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Thread: 1941 Singer 15 special variation (15sv10) - looking for more info

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    Question 1941 Singer 15 special variation (15sv10) - looking for more info

    Hello all,

    I've been a member of the forum for a while, learning all about quilting, but this is my first post. So glad to have found this forum and all it's useful information.

    I found and bought this Singer 15sv10 (according to the instruction manual) and am trying to find more information about it. I've found one photo of another machine like it and it's on this forum. I also found a couple of videos on youtube of the same model machine.

    I would love to know more about it, would love to find a service manual for it, and would like to know more about the Singer "special variations" and why they were offered and what made this machine a special variation. Basically I just want to know everything about it.

    Yesterday, I polished it a bit, oiled it, and hubby and I did a little adjusting on the belt, but this is pretty much the condition I bought it in. (When loosening the lock nut to wind a bobbin, the needle still goes up and down - not a big deal but would like to know what other things we could adjust to fix this. Other than that, it sews beautifully.)

    Looking forward to learning more about the beautiful machine.

    Jodie

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  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Jodie,

    Welcome to the Quilting Board ( as a new poster anyway )

    I don't think that is a 41 vintage machine. It looks more like the more recent Indian made Singers. It is a Singer, not a clone, but not a vintage machine either.
    Here is a link to the Indian Singers that look very similar to yours. { http://www.singerindia.net/Straight_Stich.aspx?id=1 }

    You can find service manuals on the Singer site { http://www.parts.singerco.com/IPsvcManuals/ } but I don't know how close to yours these manuals will be.

    To stop the needle bar from moving I'd remove the hand wheel, clean any and all old oil from the shaft and inside of the wheel, then put one drop of sewing machine oil on the shaft and put the wheel back on. That should free up the wheel when the stop motion knob is released.
    Oh, when you remove the stop motion knob, make the clutch washer with a Sharpie so you get it back on the way it cam off. They can be turned 180 out and then sometimes they won't work.

    Joe

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    It's got "Made in USA" printed on the front.

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    Pat,

    Your monitor is a lot clearer than mine, I totally missed that. Had to look, look, look to find it after you said it was there. OK, so this time I was wrong. Oh dear.

    Joe

  5. #5
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    I had to look this up but it appears to be a "Indian Star" variation. Ismac's has a nice collection of decal examples: http://www.ismacs.net/singer_sewing_...ic-decals.html
    though I did not notice the Star and Sphinx. They'd probably be interested in a picture of your machine. I see part of your serial number AG... so your 1941 date is probably correct. Very unusual and Thanks.

    Jon

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    I'm pretty sure it's a Singer, all the parts that can be seen have "simanco" on them, and it came with the manual that has "15sv10" on it. Didn't find the exact decals on the Singer site and no mention of this exact model number.

    It does also have "The" in front of Singer. The other machine that I saw on this forum is here:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage-antique-machine-enthusiasts-f22/singer-15sv-t202900.html

    Definitely not the Indian Star version although the stars are similar - this machine has no red on it.
    Last edited by jodiemarlin; 04-04-2013 at 10:18 AM.

  7. #7
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Jodie,

    Nah, I was totally wrong about it. I've never seen one with that decal set other than the later Asian made ones. So I made an erroneous conclusion ...... my bad.

    What I said about the hand wheel, and service manual is still good though. I think ....... ?????

    Joe

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    For the bobbin winding problem, hubby did remove the hand wheel, oiled the shaft and wheel. We then ran it a bit, holding the take up lever to keep it from moving, removed the hand wheel again, lightly sanded the shaft (which was dry originally) , oiled, ran again, then removed the hand wheel the final time, cleaned shaft and wheel again and re-oiled. It takes very little pressure on the take up lever to stop the needle from moving up and down. He even adjusted the belt a tiny bit which did slow down the needle movement. (He is a mechanic by profession so he totally knows how to get things moving smoothly.)

    We thought there might be another adjustment somewhere that would help. Like I said, it's no big deal, but if I had to wind many bobbins it would be annoying.

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Jodie,

    Don't hold the thread take up lever, it's not strong. They can break. I've had to replace two of them on other Singers that were broken off. Hold the needle bar instead.

    By the looks of that machine, it might just need to be broken in. It doesn't look like it was used much if at all.

    Joe

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    We were very careful with the take up lever, barely had to touch it to keep it from moving.

    It does look barely used. I think it's a great Craig's List find for $75.

  11. #11
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    Now that is a beautiful machine. Please let us all know what info you uncover about it. And welcome to the board!
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

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    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
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    That is a beautiful, beautiful machine. Enjoy! I'll be here drooling and green with envy. Just kidding, enjoy, it's wonderful.

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    Thanks! It is beautiful and my photos don't do it justice.

    I'm still drawing blanks for more info, but I did send an email to Singer so maybe they will have more info. Fingers are crossed!

  14. #14
    Super Member Lyncat's Avatar
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    That is a beautiful Singer. I love how it looks!

  15. #15
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    SInger won't have any information. ISMAC's is the best place to start on a machine that interesting.

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    Hi Jodie, what a find! That is certainly an unusual model 15, and absurdly well-preserved for a machine that age. As you've deduced, it's from the early 1940s; I only own one machine older than that that is as well preserved, and it was a one-owner machine owned by a Singer sewing instructor.

    The "SV" designation means the machine was specially made-to-order. There's no telling what the customization was, but I'm sure you'll eventually deduce it by using the machine.

    Because it is so old, chances are the wiring for the light and/or motor will be brittle and need replacing.

