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Anybody Else Collect Sewing Machines?

Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by fishmeok, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. I started picking up machines at estate sales, etc. originally to rebuild some of my leather jackets. This led to some interesting finds, and then back to the internet when I realized just any old sewing machine would not work. THAT led to an interest in how the things actually work, machine history, manufacturer history, etc. I have seven machines right now, used to have 11. Singers: 1923 99K, 1961 503A (for sale in the classifieds), 1935 78-1 (walking needle industrial, my main workhorse), 1950 something (records were lost for the factory that made it) 319W, 1952 White 77MG (made out of magnesium alloy!), Late '40s Necchi BU (my favorite all around machine) and a 1940's-50's Pfaff 130 which I just picked up last weekend and needs some work.

    I find these old machines fascinating, and the workmanship on them in superb. Unfortunately things went downhill in the late '60's when many of the companies moved production to Japan and started merging. Now most machines are plastic, and computerized to boot. No more fixing by yourself...

    I am always looking for new machines, and I try to keep a rotation going so I can try new vintage models out (BTW anybody interested in the White or Singer 99?) Craigslist is great for this, as are estate sales.


    Singer 99K- with locking "coffin top" case:

    Singer 319W- a transition model, with push button stitch pattern levers on top of the machine.

    Singer 503A Slant-O-Matic, the most stylish of the group- slightly more modern, uses "fashion cams" for different stitches:

    Singer 78-3 industrial, originally a treadle machine, this was designed to sew automobile tops and tarps:
    Walking needle- the needle drops into the fabric and moves back, pulling all the layers of material along:

    Necchi BU (Italian), best machine I have. Zig Zag and reverse, what more do you need?

    Pfaff 130 (German), just picked up and haven't really messed with it yet.

    White 77MG- green crinkle finish and made out of magnesium alloy! Check out the details...
  2. My grandmother just gave me a Singer Feather Weight, it was stored in a barn so the case has some white bloom on it. I don't know whether or not to keep it or try and sell it. [huh]
  3. Keep It! Featherweights are hot right now for some reason, but around Christmas they will be even more in demand. Clean it up, get it running well and you might decide to keep the thing. I understand they are not the best at actually SEWING, but the small size makes them neat little machines.
  4. I guess I can do that, though I need the money for my sekrit vacation now! Thanks for the advice. :D
  5. MPicciotto

    MPicciotto Practically Family

    My dad for YEARS used a 1930's Singer industrial that supposedly came out of an underwear factory to sew sails and boat covers. He only upgraded about five years ago to a walking foot machine that I believe is only about 50 years old! I think he finally sold the Singer for several hundred dollars.


    P.S. His Singer looked very much like your industrial, including the table and base, the knee switch etc.
  6. 59Lark

    59Lark A-List Customer

    my basement is fuller than that.

    Looks like some of the stuff, in my basement, white rotary most of them are friction drive with the pulley on motor and they run backwards, 319k most of them are two tone green here in Canada. The first singer zig zag was the 206k and it was based on a commercial machine that sewed ladies underwear. Thus it takes the smaller more commercial like 206 needles that are also used in the 306k,and the 319k, there is also a very rare free arm version. That why the bobbins and case are commercial like compared to regular home machines. The 99-13 in the bentwood case that you have there, the letter in front of the serial no, looks like a y which if my failing memory strikes is a 1924 model. i think my memory isnt what it used to be, The 130 pfaff is a really old pfaff treadle from after the war, early fifties , i just had a amish girl who is going into withdrawal because her 131 dropped out her timing belt, had been oiled too much and the cord rotted. The belt are no longer available and thats the end to that 131. I have in my basement right now a elna grasshopper no 1, with army box, and all the accessories in really good, shape and i also have a 222k free arm featherweight which needs a tune up and havent got to that and also have a slant needle 301a and i also have a singer cufflinks are show a 301 on them and state slant needle club, got them if you sold a lot of the slant 301 machines a gift from my predessor and teacher. i have been in the sewing machine business since i was 18 and now am 44 , learned my trade from the best, L. A. RIDSDALE god rest his soul. They dont make men like larry anymore, one match larry, i also sell treadle machines to the amish families and missionaries and have sent machines to most parts of the globe. and i drive a studebaker and wear a fedora. 59Lark.
  7. Miss 1929

    Miss 1929 My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Love the Slant-O-Matic!

    I used to have one, it worked great until it up and died one day.

    But collecting sewing machines? They're like anvils!
  8. Love the machines, fishmeok! They're gorgeous and functional.

    Given half a chance and a lot more display room I could collect vintage sewing machines. Maybe when we move and I get my sewing room back .... I like the old mechanicals; I refuse to spend so much money on a cheap plastic machine.

