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Antique sewing machines don’t come any rarer or more desirable than this totally one-of-a-kind Royal miniature portable machine, produced in 1886.
It was probably made following the enormous publicity engendered by the Moldacot portable machine which flooded the technical Press with advertisements and many a manufacturer produced a “portable” model at the time.
However, unlike the Moldacot which turned out to be a major fraud, the Royal was a fully operation machine. I’m guessing this is a prototype because none other has ever been seen or featured in any Royal catalogue. I’m guessing that as the Moldacot myth exploded and the machine was deemed non-operational, the interest in portable models declined and Royal, because of its intricate mechanism, would have been extremely expensive to produce.
It's a fully operational lock-stitch machine with its miniature shuttle and bobbin. It carries two patent dates of 1886 and Shakespear’s name as the proprietor of the Royal Sewing Machine Company. The machine measures just 5.5 inches high.
I’ve searched the Internet and the machine is totally undocumented. A remarkable piece of history.
More about the Royal Company can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y6vuu77h
And I found a fascinating insight into the family history behind the machine here: https://tinyurl.com/yar6wxc9

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