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The Collection

Master Stephan (Steve Heeter) began his interest (obsession) began with the simple acquisition of a rusty old tool from a pile of other rusty old tools at a local California swap meet.  The tool, once cleaned up, turned out to be an pair of Singer treadle belt pliers from the 40's.  The research into this facinating tool lead Master Stephan to the QuiltingBoard blogsite where like minded folks openly share their information and love of antique and vintage sewing machines.  After mentioning to a friend that this old people powered sewing machine stuff looked really interesting, Master Stephan found himself the recipient of a 1914 Singer model 28 Handcrank.  Taking that machine apart to learn and understand it's workings sparked an interest that has only grown with time.

Then for his birthday, a great friend gave Master Stephan a 1922 Singer Treadle sewing machine.  This machine was rusty, the cabinet was weathered and damaged, and the treadle irons were completely rusted tight.  This friend knew master Stephan all too well.  He know that once given a machine in need of restoration, Master Stephan could not resist.  The interest that had become a facination, became an obsession.

The Victorian Sweatshop is born

The Victorian Sweatshop began in 2012 with the simple and innocious phrase "that sounds like fun".  The phrase was in response to a coworker asking if we would like to show off our machines at a local "Steampunk" event.  Master Stephan had a certain "attitude" about steampunk folks because of their reputation for taking mechanical things apart to make costumes out of, including old and rare sewing machines.  The original idea was to simply show folks how amazing these machines were, share their history, and hopefully infuse a sense of wonder and respect for them that would minimize future 'scavanging' of rare parts.

The event was a huge success!  So much so that we were asked to come back next year, as well as being referred to other events in the area that might appreciate this particular exhibition.