I can honestly say I learned to sew on one, my Grandma's in fact. She had me learn on her treadle machine because I could control the speed and not sew over my finger on accident by pushing on the pedal. I wish I could have that machine since it is a family heirloom. However Matt would much rather me have a new version that we can at least find replacement parts for.
Lehman's sells one and the table set up for about $1300. Matt doesn't see the point though. My biggest reason is that I could still sew when there is no electricity, Matt says he can create power. I guess there are good things about being married to a geek. I love treadle machines, they are old fashioned and beautiful.
It is not a need but definitely a want. Matt tells me that I already have three other machines, one being a serger so why would I ever need a different one. Men just don't understand. Matt also says if we don't have power sewing should be my last concern. But isn't she perty. One day I will have one. Despite what he thinks.