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  • 1901 Singer 27K2 Convertible Hand Crank/Treadle

    Old 01-01-2014, 04:36 AM
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    Default 1901 Singer 27K2 Convertible Hand Crank/Treadle

    I hinted about getting this machine just before Christmas in another thread, but after researching it more at Singer, Needlebar, and other places, here is some more information about it. Singer put out a few units that they called “convertible” that either provided more than one power source, or could be converted from stationary to portable use. This is one that qualifies under both conditions. It can be operated as a Hand Crank machine, or as a Treadle machine in the stand by making minimal changes between the two modes of operation, and can be made portable by simply lifting it out of the stand table by pressing a metal release tab and placing the machine on a flat surface to operate.

    The hand crank was called a “Hand Attachment” and was an optional feature that had to be requested when ordering. The head is outfitted with a special bobbin winder that functions by a rubber ring making contact with the rim of the hand wheel. On most model 27 treadles, the bobbin winder pulley rode on the treadle belt and had no “tire” as we call them today. I believe that the hand wheel is unique to this configuration as well. It has 12 spokes compared to the normal 6-spoke hand wheel found on most model 27s. Twelve-spoke hand wheels can be found on the model 28 as are the more common 9-spoke hand wheel.

    Other examples of Singer convertible units, especially when electric motors were introduced, included a couple of treadle stands that could be converted back and forth from treadle to electric power. One industrial stand used a coupling nut in a special 2-piece metal pitman rod that could be switched from the treadle wheel pitman rod upper section to one attached to an electric motor. I have one of those, but unfortunately, the coupling nut is missing. Another convertible treadle model had a 1-piece pitman rod, and since the lower end consisted of a ball in a socket, the entire metal pitman rod could be unscrewed from the upper end fitting at the fly wheel, and a small attachment was screwed onto the upper end of the pitman rod and fitted into a small motor speed control mounted on the underside of the top by the use of a pigtail-type connection. In both cases, the same treadle plate was used to activate both modes of operation, and drive belts had to be changed from the flywheel to an electric motor pulley.

    There are several examples of Singer cabinets made to convert from stationary to portable use of hand and electrically powered machines. Early versions included a drop-in cut-out to accommodate a portable case base, and later versions included a special adaptor “cradle” that could be mounted in several cabinets to provide quick portability of the machine (Singer shortbed 301 & 301A). Singer folding tables are another example of a stationary/portable design. Perhaps Singer became the largest sewing machine company by trying to be everything to everybody with all of their versions of things?

    CD in Oklahoma
    Attached Thumbnails machine552t_01.jpg   machine552t_03.jpg   machine552t_05.jpg  

    Last edited by ThayerRags; 01-01-2014 at 04:38 AM.
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:07 AM
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    Funny you should bring this up. I've been working on two 27s this week. One appears to have been refurbished a long time ago. It has no medallion. Then upon close inspection it has filled in holes. The refurbish job was pretty good but there was paint on the clutch knob - it is peeling off. The machine had a bit of rust inside and took a while getting the guts to move. I did it and I am very impressed with the machine. There is no motor boss. It has a rear mount non-Singer motor and a small balance wheel both likely from the refurbish. This machine is beautiful and I bet it would sew through plywood... LOL And no, I'm not going to try. I think it was a conversion from treadle to electric and somewhere along the line it got set aside. Possibly refurbished and never sold? Just sitting around didn't do the insides any good though.
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]454191[/ATTACH]

    The other machine was in seriously bad shape when I got it. I wondered if it would ever turn. I spent a lot of time freeing things up on it, too. It has a few things still to work on - very rusty inside still but it turns almost smooth. Once in a while I feel a glitch. I'm thinking some more work getting rust out of the guts... This one had the smaller treadle balance wheel and no they do not interchange from one machine to the other. This one has a motor boss. This one needs Glenn's finish refurb:
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]454195[/ATTACH]
    Attached Thumbnails singer-27s-009.jpg   singer-27s-008.jpg  

    Last edited by miriam; 01-01-2014 at 05:24 AM.
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:12 AM
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    Hand wheel on the electric conversion looks like it is the same depth as the hand wheel on my 28 but the hand wheel from the 28 does not slide on - I fear forcing it... :
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]454196[/ATTACH]

    Hand wheel on the treadle 27:
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]454197[/ATTACH]
    Attached Thumbnails singer-27s-014.jpg   singer-27s-005.jpg  

    Last edited by miriam; 01-01-2014 at 05:20 AM.
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:17 AM
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    The face plate on the electric is plain. You can see the embossing on the treadle model. The rear plate is a pear shape cast iron piece on the electric and just a regular cover for the treadle. I have been wanting to put the two on the same table and compare closer. These are not identical machines. There is maybe something wrong with the bobbin winder on the treadle model - I don't know enough about the machines to know how to fix it yet.
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:29 AM
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    Are you sure that the one with a spoked hand wheel is not a Singer 127?

    CD in Oklahoma
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:36 AM
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    I’d guess that the electric conversion originally had a 6-spoke hand wheel on it. The 9-spoke won’t interchange with it. Most 127s came with a 9-spoke wheel or disc wheel on them.

    CD in Oklahoma
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:41 AM
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    I don't know the difference between a 127 and a 27.
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:57 AM
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    As near as I can tell the conversion machine is from 1894 and the other machine is from 1937
    So the big difference between the 127 and the 27 is the balance wheel size? These for sure are not the same machine - both are full size machines. I think they both are very cool and the best thing for them would be for someone to use them - they should go for years.......
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    Old 01-01-2014, 05:58 AM
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    Originally Posted by ThayerRags
    I’d guess that the electric conversion originally had a 6-spoke hand wheel on it. The 9-spoke won’t interchange with it. Most 127s came with a 9-spoke wheel or disc wheel on them.

    CD in Oklahoma
    The wheel off the 28 doesn't fit it either - the shaft is larger around.
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    Old 01-01-2014, 06:18 AM
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    They’re nearly the same machine, but there are some differences. Few of the model 27s were intended for electrical use, while most of the model 127s were. That’s the major reason for the high and low bobbin winder difference, but Singer continued manufacturing both models at the same time for a number of years. Not all countries, or even parts of countries were getting electrified at the same time. It took years. Singers BWs were high on 127, low on 27, but electrification changed that on a lot of 27s. All it took was to make a belt guard with an arm on it, and move the existing low bobbin winder up onto the arm and add a rubber ring (tire). Originally, most Singer 27 bobbin winders were powered by the treadle belt down at the low position.

    Another major difference between the 27 and 127 is the balance wheel design (6-spoke & 9-spoke). They have different length hubs and different height shoulders.

    As to your converted machine, we’ve got to remember that the coming of electricity meant that most sewing machine users definitely wanted to convert to electricity. Some were afraid of electricity and didn’t convert, but the majority of treadle users did. That’s why your model 27 looks so much like a model 127. That’s what people wanted it to look like. Those solid disc wheels completed the “look” for one thing, but they also made the bobbin winder work in the high position (taller shoulder). Companies (other than Singer) started making the solid disc balance wheels, and they were available to independent shops to rebuild the then unwanted, non-electric 27s. The solid disc wheels were even available for the long hub machines in two models (#1241 & #1243, both wholesaling for $2 each in 1951). One (#1243) featured a “large pulley to slow speed”.

    CD in Oklahoma
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