Hubby surprised me this weekend with the very unexpected gift of an oak puzzle box. We had seen this box in an antique store recently and I resisted buying it. He went back later and got it as he knows how much I enjoy such things. (Pretty romantic, huh? ♥)
These cleverly designed boxes were made to hold attachments for Singer treadle sewing machines. John M. Griest was awarded the patent for a "folding box" in 1889 - the date seen on every box - while working for the Singer Manufacturing Co. Mr. Greist later went on to form his own company (while changing the spelling of his last name). These are the machine attachments I used while growing up. I still love the sound this buttonholer makes: I always looked forward to using it.
The oak puzzle boxes feature beautiful workmanship, with dove-tailed joints and hidden hinges, rolling out flat to allow easy access to the attachments.
The inside of the box is covered with a green flocked fabric. There are a few pieces missing from this one, but all the binders are there.
I have my great-grandmother Christina Patterson's treadle machine and the puzzle box of attachments which came with it. It is shown on the right in this picture; the lining is purple, perhaps indicating a different year of manufacture.
I love the craftsmanship which went into these boxes, as it indicates how valued the sewing machine was in the household.