My Singer 99k is yet another machine I purchased from an auction company that imports goods from England. It was manufactured on October 2, 1956 in Clydebank, Scotland. The bentwood case is in very good condition and the machine in excellent condition. It looks like no one ever used it. It was very popular for home sewers because it was a bit lighter in weight than some of the previous models. It 3/4 the size of a model 66 machine. Since it came from over the pond, and has a 220 volt motor, this machine is going to require a converter to use her in the US.
Singer Red-Eye model 66
My Singer Red-Eye model 66 machine was made on April 29, 1919. I found this pretty machine at an estate sale for a mere $19.00. It came in an after-market plastic case. The decals aren’t perfect, but pretty good. It has a drop in bobbin and is a back clamp machine. Meaning the screw that tightens the foot to the machine is in the back rather than the side. Singer only made the back-clamping machines for a few years in the early 1900’s. I actually found a Singer back-clamping two-thread embroidery attachment for the machine. Regretfully I sold it.
My Singer 15-91 machine was manufactured on February 27, 1950 in Elizabeth, NJ. This is the first vintage machine I purchased. It came from EBay. While the machine made it through shipping just fine, the cabinet did not. The seller did not cushion it in any way. Some of the veneer took a beating. I will repair it some day. I had read about how much stronger the gear driven machines are. It is true and it is a wonderful machine. The only thing I don’t like about it is the bobbin case. I love the machines with a drop in bobbin.
My Singer Featherweight was manufactured on 1/7/1941 in Elizabethport, NJ. It was an EBay purchase which made me a little nervous, but it is almost perfect. It only has two tiny flea bites on the front edge. The decals are all perfect. A dear friend of mine gives classes on cleaning and maintaining Featherweights and the cases. I took her class and I must say my machine and case sparkle a bit more now. I actually have 5 other Featherweights in various stages of cleaning, repairs, and re-wiring. When I was a teenager, a friend’s mother had a Featherweight. I had never seen one and I wondered if she could not afford a full-size machine. Little did I know how wonderful and collectable they are.
Singer fiddle-base V.S. 2 Treadle
My Singer fiddle-base V.S. 2 treadle machine was manufactured in 1891 and is my oldest machine. It came in an Eastlake cabinet and with a puzzle box full of attachments. The attachments are a little rusty, but little by little I am going to work on oiling and cleaning them. There is even a buttonholer with a patent date of June 3, 1894. You can tell the machine and attachments were probably cast off in a garage or shed somewhere. The cabinet needs a little repair and a lot of refinishing. I am looking forward to cleaning and restoring this machine. This was also an estate sale find for a whopping $87.00.
Singer Rocketeer model 503A
This Singer Rocketeer model 503A manufactured in 1961 is one of my most recent estate sale finds. It has a few paint chips which I may or may not remedy. It’s a slant- needle machine and sews like a dream. It did not come in the original case and came with no extra feet or attachments. That will give me something else to search for. You know, the thrill of the hunt! My husband almost insisted I buy this machine. He loves the look of the Rocketeer.
My 201K Singer was manufactured on December 12, 1936 in Kilbowie, Scotland. This is another machine I purchased at an auction from a company that imports crates of goods from England. The bentwood case needs a little TLC, but the machine is in near mint condition. I was caught up in the moment and awed by the beauty of this machine and never thought about its 220 volt motor. I will be getting a converter so I can use this machine. The 201 is known to be a workhorse that can easily sew things like multiple layers of leather and thick fabrics such as heavy denim seams with great ease. It has been said it is the best straight-stitch machine ever made. It has a slot for a knee control in the base. However, it didn’t come with the machine. Once again, I will be experiencing the thrill of the hunt for the knee control.
I found this Elna Supermatic at an estate sale. It was manufactured sometime 1958-1963 in Switzerland. I was told that the lady who owned it made square dance costumes for customers on this machine. It is super clean and came with about every foot and cam imaginable. I’m not very familiar with Elna machines, but we are all aware of the the term “Swiss precision.” I can’t wait to use this machine.
