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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Bruce Automatic treadle machine


Tony wrote at 2007-03-30 19:24:13
I have a Bruce sewing machine made in Springfield

Ilnios Model # C73017 tredle. It is probably close

to 80 years old. I had planned to redo the wood

but thought I would check on that first.

Bonnie Bruce Baker wrote at 2007-06-04 23:44:59
I am Bonnie Bruce Baker.  I was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois.  My great grandfather, Cicero C. Bruce began selling sewing machines in the Virginia area after being released from the Confederacy.  My grandfather was born in 1866 and, when old enough, helped his father.  Eventually they put thir own name on the sewing machines, selling them under the Bruce label.  In 1899 they left Roane County in TN and moved to Springfield, IL where The Bruce Co. was begun.  My father continued the tradition but dropped sewing machines about the time televisions became popular.  Pianos, organs and appliances were also sold.  My father died in 1981 and also The Bruce Co. I would greatly enjoy hearing from any owners of Bruce Sewing Machines.

CB wrote at 2007-09-07 05:22:00
See Ebay auction item; Bruce sewing machine plate.

It lists patent dates on the (throat) plate, dates 1900 through 1912.

lynnc wrote at 2008-01-27 22:13:27
i have a Bruce Machine that was my grandmother's. it still has the original owner's manual and is well-loved and beautiful.

DebbieZ wrote at 2008-02-17 17:41:17
I have a Bruce sewing machine model #C168439 that I got from my mom.  I plan to teach my daughter to sew with it.  It's in good condition and we plan to use it lots.

Angie wrote at 2009-03-29 00:00:35
I just purchased a Bruce treadle machine from a local thrift store.  Until now I had been unable to find any information on the history.  I appreciate seeing the information posted.

Laura wrote at 2009-04-29 20:04:13
I have a Bruce that was passed on to me form my Great Aunt Laura. She taught me to sew on it as a young girl. My Mom and her family were all from Springfield Illinois. I am 45 and live in Texas. I am trying to sell it on craigslist. We are missionaries and we are moving to Costa Rica.  I love it, its been a neat thing to show everyone. Glad i found this link. God Bless

P Grant wrote at 2009-06-27 23:58:08
I have my great-grandmother's sewing machine, it is a Bruce Sewing Machine, Springfield Ill. is on the top of it. the only number I find on it is C85361. It also has range of patent dates on it from May '02 to Oct '13. It still has the owner's manual with it and the box with all of the different attachments. My great-grandmother died in 1951.

TB from Texas wrote at 2009-07-30 00:53:09
The Bruce we have is a model C serial # C162388.  The original warranty paper and guarantee paper dated Nov 30,1917 are still in the drawer along with the manual form 897 for model C. The attachment box with attachments are in the drawer with the papers.  The belt is worn, but other than that it is in good working condition.  Boy they sure built them to last.  Thank you and your family for such a good sewing machine.

Bonnie Bruce Baker wrote at 2009-09-04 20:36:30
Thanks to everyone for responding to my search for a Bruce sewing machine.  I'm so glad to know it was such a good product.

Shanna wrote at 2010-03-17 02:52:56
My husbands grandfather's, grandmother owned a Bruce Treadle.  I have cleaned it, my husband has oiled it and even treated the leather belt and it runs great.  It has a date on it of 1915. The serial # is 3773903.  It has a lovely wooden cabinet with 6 drawers and even the key.  I wonder if anyone knows how to thread it or wind the bobbin? I would love to sew on it.  Thanks for a great machine.

ice cream wrote at 2010-04-06 18:07:40
i purchased a treadle from a barn sale. It says big "Davis vertical feed", so i guess thats who made it. and it has a green sticker that says "Bruce Sewing Machine Co. Springfield, Ills. (maybe thats a retailer, or the company did a repair on it) i don't see any numbers on it, but than again, i cant get it to come out vertically from the table, at least not longer than i can hold it up.  

