There is some confusion about this item at Smith’s Tavern: is it a patent model of an actual sewing machine or a toy sewing machine. Our research into whether or not this is a patent model was unsuccessful.
There are some markings on the metal base of the machine - “Little Nell”. Our research into a “Little Nell” toy sewing machine resulted in references to a children’s story by Charles Dickens called “Old Curiosity-Shop” with a character named Little Nell. Maybe this toy was part of a collection of Little Nell-inspired toys.
If anyone does know more about this type of device, please email the Historical Society with this much needed information.