The Black Grain Mk1 Toy Sewing Machines

The first Grain toy sewing machines were finished in crinkle black and were only sold in the Nottingham area through the local retailer GeeDee.

Because of their rarity, these are now highly sought after by specialist collectors and so unsuprisingly they command very substantial price premiums compared to the normal green models, or even the much rarer top of the range red models. Unfortunately this can lead to the less scroupulous seller being tempted to repaint a standard green model to black. Fortunately there are a few minor physical differences which can usually be used to validate the originality of genuine black Grain machines.

Black Grain

Black Grain Mk1

Perhaps the most obvious feature is the shape of the presser foot. Early black examples of the Grain Mk1 used a traditional open presser foot, whereas the green and red models used a safety design with a bent over end to make it more difficult to get little fingers into the needle area.

Presser Foot

Open Presser Foot

Although the hand wheel looks superficially the same on all models, those used on early black models were unpainted and did not have the Grain name cast into the face as on the later models.

Hand Wheel

Hand Wheel

The wooden bases used for black models were the same width and depth as later models but they were thinner (1/2" instead of 3/4") and generally they look less well finished due to being made of pine rather than beech.

Later models were attached to their wooden bases with 2 machine screws and with nuts underneath, but black examples were attached using 2 wood screws from the top, plus an additional central machine screw with large washer which screwed into the cast machine base from underneath.

Although these are general guidelines, it must be appreciated that they would always have used up the old stock of components and so there are can be some crossover of features on a particular example.


* Open presser foot

* Handwheel unpainted with no name

* Thinner wooden base

* Central bolt underneath base