I have a small collection of vintage sewing machines. When I retire, I will be able to clean and restore these machines. Unlike modern machines with their plastic innards and computerised boards, the vintage machines are all metal and highly engineered. If cleaned and lubricated, most will give many years of sewing. And it is possible to rewire them if necessary. Here are two that I bought inexpensively recently.
A 99k Singer.
A 201 Singer. This is the type of machine that I learned to sew on. Of course, Mother's Singer was in a lovely wooden cabinet and had a matching chair. This little machine weighs a ton and is definitely not portable. It is even a job to get it from floor to table! Still, it will happily sew through heavy materials like denim, canvas and leather.
At the moment, I am only interested in the electric models, although the hand crank models are abundant here in the UK. I do have a treadle singer bought from the estate of one of the old Ipswich bellringers who worked with leather. I also support a charity, Tools with a Mission, based in Ipswich which sends tools including sewing and knitting machines to Africa, where they can be life changing.
Training and the gift of a vintage sewing machine allows a person to earn money and keep their family.