My "new" Singer 206
I just brought home this Singer 206 treadle. The Serial # is C3669668. As far as I can determine it was made in Wittenberge, Germany (Prussia) in the mid to late 1930's. It even has the Manual in German! I'm new to these vintage machines so I've got a huge learning curve ahead of me. I've been able to find out a few things. I found a list that said the C meant it was made in Wittenberge but I couldn't find anything about the serial number. I read that this was Singer's first machine with ZZ and that they rushed it into production because Elna and Bernina were already producing a ZZ. I also found that it uses an unusual 206x13 needle and that if you use a standard 15x1 it may damage the bobbin case. The only history I know is that it was found at a yard sale a couple of years ago after it's owner passed away and that she was an avid seamstress and had the machine "a long time". I'm almost enjoying the history of these machines as much as the opportunity to fix them up a bit and use them. Any information you can add would be greatly appreciated.
Congratulations, Joyce! The Singer 206 is a fantastic machine (I've got several), and you've got one of the earliest models, what with the spoked handwheel and the old-school bobbin winder. That is rare indeed. The ones I have are electrified, but yours is a natural-born treadle. Just fantastic.
Please do make sure you stick with the 206x13 needles, they can easily be ordered online, at Sew-Classic for instance. As you've mentioned, a 15x1 needle can damage the bobbin case.
What's pretty amazing is that your Wittenberge machine, with the manual in German and all, was clearly brought over by the original owner on a ship! I can't imagine how they packed it back then, before bubble wrap and such.
And yes, this was Singer's first domestic zigzag. They previously had zigzag capability in some of their industrial machines, but the 206, which I believe was first released in the 1920s or '30s, finally brought this into people's homes.
The 206s I have are all made from aluminum; I'd read that there were cast-iron 206s, which I assume yours is as it was one of the first. When you tip it back on the hinges to access the bobbin, is it extremely heavy?
I've never seen one in person. Very cool.
I am sincerely envious. The 206 is one Singer I've wanted since I heard about them. Like yours I was thinking of a treadle set up because it just looks right.
We got our 206-13s from All Brands on the net. Bought them in the 100 pack for our 319K.
Now a question;
What bobbin does the 206s use?
Nice machine...they are workhorses
Thank you for so much information Rain. Do you know of any look-ups for the Serial Numbers on these German 206's? You're right about being heavy! It's definitely cast iron. Luckily, I don't have to tip it back to change the bobbin. I don't guess it shows in the photo but the cabinet has a unique pivoting cover on a round hole that I can reach in under the machine to change remove and replace the bobbin.
I have so much to learn. I have no idea what some of the accessories are for. Since this is my first vintage machine I'm just sitting back and admiring right now. I want to clean it up but I want to make sure I do it correctly so I don't damage anything. Everything seems to turn freely but it has been well used. If you know of any good sources of information for me, please pass it on - especially anything specific to the 206. I just subscribed to your blog so I'm sure I will learn a lot there.
The 206 uses the 55623NS bobbin. It also fits the Singer 306 and 319, the Riccar Rotary, and the Singer 20U.
Originally Posted by J Miller
The German machines' serial number starts with a C. The "C" records were 'lost'. So in dating a German machine it is not possible to be exact like it is with the Elizabethport, NJ ones.
Originally Posted by Joyce29
"The "C" records were 'lost'. So in dating a German machine it is not possible to be exact" ~ I should have realized that since Wittenberge was in Prussia and went with the Eastern block. I think I read somewhere that the factory was used for war production but continued to produce machines for a few years after WWII. Of course, if this is true they would likely not be found in any of our markets. I was in East Germany before the wall came down and was amazed to go into a couple of department stores where they had appliances on display. Mind you there was one refrigerator, one cooking stove, etc. You had to place your order and pay for it ... then wait for it to be produced. I was told it was the same with cars.
I just bought a motorized Singer 206 with loose wires the other day. I haven't had time to tinker with it. I'll have to see if mine is iron or aluminum. It is waiting for me at the shop. Mine came with a ton of attachments and sewing stuff. You all answered some of my questions. Mine was bought in 1952. Everything moves very well. The cabinet door with the hole is a real nice thing to have with those machines. The slide plate is tough to operate - you have to raise the feed dog end to slide it out of the way. On the other hand it seems like it would get cleaned more often if you saw the lint on bobbin change occasions.