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It is a slippery slope. Singer actually lost the rights to their name for a good while because a "singer" was sononymous with sewing machine much like "coke" is to soda or kleenex to tissues. They regained it in the 40s and repatented several things including the name Singer.
Believe me we've spent hours doing research on the copyrights and patents and trademarks held by Singer for this very reason. It appears that they have reissued their copyrights and granted license to individuals for certain things like the lady who sells manuals, but we haven't been able to make the right contacts yet at Singer for this issue. We have already got the right materials to produce the waterslide decals, and we're doing original work for now but we would like to be able to restore machines to their original condition if a customer wants that, or make the decals available for the DIY restorers out there. So far that has been a no-go because we really don't want to get a cease and desist letter from Singer.
If I can get em', I'll buy em.... Done!!!
I have been thinking a lot about this discussion. The decals that we would like to have are vintage ones that Singer no longer uses and likely never produce produce again. Perhaps if everyone who refurbishes and restores antique and vintage Singer sewing machines contacted Singer regarding this matter might get permission to for the individuals to reproduce the decals. Power of many voices may get some response from Singer. Finding the correct contact may help. As my father said, "It is not what you know, it is WHO you know".
I'm on this already. I have NO plans to produce anything that might be in conflict here. I respect Singer (the old Singer at least) and want to help collectors, not "make a few bucks".
A couple of people have approached the Singer legal department and were soundly rebuffed. My plan is currently to be ABLE to produce a good reproduction, have the artwork, and production capability in place, and then approach Singer's marketing group about this opportunity, one which most of the work has already been done.
In a perfect world I would like to be part of helping some supplier be able to produce decals for Singer to offer directly on their site.
I know that this is an old thread (pun). I restore FW's and the best way to remove old decals is with denatured alcohol from a hardware store and a lot of rubbing with a soft cloth that you apply it with. Once you start, you will have to remove all the old clear coat on the sewing table, to keep it smooth. This will not remove the paint just the shellac that they used to protect the paint and decals. When you get down to the decals it will take a little extra rubbing to remove them, from what I think, some of the decals were baked into the paint surface and may require a light rubbing of 2000 grit sand paper dipped into the alcohol to remove be gentle. You will have to clear coat over new decals. Auto spray paint clear coat enamel works well and will take about a week to set up before you can sew. Most of the top decals on the machines are usually in good shape and can be left on. If you are handy you may try this, if not just live with your old decals, Your machine may be ugly but if it works well love your ugly child!
I looked at the site for the decals. I would love to find decals for my National Two Spool Treadle Machine, but I'm not sure whether I really want to undertake that task!
My machine shows wear on the decals on the bed -- just where you would expect it to wear! I know that Eldredge and National are no longer in business. If the online history is correct, Eldredge became National, which became New Home, which became Janome! Duh! That's a major project!
I don't think you would have any legal issue as long as you're making the decals for YOUR OWN USE. If you were SELLING THEM, you could very likely have some problems with copyright infringement . I'm not qualified to give legal advice, but making something for your own use -- I don't think you'd have a problem with that!
Having worked with tons of lawyers, their default answer is No, even if it doesn't make any sense. "Can I breath your air? No!" and it's up to a court of law to determine if they are correct.
Steve, I like your idea of approaching the singer marketing group. They would probably want to make it into a book or something, but lets not forget what their policy was when they received an exchange machine. it was to destroy it. Today they are in the market of consumables. If they publicize that you can get a 100 year old machine, and it will run a quintillion times more than their current machines, why would they advocate that?
Just my thoughts, not trying to poopoo on anybodies hopes.
right now I am just working with Keeler Sales website. So far very responsive to new ideas and good work. needs more improvements in the detail elements of the designs, but they are better than I could do at this point. I mentioned to them that the Singer 9W decals are cool and would look great on a 3/4 size singer, they now make them.