|Sewing Machine, 1880|
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This gorgeous creation had a decidedly practical purpose as a sewing machine. Made of cast iron, it is japanned in black and gold, with a label, engraved: “The arm and platform machine London E.Ward's patent.” The side facing the sewer is heavily ornamented while the reverse is plain.
This machine was made in Great Britain around 1880. The fact that it’s so attractive owes to the ingenuity of the age. After all, the function of the machine does not lend itself to beauty. It’s an irregular shape of an uninspiring material. However, makers of such machines knew that adorning the machines with painted designs was essential their machines were to take their place in the Victorian interior.