Howe had a patent model by 1846, but each of his machines had to be hand-produced and could not be manufactured in mass numbers.
The first really successful American sewing machine was invented by Isaac Merritt Singer, a Shakespearian actor and part-time machinist, who made a patent model of a machine in 1851.
The new machine was expensive, but Singer tirelessly promoted it. By the end of the 19th century, there were a number of manufacturers of sewing machines, and they were fixtures in many American homes.
The sewing machine has been around for more than a century and a half, and very few of them are either rare or valuable. The machine belonging to C. J. is a Minnesota model "A," which was not made until 1914, and was a blatant rip-off of a Singer design that was made for and retailed by Sears.
Indications are that this machine was manufactured by the Davis Sewing Machine Company, which started out manufacturing in Watertown, N.Y., but later moved to Dayton, Ohio. It appears this particular style of cabinet is circa 1920, but the machine has been modified and may be missing a part or two (we notice that the thread spindle that should be located at the rear of this piece is not there).
Sewing machines of this age and type are not monetarily valuable and this example retails for around $125 or less.
As for the serial number, we checked and could find no list of these numbers, but we suspect that this is indeed the 405,772nd machine of this type that was manufactured.
Collectors tend to prefer machines made in smaller numbers, which are rarer.