COLLECTOR: Les Walsh has a passion for the history and mechanics of sewing machines.
COLLECTOR: Les Walsh has a passion for the history and mechanics of sewing machines. Contributed

Sewing through history's fabric

NOTED collector and sewing machine expert Les Walsh will be appearing at Clermont Historical Centre on May 14.

The former aircraft mechanic has a personal collection of more than 150 historic sewing machines.

Mr Walsh is excited about bringing his knowledge back to Clermont, where he was born in 1946, and provide his unique presentation.

"I just enjoy sharing my knowledge of old sewing machines with people that are interested to learn,” he said.

"I give a talk about the history of sewing machines across countries of the world.

"Very artistic and unbelievable sewing machines were made over the last 150 years.”

Mr Walsh said that while mostly older generations share his passion for sewing and collecting, the history of sewing can appeal to anyone of any age.

"Younger people that do see what I have are amazed that such items were made,” he said.

"It's the interesting story of the introduction of sewing machines and a lot of things that people wouldn't know.''

Aside from the history of purely manufacturing sewing machines over the years, Mr Walsh pointed out that the sewing industry has close ties with the military.

"Sewing is tied up with the arms industry,” he said.

"A lot of arms companies later become sewing machine manufacturers.

"There's a lot of side stories, not just the way the sewing industry developed.

"There were literally hundreds of sewing machine manufacturers back in the day, and it makes interesting history.”

Mr Walsh's keen interest in the collection and history of sewing flowered after he began working alongside his wife in her patchwork and fabric shop in Townsville.

"We had a sewing machine dealership and it was the PFAFF German brand machine we had in our shop, which was obligatory to have,” Mr Walsh said.

"In my search for more PFAFF machines I found more brands of sewing machines made in the early days that I had never heard of, and I got my interest from there.”

Starting at 3pm, the free event will include afternoon tea before Mr Walsh's talk begins at 3.30pm.

For catering purposes, RSVPs will be appreciated.

Call Clermont Historical Centre on 49833311.

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