The Honeymoon sewing machine was a market leader in its day. For more info on the interesting story of this example of American industrialism read our guide for more facts & information…
The Davis Co. manufactured the honeymoon sewing machine between 1868 and the mid 1920s. It is a treadle machine with a case and was state of the art in its time. The company was founded in Watertown, NY and later moved to larger quarters in Dayton. The reason for the great success of the Honeymoon sewing machine was the feed. Unlike earlier sewing machines, the honeymoon sewing machine had a vertical feed which allowed smooth, even stitching on both sides of the fabric and flexible seams. It could sew any fabric from leather to lace.
The Davis Co. had exclusive rights to the patent on the vertical and continued to grow fulfilling contracts for governments and selling to private individuals. Their workers had an unsurpassed reputation for excellence in the industry. The company was turning out as many as 150 machines per day. By 1888 they had increased the number of their employees from 175 to 3000.
Prices for the Honeymoon sewing machine ranged from $55 to $150 which would be comparable to the prices for a computerized modern sewing machine. The less expensive model featured a walnut top and ornamental iron stand while the more expensive full cabinet model had embellishments of inlaid mother of pearl and silver plated fittings. The machines came equipped with two hemmers braider, quilter, screwdriver, four bobbins, an oil can and a dozen needles. Other available accessories included rumors, tuck markers, corders and binders.
End of Manufacturing Period
Demand for the Honeymoon sewing machines began to fall off around 1888 because quality was becoming a problem. While the early machines had superior quality, shortcuts made to meet growing demand had also created an inferior product. In 1889 the company relocated to Dayton, OH.
Although the Davis Sewing Machine Co. continued to manufacture Honeymoon machines, they added a line of bicycles to their manufacturing facility in about 1892. The demand for the bicycles soon outstripped the demand for sewing machines. In 1924 the Davis Sewing Machine Co. liquidated their assets and was ceded to the Huffman Manufacturing Co. which continued to supply sewing machine parts and make bicycles. Today the company makes the well-known Huffy bicycle.
Honeymoon sewing machines are still highly collectable and many antique sewing machine enthusiasts own them. Some are still in working condition and these are highly prized. Prices for the iron stand machines range from $200 to $325, but full cabinet models are much rarer and more valuable.