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Thread: Wheeler & Wilson9/Singer 9W Serials

  1. #1
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Wheeler & Wilson9/Singer 9W Serials

    I've corresponded (lightly) with John Langdon (he edits the newsletter for ISMACS) and he's compiling serial numbers for both Wheeler & Wilson D9 machines and Singer 9W machines, along with physical characteristics of both machines, i.e., bed length, bobbin style, etc.
    Here is part of what he wrote to me in his emails:

    Singer was great about keeping records (mostly) and, even with the 'missing' information for some of its earlier models, it puts the other manufacturers to shame. W&W were not so good. Then, of course, Singer renumbered Bridgeport machines and effectively went back to 0 but with a 'W' in front.


    So, there is a huge grey area around the D–9 and 9w. No-one really knows just when (in the sequence of serial numbers) Singer took over. Nor is anyone sure exactly sure when they dropped the Wheeler & Wilson decals and introduced the Singer Celtic Knot style. And later, when they changed the bobbin to a 221 style (with holes in the side) from the one shaped like a donut or bagel, depending on your cultural heritage.


    So far, I would estimate yours to be a little before 1911, but not before 1909. So far, it is the latest example I have that uses the donut shape bobbin. If yours has the longer, Singer standard bed length, then it is clear that the company had adapted the smaller W&W beds to fit its own cabinets/treadles before it changed the bobbin.


    There is every reason to believe that yours is a 9w7 but, in later parts books, it says the 9w7 took the 221 (later) bobbin. This is an anomaly I have yet to explain.


    There is no record of how big a production run would have been at W&W, but we know how many of its popular models Singer commissioned - 100,000 per batch was not uncommon. Your machine is only 4,000 away from the batches which had the 221-style bobbin, so it could have been rushed out for a particular trade show, or promotion, as pre-launch samples or some other imposed deadline… with the rest of the batch following with the new bobbin. This is, of course, imagined but I know things like that have been reported. They had to have machines to demonstrate at the launch, so they could take orders for the main 'batch'.


    Once they were tooled up to make the new bobbin and maybe its housing, it was a simple job to get the assembly line to fit these 3 or 4 parts rather than those 3 or 4 parts, as all the rest of the machine was the same. I think what I mean is: even though changing to a new bobbin sounds a big deal, practically, it was quite a simple change.


    I have never heard why they changed bobbins. There seems no good reason for it. One is not inferior/superior to the other. Perhaps the later style was just more convenient - more in the style of the other bobbins they made. Maybe the old W&W bobbin-making machine was wearing out and they didn't want to replace it just for this one model. Maybe it was a 'size' thing - and they thought the user would prefer slightly larger bobbins, less frequent windings, etc. It could be anything. If you were able to post a request for serials - D–9 or 9w - I'd be very grateful. I can't do it myself as I'm stuck with a deadline and won't have time to monitor the replies regularly (I put together the ISMACS News magazine for them and it always takes more time than I have).






    Thanks very much for your help. It's greatly appreciated.


    Best wishes,
    John











    So here it is....if you don't mind sharing, would you mind posting your information about your W&W D9 or Singer 9W machines in this thread and I will forward the information collectively to John. He needs the serial number, bobbin style, and any outstanding features that you feel would make a difference or lend a hand in dating these old girls. Thanks!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

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  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Sure, mine is a 9W-7. Uses the 221 style bobbin. The serial # is: 3220806.
    The machine itself is just like yours. I can't say anything stands out about it.
    Well, one thing does. Somewhere in it's life it was converted to use 15x1 needles. A 127x1 is way too long, with interference problems under neath.
    It came in a 5 drawer treadle with the middle drawer that has the cut out spaces for the attachments. The drawer fronts have fancy filigree type designs on them. Don't know what that's called.

    Joe

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    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    So Joe...can you actually use 221 bobbins in your machine? That would be so nice!! The "donut" style that mine uses doesn't hold much thread. How do yours mount in the machine?
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

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    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Mine is a Singer 9W, serial # W22105, with a 221 bobbin. Machines fits into my Singer treadles.
    Cathy was very helpful in showing me how to fix the tension; now, I should give this poor baby a better cleaning.
    She sews a beautiful stitch!
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    Member LauraJJ68's Avatar
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    Here is the model number to mine
    3136261, I don't know if it has any other numbers besides the 9W. By donut do u mean the case doesn't come out and u just slip the bobbin in and close the latch? That's the style I have.

    Laura

  6. #6
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee View Post
    So Joe...can you actually use 221 bobbins in your machine? That would be so nice!! The "donut" style that mine uses doesn't hold much thread. How do yours mount in the machine?
    Charlee,
    Forgot to add, mine fits perfectly in a standard Singer cabinet. I had it in my #1 66 cabinet to test it out.
    Here's some pics of my bobbin area.

    Joe
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  7. #7
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraJJ68 View Post
    Here is the model number to mine
    3136261, I don't know if it has any other numbers besides the 9W. By donut do u mean the case doesn't come out and u just slip the bobbin in and close the latch? That's the style I have.

    Laura
    Laura, by "donut" I mean that the bobbin has solid sides (no holes) and the sides are curved, making it resemble a donut. Joe posted pics of the 221 bobbin.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe! I hadn't paid enough attention to these machines to even know that the later models had the 221 bobbins! Interesting that they still insert in the same manner instead of having a case.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee View Post
    Thanks Joe! I hadn't paid enough attention to these machines to even know that the later models had the 221 bobbins! Interesting that they still insert in the same manner instead of having a case.
    Charlee, Mine 9W bobbin area looks just like Joe's machine. Since my 9W's # starts with a W and has fewer digits than Joe's machine#, I'm thinking my machine is older than Joe's. I'm also assuming that mine falls into that gray area that John mentioned, the right after Singer took over. Mine could be one of the first 9Ws to use the 221 bobbins instead of the donut bobbins.

  10. #10
    Member LauraJJ68's Avatar
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    Ty for the clarification and the pics, I have the donut style, solid sides.

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