White Sewing Machine Background & Model Guide

Published December 3, 2020
White Rotary Sewing Machine

Founded in 1858, the White Sewing Machine Company began making sewing machines during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Although White no longer makes sewing machines under the company's name, there are many notable vintage White sewing machine models coveted by collectors and sewing enthusiasts. Some White machines can even be quite valuable. Learn how to identify a White sewing machine and what factors may affect its value.

Notable White Sewing Machine Models

White made a number of different styles of sewing machines over its long history. These included treadle machines, hand-crank machines, and even electric sewing machines. These are some of the most notable vintage and antique sewing machine models by White.

White Peerless Sewing Machine

This early machine was extremely popular, but few of them exist in excellent condition. A hand-crank machine with gorgeous landscape painting decals on the base, these are especially coveted by collectors. White produced this machine throughout the 1800s, and the "New Peerless" took its place at the end of that century. Some models had a bentwood case similar to an antique Singer sewing machine, and some even had fold-up handles to make them more compact for storage.

White Rotary Sewing Machine

According to Kovel's, the White Family Rotary Model was one of the most popular machines White ever made. The company began production of this model in the 1890s, and it continued to be popular through the 1950s. This is the most common White sewing machine, and it's easy to find one in good condition. They came in treadle and electric versions, depending on the production year. White also produced this model under other brand names for Sears and Roebuck, calling them the Minnesota, Franklin, and Kenmore. The White rotary sewing machine actually included a number of sub-models over the years, all based on the FR or "family rotary." These include the 41, 43, and 77.

White Gem Sewing Machine

The White Gem is a less common machine made in the late 1800s. It uses similar technology to the Peerless machine but features the Gem label. It came with a cast iron base or sometimes a wooden plinth.

How Much Is a White Sewing Machine Worth?

White sewing machine values range from under $100 to over $1000. If you have a machine, you're considering buying or selling, or you are just curious about value, it helps to familiarize yourself with the factors that can have an impact.

Factors Affecting White Sewing Machine Values

The value of any particular machine depends on the model, its age, and its condition. These are some factors to consider:

  • Rarity - Certain rare machines, like the Gem, are worth more. The White Rotary Machine, which was made in huge quantities, is more common and therefore, often less valuable than other models.
  • Condition - A machine in working condition will always be worth more than the same model in rough shape, all other factors being equal. Additionally, for a machine to be worth the most, it should be attractive with clear, beautiful decals and paint that is in good condition.
  • Age - Older machines tend to be worth more. Many machines have at least one patent and date stamped on them, but you can determine your machine's age by its serial number.

Sample White Sewing Machine Values By Serial Number

The serial number of a White sewing machine is a good way to figure out how old it is. To find the serial number of a White sewing machine, examine the body of the machine. Look on the bottom, back, and sides. You can also find it on the motor if the machine is electric. Here's a sample listing of White sewing machine serial numbers, their associated dates, and a value range based on information from Fiddlebase and additional research on values of recently sold machines on eBay.

Serial Number Dates Produced Value Range
1-9,000 1876 $300-$5,000
9,001-63,000 1877-1879 $100-$1,000
63,001-370,000 1880-1883 $100-$800
370,001-970,000 1884-1893 $100-$500
970,001-1,550,000 1894-1903 $100-$500
1,550,001-2,300,000 1904-1914 $100-$400
2,300,001-4,000,000 1914-1918 $100-$400

Examples of Recently Sold Machines and Their Prices

In general, the best way to know how much a vintage White sewing machine is worth is to look up recently sold machines on eBay. Compare your machine against others of the same age, model, and condition to get a sense of its value. Here are some recently sold examples:

White Has a Place in History

Whether you have a treasure on your hands or simply a special piece of early engineering, learning about antique sewing machines is fascinating. White was just one of many sewing machine brands with a place in history. Others included Singer, Willcox and Gibbs, National, and many more. Together, these companies created the advancements necessary for modern sewing machines used today.

White Sewing Machine Background & Model Guide