Adler 87 Trade-In

Original Receipt from July 13, 1951 by L. Curlee

On July 13, 1951, Kansas was getting the absolute worst part of the Great Flood of 1951. According to my amateur research using Wikipedia, the damage exceeded $935 Million and killed at least 17 people. The Korean War has just seen the beginning of the Armistice negotiations and formal peace between Canada and Germany.

That is also the day that my Adler 87's first owner walked into the Atlantic Sewing Machine Company to purchase the greatest domestic sewing machine ever made. With the trade in of a Singer treadle machine netting $27, this fortunate soul walked out with a brand new Adler machine and desk for $230. I can only imagine that he or she made it home in time to test out the new motorized machine while catching the premiere of the Show Boat on Radio City Music Hall.

While I love getting my hands on this machine and seeing what it looks and feels like cleaned up, oiled, and adjusted, it makes it even more special to see original paperwork and invoices from 70 years ago.

When I bought this machine, it seemed like a huge commitment to drive 5 hours each way and to get $200 out of an ATM. To think that this new owner committed to a balance of $200 to be paid at $15 per week, is astounding. If my Master's Degree in Personal Financial Planning has given me anything, it's taught me that the $300 total price of this Adler in 1951 is $3,000 in today's dollars. And the $15/week payment, well...that was $150 in today's dollars. That's quite a commitment to a machine that has no wheels and quite a pitch for a salesman trying to unload a product that's the equivalent of a North Korean luxury watch in today's political climate.


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