    Right now I've got my early 1970s Elna SU (second owner here), still runs like a dream. I also need to collect my grandmother's old machine from my mother's family room when we declutter back to its corner. I forget what brand that one is because I haven't seen it in about fifteen years, but if I recall correctly she got it around the time she got married (1922). That's going to be occupying most of my sewing area's floor space once that gets over here. I'd really like to get my hands on some of the older Elnas, too. I can't get the Supermatic cams to really work well on my current machine.
  9. Lady Day

    Lady Day I'll Lock Up Bartender



  10. It's fun, but they can be a hassle when you get five or six in a room. I like the old White Rotaries with the friction drive but they don't have the grabbing power of a belt, and the rubber drive pullys develop flat spots if they sit too long. That's why I'm just down to just the 77MG,
    I think it's cool. I'd like to get an Elna grasshopper so I have something with a free arm, or mabe a Pfaff 330 (340?).

    But I'm happy with my 78-3 industrial, it plows through leather and after tuning and replacing some worn parts it's working well.
  11. I still need to get a chord and tensioner assembly for that Pfaff, it's not running yet..
  12. cooncatbob

    cooncatbob Practically Family

    I have a Singer 185, it's basically a 99 with a more modern exterior and a Kenmore 158.13180.
  13. 59Lark

    59Lark A-List Customer

    will try to post some pictures of the machines that i have.

    The machines that have in my basement, will ask my daughter to post some of the pictures of the grasshopper elna and the 301a slant needle machine. My 84 year old mother refinishes treadle cabinets in her basement , we overhaul old machines or install our new treadle machines into the treadle cabinets she has refinished, she scrapes the old finish or hand sands everything , doesnt use any chemicals or a power sander, the amish seen to like that and our impressed my eldlery farm woman mother still does this, cant afford to pay anyone to do this , just something for her to do. will try to show some pictures. 59Lark
  14. texasgirl

    texasgirl One Too Many

    I finally got a chance to take some pictures of my sewing machines

    This one is actually my husbands. He bought it from a friend of his mothers who was selling some antiques. He must have known someday he'd marry someone who sews-lol I did look up the serial number and I believe it was 1908- I wrote it down somewhere

    Here's one I picked up at a local antique store. I think it's from the 20s

    Here's one my mom got me. She thought it was old, but it's actually a reproduction from within the last 20 yrs or so. It's really cool though- I haven't tried to sew on it yet.

    And here's the one I actually use to sew my quilts. It's a New Home and I really like it.
  15. Nice machines! I think a lot of people have been fooled by those modern Singer replicas from China, kind of interesting since you can still find so many originals for next to nothing. I like the old Singer look, but some of the machines from the '50's like the Necchi Supernovas definately have them beat style-wise.

  16. Sweet Leilani

    Sweet Leilani A-List Customer

    I don't collect them- like I need more things to collect :) - but I do have an old New Ideal. I know absolutely nothing about it except that it used to be a treadle machine & my great-gram had it "modernized".

  17. lizylou

    lizylou Familiar Face

    I have a newer model that I got to start making some vintage outfits with. I have 1 antique singer that looks like it was used to the max. 1 retro late 60's singer. Im too embarresed to post pics of them. Compared to the ones posted here they look like junk!:eek:
  18. Don't be embarrassed, these things are meant to be used, the more beat up they are, the more impressive, in my opinion. Sometimes it's amazing just how easy it can be to get a rusty old machine to work again...
  19. Charbeau

    Charbeau New in Town

    I have my grandmother's Singer Feather Weight that she bought in 1939 to sew her wedding dress. It made her children's baby clothes and countless other things over the years and about 10 years ago she passed it along to me. I still have it serviced regularly and I use it- it stitches beautifully. I have made several simple patchwork quilts with it and I am starting to learn to sew clothing, I am in the process of making an apron and a dress for my 3 year old daughter. There is something incredibly special about using the same machine to sew clothing for my children that my grandmother used to sew for my mother and then me. I do have a more modern machine (Janome) and it works nicely but I am almost afraid of it with its computerized programming since I learned to sew on the Feather Weight! No amount of money could make me part with it. :)
  20. El

    El New in Town

    Intruduction + I also Collect Sewing Machines.

    Mark Wrote: Late '40s Necchi BU (my favorite all around machine) and a 1940's-50's Pfaff 130 which I just picked up last weekend and needs some work.

    I'm El: I live in SC, we are, 3-2 leged persons in our family, plus 5-4 leged 0nes (all dogs, big and small) and fish, Koi over 40, (I can't count them all) 1 Albino Tiger Oscar named Tony the Tiger, that give kisses thru the glass tank to Mom (me), not to any others, and a bunch of Comum Comets and some Sarasas, all our pets are spoiled, as specialy the Koi as they reconize voices and can see who is close to their domain, if stranges aproaches they don't come to the surface.
    I also have many sewing Machines, among them a Pfaff 130, a Necchi Supernova Ultra and a Necchi Mira, I just found and purchase the cams and rods for it but I miss the Needle Plate to use with the rods or the cams will only work with one setting, I think that this part may be dificult to find, but some will work, and hope I could find one.
    Also a few old Singer's most prior to 1940, one is a Hand Crank with vibrating Shuttle, some 15-91- a 301, a 99K, some White Rotary a Damascus, some are threadles, some electric.
    I can go on and on, but I think this is already too long.
    Nice to let me join and nice to meet others that love old SM's.
    Will check all parts of the Loung a bit at a time, I'm old and my eyes get tired.
    By for now.
    PS: Have Nice Holidays everyone.

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