I had heard about a few machines that actually turned backwards from the standard. I finally got to play with one. White sold many in the 1920's and I believe Free Sewing Machine Co. also sold similar products around the same period. Pictured below is a Kenmore model 117.59, bought in 1938 from Sears, Roebuck and Co. (according to the sticker inside the cabinet) Kenmore continued to release upgraded versions of this same machine. The second release being 1942 and they added an extra "1" to the model number (117.591). In the mid 40's, a model 117.959 appeared. The White Sewing Machine Co. manufactured all of the Sears/Kenmore machines from the 30's through the 50's. The Free Sewing machine Co. manufactured the Westinghouse, and the New Home. The main difference was the upper tension. All had a similar setup using a friction drive tire on the motor. And, the hand wheel on all of them must turn Clockwise to sew. The White Sewing Machine Co. was the first to introduce this flat crinkle finish. It was marketed as a non glare finish which was easier on the operator's eyes.
Every one of these machines that I have seen had a flat spot on the motor friction tire from just sitting at that spot for so many years. So if you tried to run the machine, you would get a " thump.....thump......thump" every time the flat spot hit the hand wheel. I actually found a place to order a new one but I just couldn't wait a week to try and sew after spending several hours cleaning and lubricating this old machine.
I cut the old piece of rubber off and then took 24" of electric tape and cut it down the middle lengthwise. I then carefully rolled both 1/4" wide tape strips around the shaft where the old tire was. Wow, It worked!
I guess I never thought about it before, but the motor itself turns the same way that all sewing machine motors turn. Counter-clockwise. If there was a belt involved here, the hand wheel would turn counter-clockwise. Since the motor is directly connected to the hand wheel by the friction tire, it will turn the opposite way, Clockwise, or backwards to what we are used to today.
Here is a Kenmore model 117.959 - (different Stitch Lever and Light)
Here is a Free Westinghouse Model ARE
Here is a New Home Model NLB