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Thread: What do You Look For in Vintage Machines?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Dayton, OH

    What do You Look For in Vintage Machines?

    I am an avid thrift store person, and see alot of machines waiting to be rescued. Just was wondering, what exactly to you look for when inspecting vintage machines for possible rescue? Especially the old old machines. Thanks in advance for your input.

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
    Blog Entries
    cleanliness, (was it well maintained?)
    function, does everything work- wheel turn, needle go up & down, electical components in good condition, belt without cracks?
    decals in place
    i love the old machines but am not interested in having to spend a bunch of extra money to restore them- if i'm going to buy one i want it usable- and (hazard free) i don't want a fire hazard- dangerous piece of equipment- so the cords must be in good shape- having some attachments, assessories is nice too-
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Jersey Shore
    Functional parts intact
    Decals are in excellent condition
    Little to no rust
    Bobbin case present

  4. #4
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    I look for condition, bobbin case being there, and price. I'm just learning about fixing them up and don't want to spend an arm and a leg doing it. I want there to be some value in what I get..... so I feel like I still have a bargain. But, if I were to find an unusual, beautiful machine, I'd be tempted.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mom3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    suburb of Milwaukee, WI
    All of the above.

    Plus, I 'try' to make sure needles and bobbins are still available for the model(s) I'm looking at because I don't just look at my machines, I use them.


  6. #6
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NJ
    Sorry but I look for pristine condition; working and CHEAP! I have yet to pay over $50 for an antique machine. Have been VERY fortunate. But IMO, there are too many machines out there in pristine condition to pay for something in less than that. Be that is it may, I did (last year) pay $50 for an electrified redeye in less than pristine condition. But it suited some other needs for me.

  7. #7
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    NE Indiana
    Plastic geared machines are persona non grata in this house. I don't even consider them.

    Otherwise if the machine looks at me with big sad eyes and whimpers ..... "please save me" . It goes home with me.

    Here's something for you neat freaks to think about. If a machine is sanitary clean, it usually means they were not used much. When I see a machine like that the first thing that I ask is: "What's wrong with this machine, that nobody used it?"

    On the other hand when I find a machine that has yellowed underneath from much oiling and has lint and fuzz everywhere I know that machine has been used ... a lot. And the odds are it is a good machine.

    An example is the Commodore I got yesterday. It's a very good machine, all it needs is cleaning and oiling and it's good to go.
    On the other hand the Edison I got earlier this year was clean, but completely unusable.

    This hasn't been 100% true, but I'm thinking about 90% so I'm sticking to my methods.

    Plus I like to fix 'em.


  8. #8
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Western Tidewater, VA
    Depends on how handy you are, and what you're going to do with it. Are you adding to your own collection, or do you just like to tinker and learn? The requirements for either are different.

    If I'm adding to my collection, I look for unusual-something I don't have one of. I seem to have a kink for friction drives, and now have half a dozen or so of them. Is it in good condition? If it's not, can you fix it, or are you willing to pay someone else too? Do you have a budget?

    If I'm looking to tinker and learn, I care far less about looks-I've bought some real dogs on the theory that they're already beat, so nothing I can do to them is going to make them worse. Ugly ones are usually cheaper, too.

    If you're not keeping it, what will you do with it? If you catch and release, do you have a steady supply of people to release to? Most of them are likely to want a basic zigzag and a 'real' bobbin, not a vibrating shuttle machine, which influences what you want to buy. It's an expensive hobby to buy, fix and give away, but I know someone who regularly sends machines to either Afghanistan or Africa.
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  9. #9
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Do I like the looks - condition, decals, style of machine, etc.... If I do the next question is whether I can think of someplace that I can put it, either for use or display, once it's cleaned up? If I can, can I afford it?

  10. #10
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Millville, NJ
    I'd look at how the machine was going to be used----resale or actual use. Only certain machines I'd advise for resale and only certain machines might be good for a particular use. Personally, I'd buy a Davis


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