Frister & Rossman
I acquired my Frister & Rossman machine at an estate sales. It was manufactured in Germany somewhere between 1896 and 1900 according to my research. It is a beautiful handcrank machine with a beautiful wooden base and top cover. The decals and chrome are not perfect, but it is still a beauty. My husband urged me to buy this machine, as it cost a little more than what I set as a budget for my machine finds. I haven’t cleaned and oiled it yet. so haven’t had the chance to try it out./p>
A special friend of mine gave me this Johnson Ruffling machine. I never knew they existed. What a difference this would have made for me when I was sewing interiors. I have not yet had the time to try it out. I took the following information from the JohnsonRufflingMachines.com website:
“We are the inventors and manufacturers of the Johnson Ruffling Machine. The Johnson Ruffling Machine is used to sew ruffles for curtains, dresses, country crafts, etc. It can be adjusted for ruffling a variety of materials including woven materials and tulle. The fullness and look of the ruffles can be changed by adjusting the fullness knob and the stitch length lever.
We operate out of our sewing machine repair shop in Raleigh, NC which has done business as Archie Johnson and Sons for over 60 years. Archie Johnson was the founder of the business. He lived from 1882 til 1973. His son, Sam Johnson, Sr is the inventor of the Johnson Ruffling Machine which was first manufactured about 1985. .His children Sam Johnson, Jr and Mary Johnson Brown and grandson Justin Brown are assisting him in operating the repair business and manufacturing the Johnson Ruffling Machine.”
I marvel at the ingenuity of some people.
Singer 306 W
I love this machine. It was one of Singers first attempts at a swing needle machine (later called zig-zag.) Some people don’t like it due to a few different features and say it is noisy. Mine is quiet and sews as smooth as can be. Many feel Singer missed the mark with this one. I don’t agree. My machine is much smoother than my 40l, 501, 503.
It uses a different needle 206 x 13 which you do have to order. It is about $7.99 for 10 needles. The bobbin case is different than the common cases. It has a cut out as pictured below. It uses different bobbins as well. There is a modern commercial machine that uses the same bobbins and bobbin case, so replacements are available. The belt is fiber with metal cleats rather than a rubber belt in the older machines. The one and only thing I don’t like about this machine is that you have to lift the front of the machine to load or change the bobbin. That is awkward to me, but worth the effort.
The cams attach on the front of the machine which is handy. Instructions warn not to run the machine without a cam even if you are straight stitching. I have managed to collect 32 different cams for my machine. Using a foot with a space on the bottom of it for satin stitching etc., look at the beautiful decorative stitches it makes. This is my go-to machine much of the time.
Pfaff 130 with Coffee Grinder
This machine was an estate sale find. According to ISMACS it was manufactured some time in 1953-1954. It isn’t in perfect shape, but really nice. It has a nice adjustable light. The cover for the light is broken as you can see. Even though it was made in Kaiserslautern, Germany has been wired for US electricity. However, I am having a problem finding the right light bulb for it. This is a wonderful machine. It makes a great stitch and is a smooth running and heavy machine. The coffee grinder is the attachment on the back of the machine that allows you to make lots of different decorative stitches. It came with the round rotating chart you see pictured. You point the selector to the stitch you want to make and it tells you where the various levers need to be to make that stitch. It also came with a multitude of feet and the instruction manual for both the machine and the coffee grinder attachment. A major plus is that it has easily droppable feed dogs. There is a knob on the bed near the right-hand corner to drop the feed dogs. The one and only thing I don’t like about this machine is that you have to lift the machine head to change the bobbin. However, just as with my Singer 306W, it is well worth the effort. I love this machine.
White Sewing Machine circa 1929
I found this pretty machine at an estate sale for $10. They didn’t think highly of it because it wasn’t in the correct case. What you see is what I got except for a few bobbins. I cleaned and oiled it. I Because it was sitting so long, the hand wheel made a dent in the rubber wheel that makes the hand wheel turn. When I ran it, there was a thump-thump sound. So I replaced the rubber wheel and it runs smoothly now. I could not resist this beautiful cast iron machine. I am still working on adjusting it. I think this machine is a candidate for one of the beautiful handmade wooden cases I have seen.
My Federation treadle machine was manufactured in Britain by the Jones Company. They made sewing machines for the Co-operative Wholesale Society and badged them with different names for various retailers. On the bed of the machine is a pretty logo “CWS” for Co-operative Wholesale Society. The society must be something similar to our Costco, but owned by 8 million members.
I’m not sure of the manufacture date. I hit a dead end on my research. The machine and cabinet are in near mint condition. It uses one of the old-style cylindrical bobbins and sews a beautiful stitch. I bought it at an auction that imports crates of goods from Britain.
