on approaching 150 years of age they can still work perfectly. A tribute to the design and more importantly the suitability of the design for production in such astronomical quantities.

Last time I visited Oldway Mansion I thought an opportunity had been lost to develop the sewing machine theme further. Other interested parties (if there are any) might be interested to visit the London Sewing Machine Museum in Wimbledon when it reopens, which houses an excellent collection.

steamdave21/12/2021 14:54:14
510 forum posts
44 photos
Posted by PaulG on 21/12/2021 12:30:36:

... I have to admit that I am one of those sad people who have a (modest) collection of old sewing machines. I never cease to be amazed that on approaching 150 years of age they can still work perfectly. A tribute to the design and more importantly the suitability of the design for production in such astronomical quantities.

Last time I visited Oldway Mansion I thought an opportunity had been lost to develop the sewing machine theme further. Other interested parties (if there are any) might be interested to visit the London Sewing Machine Museum in Wimbledon when it reopens, which houses an excellent collection.

The wife of an acquaintance in Oregon has a collection of more than 100 sewing machines. All different shapes and sizes. All fully working and like you, I was amazed in the quality of the workmanship of the period.

Dave
The Emerald Isle

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