Serial number FR3177316… The best information I can find on her is that she was most likely born in 1913. White does not have a complete database of all manufacture dates but there are a lot of them out there.
This machine has many of the features common to all White rotary’s made. Namely, a “tee shirt” bobbin access cover, a forked presser foot that clamps horizontally on the presser foot bar, a full rotary hook and a side loading bobbin. Whites are distinctive in that the balance wheel rotates clockwise (away from the operator) and is driven by a direct drive friction wheel on the motor. Another feature is that all of the sewing mechanisms, presser foot bar. needle bar, and tension control is built into the head of the machine, separate from the sewing machine head.
Interestingly, these are the same features White incorporated into their machines with little change until their demise in 1958. Though White was not a progressive design, what they did, they did well. No need to improve on a design that works so well. The Family Rotary is a big machine made to sew. It has the largest harp space of any domestic sewing machine ever produced. For perspective, the Singer 201 comes in third in this category.
A project for another day, the machine has not been serviced, aside from hours of cleaning to reveal the intricate detail of the decals. I hope one day soon, she will be sewing as well as the other antique machines in our collection.
More to add… it’s a work in progress so check back later!