Meredith wrote at 2010-09-22 21:59:10
I just found an iron base for a Bruce machine in a small antique shop in Mississippi.  The pedal shows signs of repair, but the wheel still turns pretty well.  Alas, there is very little hope of finding a machine to go with the base, but with a little cleaning and a new top it will make a wonderful table.

Brian Schoenthaler wrote at 2010-11-28 03:10:04
I inherited my Bruce Sewing Machine from my grandmother. SN# C113655. It was her first sewing machine after her marriage in 1916. It works great except the leather belt that drives the machine from the treadle is broken. I taught myself how to use it, but it's been many years. I have photos if anyone is interested.

Bonnie Bruce Baker, or anyone else, do you know where one can get a manual for it? Or what year it was manufactured?

Bonnie Bruce Baker wrote at 2010-12-04 21:37:54
for Brian Schoenthaler  I have an instruction booklet that you are welcomed to have. On the booklet it says "sewing machine factory"  Rockford,Illinois.  

Gregory Budd wrote at 2010-12-25 06:16:41
I have a beautiful Bruce treadle sewing machine serial number C65343. I bought it for my wife a few years ago at our local farmers market in Parker, CO. It is mounted in a six draw cabinet and the painted floral artwork on the machine is complete and vibrant. I disassembled the machine and cleaned it completely. It works like new and has a large number of attachments that came with it that are also in like new condition. The patent dates range from Feb 11-02 to Jan 4-10. My wife makes quilts but has not made any on this machine so I am in the process of learning to sew on it and I plan on starting my first quilt over Christmas using this machine. I have never sewed in my life.  Each time I sit at the sewing machine I can't help but wonder who else over the nearly last 100 years has also sat down to sew on this incredibly beautiful machine and what they made with it.  If only it could talk what stories it might tell. Bonnie Bruce Baker thank you for sharing your family history of this machine as it brings it history even more to life for me. If you have another extra copy of the instructions for this machine that you can share with me I would be happy to make it into an electronic document to share with others.  I am sure there are quite a few things the instructions could teach me about this machine that I have not yet figured out.  I would also be happy to share pictures with anyone who is interested.


Gregory Budd

On a small farm in Colorado with my wife and our horses, dogs, goats and chickens.  

Laurel M wrote at 2011-06-08 01:05:29
I also need a new belt for my Bruce (that I just got from a local antique store).  It appears in working order other than missing the belt (had a broken belt in one of the drawers in the cabinet.

Thanks for all of the information!

Missy wrote at 2011-08-21 16:00:56
I have a Bruce sewingmachine model number

C136162 and would like to get in touch with

Bonnie Bruce baker. My email is

Anyone please let me know how much this machine

Is worth.  

terry roach wrote at 2011-09-25 16:01:38
Hi my name is Terry and I don't have a Bruce sewing machine, I just purchased a Bruce and Co. uproght grand piano. I am looking for information on it. Can you help me?

Chris Smith wrote at 2011-12-20 23:01:04
I have just purchsed a Bruce phonograph that is from Springfield, Illinois and am curious if it is from the same company that produced these sewing machines...  

Carla Rn wrote at 2011-12-31 23:44:52
I have a bruce sewing machine company c197770. It still works perfectly. All the drawers work. It's a family heirloom and I love it so much. Bonnie, I would love to send you sOme pictures of it. The drawers and wood are all in great shape.  I can't wait to teach my daughters to sew on it.  

nissantwa wrote at 2012-08-19 17:37:34
I have a Bruce 6 drawer treadle machine.  One just like it sold at a colorado auction for $30.  The cabinet is veneer so any re-finishing should NOT include sanding.  

Brian Schoenthaler wrote at 2012-08-31 03:06:22
For Bonnie Bruce Baker

I would like to take you up on your offer to share the instruction booklet you offered on 2010-12-04 if you still have it. I frankly forgot I'd posted on this site and for some reason I never received an email notification of your post.

I would also like to share my photos of the Bruce sewing machine with you. Please send me your email address.

