Sewing Machine Research
ISMACS International
International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society

Graham's True Stories
Number 17, The Holdup

Maggie, my SO, and I always leave a little extra time at airport security when we are on a sewing-machine-buying trip. I don't know why but a Willcox and Gibbs and a Betsy Ross in the carry-on baggage always seems to look like a loaded Ouzi with a spare magazine, once viewed through an x-ray machine.

Like I say, we're used to emptying the bags, answering a couple of questions, listening to the "I wouldn't want to run up a set of drapes on one of those" jokes and hearing how the security guard's grandmother had a machine that was at least 200 years old.

Therefore, we were both a little surprised when leaving Edinburgh a year back not to send the usual alarm bells ringing. I must have looked a little shocked for the guard asked: "Is anything the matter, sir"  

"Well, no," I replied, "I guess I was expecting you to check the bag." A big grin came over the guard's face - he'd been waiting for this for years.  

 "Why should I stop you sir? You can't hold up a plane with an 1886 Moldacot sewing machine can you?"

He explained his wife was a collector; he did the restoration work, and was currently halfway through a major overhaul of a Moldacot.

I guess he tells the story at every chance he gets and Maggie can't resist revealing how she signed up ISMACS member 375 in an airport check-in lounge.