Singer 301 Long Bed
My Singer model 301 long bed was manufactured in Anderson, South Carolina in 1951. For their 100th anniversary Singer introduced the first slant needle machine – the 301. The angle of the needle bar makes it easier to see what your are sewing. Some say this is the “big sister” to the Featherweight machine. It’s really not, as they are not much alike. However, like the Featherweight, the 301 is easy to move around and carry to classes. It is made of die cast aluminum and weighs just over 16 pounds. In addition, it has a handle on the top that flips up to lift for carrying. The machine I have pictured is a long bed which will not fit into a cabinet. It came in a trapezoid-shaped case covered with grass cloth. There is also a short-bed 301 machine that will fit into a cabinet. The 301 is well sought after, as it sews very nicely. It is a straight-stitch machine, so extremely popular with quilters.
Singer 66 Godzilla
This is my Singer model 66 Godzilla crinkle-finish machine, manufacture date March 8, 1938 in Elizabeth, NJ. This machine was rescued from going to the dump. A man getting a divorce saw no value in it. My then-husband snatched it up for me. That was in 1981. From 1982 to 1992 I used this machine to sew specialty items for an interior decoration firm. It allowed me to work at home while my son was growing up.
This was my first vintage machine. What I love most about it is that it is simple and so easy to sew on. The only thing that has ever happened to it is the carbon brushes wore down because I used it so much. This machine and I are one. I love a lot of different machines, but this one is part of me.
My Singer 401A was purchased at an estate sale and manufactured in Anderson, SC in 1958. I love this machine! It is the second generation of slant-needle machines meaning the needle bar is slanted so you can see what you are sewing on easier. Unlike its predecessor, it is not just a straight-stitch machine. It has built in stitches plus cams to add more decorative stitches. It is a heavy-duty workhorse. You can use two needles in it, which is another big plus. Even though it is cast aluminum, it is pretty heavy. Mine came in a case that automatically latches when you set the lid down on the machine. If a person could only have one vintage machine, this would be one of my first choices. It’s hard to pick just one!
Pfaff 30 Treadle
My Pfaff model 30 treadle machine was made in 1955 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. It was an estate sale find and came in a very pretty parlor cabinet. It came with only a couple of feet. Since it is purely a straight-stitch machine, that is fine with me. However, I probably have feet that will fit it and just don’t know it. A friend has brought me and relatives have sent me attachments from Germany. This machine makes a beautiful stitch. It has a wooden treadle and makes a little thump when treadling. I will have to figure out if that thump can be eliminated. Never-the-less, I love this machine.
Singer Phoenix Class 15
This Class 15 Singer machine sports the beautiful and fully-intact Phoenix design decals. It was manufactured in Elizabeth, NJ on September 1, 1937. It is waiting for a good cleaning and rewiring. I found this machine at an estate sale. Even more exciting than the machine and it’s cabinet (which needs refinishing), it came with a Singer Fashion Aids attachment case full of attachments. Regretfully I sold the case, but I still have most of the attachments. The most unusual of the attachments was a Singer two-thread embroidery attachment for a back-clamp Singer Red Eye model 66 machine. It was in the original box, original instructions and even had the original tissue-type paper in the box.
Singer Electric Sew Handy
I found my British electric Sewhandy model 50D on a road trip passing through Schulenburg, TX at an antique store. Everything Singer jumps out at me. It is in great condition and works. You turn the knob on the right of the machine to turn the motor off and on. There is a lever that you push upwards to sew and downwards to stop. It makes a chain stitch just like my other Sewhandy. I hope the little girl who owned it enjoyed many hours of playful sewing.
Singer Black Sew Handy
Singer toy machines first appeared in the 1920’s as a Singer model 20. In the 1950’s they changed the design and they were then named the Sew Handy. They came in different colors. My sister and I got one for Christmas in the 50’s that is beige crinkle paint. I found this black one at an estate sale minus the clamp that holds it onto a table. Fortunately, a few years later I came across an orphan clamp that was made for this machine. A lot of little girls learned to sew on these. It makes a nice chain stitch which came in handy for little ones learning to sew. I know I appreciate a chain stitch when I am taking something apart. To make it easier to thread this machine, the places the thread passes through are numbered. it is a quality machine and makes a quality stitch even though it is a toy. Now us older girls collect them.