SewingCyndi wrote at 2013-06-04 22:34:32
I have a beautiful Bruce C71376, purchased (complete with every imaginable gadget) by my Grandmother Pearls in 1915.  I'm trying to remember what she taught me about using it so I can teach my granddaughter Sophia Pearle, but the instruction book starts with page 13. If anyone could send me scans of the first 12 pages I'd be grateful. I seem to have issues with threading it.

Barbara Bruce LeGare wrote at 2013-10-31 17:02:03
Bonnie what is your father's name?  I am a Bruce and I am looking to buy a Bruce machine.  Email me at  My grandfather had a store in Springfield, IL.

Carol wrote at 2014-06-29 01:01:54
Bonnie, I have a Bruce sewing machine that belonged to my Grandmother. She was born in 1902 and told me she bought it used.  The interesting part of this story is my Mother named my oldest brother "Bruce" after the name on the metal base.  

Jean wrote at 2014-07-10 03:15:43
I just pick up the Bruce sewing machine today serial # C135964 any info on it would be great such as age, where to buy parts, because it need a belt and the bobbin winder. Thanks for any info you can give me.

Dawn wrote at 2014-12-08 20:19:18
Just rescued a Bruce rotary on the side of the road. Cab is beat up and the head is filthy, but it moves fine.  Has the belt and box of accessories.  Serial number is FR 7120936, and I can't find a date on it.  Any idea?

Sweetpea SP wrote at 2015-02-12 12:57:17
I have a Bruce treadle machine that was given to me by a lady who was downsizing.  It is a very strong machine.  It can chain stitch as well as lock stitch with regular needles.  I appreciate that I don't have to buy special needles for it.  It isn't the prettiest machine.  But, what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in reliability and performance.  She also gave me a letter telling the story about how her relative bought it when her husband was at work. Later, when he came home, they had a big fight about it.  She said that was a story that was told over many times in their family.  

Harris wrote at 2015-06-07 15:13:59
Hello Ms. Baker I have a Bruce Rotary that was my grandmother's. I am 62 so it is old. She would let me work the treadle when I was small

K. Barth wrote at 2015-07-19 03:02:50
Just purchased at a flea market a Bruce Treadle Machine Serial # C54427. I collect treadle machines and was thrilled to find one that seems to be rare as I've not seen one before. Cabinet is in great shape and was told (have not tried) that it sews. Came w/ box of parts. Would love to know the history of the Bruce Manufacturing Co., Springfield, Ill and if there is a way to get the manufacturing date from the serial number, would love to have that history. If the operating manual is available, would love to have one. Wichita, KS

Ann wrote at 2015-12-02 03:07:01
I just scored a Bruce from a friend who just wanted it gone!  Please tell me how to get a copy of the instruction book.

Nancy wrote at 2016-01-19 18:19:35
Laura moving to Costa Rica ... Where in Texas do you live and can you give me dimensions of the metal the machine sits on?

Nancy wrote at 2016-01-19 18:19:47
Laura moving to Costa Rica ... Where in Texas do you live and can you give me dimensions of the metal the machine sits on?

Bruce13 wrote at 2016-04-08 00:01:32
Have a Bruce stand looking forward to making table ...Great to see info on the machines as well

GerryO wrote at 2016-07-10 22:38:14
I just purchased The Bruce sewing machine, treadle.  Serial number C56649.  It does not have a belt and I am not sure it works properly.  Is there a place I can buy replacement parts?  Or obtain tips for restoration?  

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Irene Schwall


I have been a collector of antique sewing tools and thimbles for over 30 years. I am also a dealer in this field and sell on eBay under the name -- serengeti2. I am NOT, and I repeat NOT an expert on antique or vintage domestic household sewing machines used for everyday home sewing. I can offer help when it comes to Toy or miniature collectible sewing machines ONLY.


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I belong to Thimble Collectors International & I chair the committee 'Publishing/Grants' and oversee the research and publication of booklets relating to sewing tools and thimbles. I have also had articles published on needlework related topics.

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