Even at school all of my sewing classes were on old Singer sewing machines. The majority were electric versions but I think there were still a few that had the handle on the side for manually turning the wheel. After school I bought a second hand electric Singer which looked almost modern in shape but only sewed in a straight line or zigzag. It didn't even reverse! A few years ago I invested in a computerised Brother machine which offers 39 stitches, most of which I never actually use.
The majority of old Singer machines have long since been abandoned and nobody seems to want them or know what to do with them, which is a bit sad really. I still think they are far more attractive to look at than modern machines but I guess most of us don't even want one for decorative purposes around the house. You see them for sale quite often for literally only a few pounds.
On a trip to Las Vegas last month, I was quite surprised to find hundreds of old sewing machines being used in the ultra modern Crystals, City Centre. One of the resident stores is the clothing shop All Saints. Their plate glass window was filled with row upon row of old sewing machines. It was utterly fabulous, very eye-catching. Lots of people were taking photos, so it obviously struck a chord with them too. For me, it was a fantastic use of unwanted sewing machines as well as a nod back to the rag trade of the past from a very modern present.