The Mystery of the Missing Singer Skeleton Key

11:04 AM


There's an old Singer machine in my mother's house, a beautiful treadle with a wooden cabinet. She's had it for years; it belonged to her stepmother, who bought it sometime in the early 30's, though we place it as a model from the late 1910's. When Granny Emma passed away, my mother was given the machine, as she was the one likeliest to use and/or appreciate it.

I remember it always being there in the house, though when I was younger, I didn't truly appreciate the beauty of it. Now I wish I could investigate it a little more closely -- there was so much I never discovered about it. I regret those incurious years!

Particularly because my mother just dropped this amazing fact in casual conversation: the cabinet has 2 rows of 3 drawers each, the bottom 2 of which are locked. The topmost drawers were able to be opened when my mother lifted the machine out and finagled the drawer open from the inside. They had a few used needles, a bobby pin, and a few bits and pieces of notion ends in it. Not much to see. But the drawers below have never been opened since Granny Emma's days.


In all her antique-shop travels, my mother has never found a key that fits this machine cabinet. Now that she's revealed this mystery to me, I am extremely curious! Is there anything in those drawers? Did Granny Emma tuck away something that no-one knows about? I guess I'll never know, well, unless we can find an old skeleton key that matches this machine. Has anyone else ever come across such a thing? Are there any secret key sources out there?

Knowing my step-grandmother, the drawers could either be empty and bland, her secrets kept forever; or, there could be fascinating little items tucked away at the back of a seldom-used drawer, revealing things about her life that I never knew. Which is it? This is a case for an intrepid girl detective. I'm going on a key hunt!


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6 comments

  1. I recently bought a 1951 Singer on ebay and saw a few keys on there, though they were for carrying cases. If you know the model or perhaps the table design that might help you search online. Good luck, what a cool mystery!

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    Replies
    1. Will have to check out ebay -- and get a closer look at the cabinet next time I'm close enough so that I know exactly what I'm looking for.

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  2. No way that a locksmith could open it?

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    Replies
    1. Well. I can not believe that never occurred to me. Will have to pass that one on, and see if my mother can find someone to help her out!

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  3. Is there a long skinny draw in the centre, (directly above the treadle) for rolls of thread? Key not stashed in there, is it? Learnt to sew on one of these sewing machines, thats where our key was kept :)
    Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I don't know! Will have to check that out! Thanks!

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