    The machine you have, and particularly in that condition, is really very unusual--I'm talking Smithsonian quality. That doesn't mean it's worth big bucks, as there's no governing body or official documents determining value, like there is with old cars; but if I were you, I'd certainly never let that machine go--you're not likely to find another one like that in your lifetime.

    To preserve the machine, please do keep it in a climate-controlled environment--please don't store it in an attic or basement, or anywhere where it will undergo seasonal changes in temperature or humidity, or you will see the machine's finish deteriorate rapidly.

    And above all, don't be afraid to use it! Singers are extraordinarily well-made machines and will last for generations (save for the wiring insulation, which will naturally deteriorate over time). You may have to do a little motor maintenance to keep it running well, i.e. swapping out the grease wicks and ensuring the machine is properly oiled and greased, and you'll need to periodically clean the lint out from under the feed dogs.

    Also, don't be afraid to touch the take-up lever, as a previous poster wrote; they are impossible to break with your finger, and can only be broken in shipping or if the machine suffers a fall. I'll often manually stop the take-up lever if I'm oiling the handwheel shaft in bobbin-winding mode.

    Again, congratulations on finding such a fantastic machine!
    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

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    Thanks for the info Rain! I do plan to use the machine - otherwise, what's the point of owning it? - and hubby noticed the wiring when we took the motor and light off. It doesn't look so great, so I may order a new light and motor to use and preserve the original light and motor for historical purposes. (Unless I could talk hubby or youngest son into rewiring it.)

    I would like to download a service manual for it but I'm unsure which one would be best. I've looked at the manuals for the 15-90 and the 15-91 but neither are exact matches. Would you have a recommendation as to which manual would work best?

    Is it unusual that this machine has no reverse? I'm wondering if that is what's "special" about it. It's no biggie to me, but I do wonder why someone would prefer a machine with no reverse.

    Thanks again for the help. I truly appreciate it.

    Jodie

  18. #18
    Muv
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    Hello Jodie,

    What a lovely machine! I particularly love the Indian Star decal and have a really pretty 1934 128K with the star - it's at post no 160 on the photos thread.

    It is not at all unusual for a machine of that age not to have reverse - in fact, the opposite would apply. Singer never put reverse on their long bobbin machines (whereas some German manufacturers did). My newest machine (ie the one most recently manufactured) is a 15K hand machine from 1949 and hasn't got reverse - neither has my 1945 15K treadle. The only Singer I have with reverse is a 1934 201K treadle, but the 201 was the deluxe model.

    I am intrigued by the fact that the machine has the Indian star and was manufactured in the USA. The machines for the Indian market were generally manufactured in Scotland and exported to India by ship. If I read your serial number correctly it starts with AG0... giving a manufacture date of 1941. Singer would have had difficulty in shipping machines from Scotland to India during the war and I imagine they had to suspend exports - however they continued to manufacture machines in Scotland throughout the war. My wild guess is that this machine was manufactured for export from the USA to India via the Pacific but didn't get there because of problems there, not least Pearl Harbor.

    It would be interesting to find out the real story rather than having to guess.

    Many of the downloads on Singer's site are free, so you may as well download whichever ones you think apply to your machine http://www.singerco.com/accessories/instruction-manuals just put 15 in the box.

  19. #19
    Muv
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    Hello again Jodie,

    I have noticed that you say yours isn't an Indian star because it hasn't got the red on it.

    The star was put on the bed of the machine and combined with a decal that was used for that model. My 128K has the Vencedora with the star. The sphinx decal was commonly used on the 15. If you look at the photo of the star on my machine on the photos thread you will see that yours is the same, with the different Indian scripts in each point of the star.

    If you look at post 109 on the photos thread you will see another sphinx with the star manufactured in USA.

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    Hi Jodie, there's no way the original customer would order the machine without reverse; it is just that that particular variant of the model 15 did not have reverse, unlike the 15-91.

    After watching this video...

    http://youtu.be/MrjFNWsajfQ

    ...it seems clear that the "special order" feature of your machine was in fact the decal combination. As Muv has pointed out, the Indian Star decal on the bed was not intended for the domestic market--your machine was definitely manufactured in Singer's Elizabethport, New Jersey factory, as indicated by the "A-" serial number--so the customer must have specially requested it. After seeing the video linked above, it seems at least one other customer of the era also requested it (unless the guy who made the video is the one who sold you the machine!).

    As for which service manual to download, we'll need a little more information to nail down the sub-model. Does the machine have a rotary hook, or an oscillating?
    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

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    Let me clarify what I meant when I said it was "definitely not an Indian star" - I was looking at the whole machine example on the ISMACS site - http://www.ismacs.net/singer_sewing_...c_indian2.html
    My machine isn't exactly like that machine, so I thought someone was saying my machine was exactly like that machine, not just the star.

    I saw those videos on youtube when I started my search, but didn't buy my machine from him.

    I would love to know more about this machine, that's why I posted here. It's a bit like genealogy - I would love to know it's real story, but is there a way to learn more about this specific machine?

    I have more photos if anyone is interested.

    If the original owner ordered the machine specifically with the star decal, (and I'm not saying they didn't) I have to wonder how they even knew it was an option. Information was sparse in those days, as opposed to today's internet world, and how would the buyer even know about options - but then maybe they saw a full Singer catalog or whatever.

    I thought maybe the lack of reverse was unusual because my Featherweight has reverse and it's a 1936 model.

    I'm enjoying all the thoughts and insights. That's why I posted here, to learn more.

    Thanks!
    Jodie

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    Forgot to add - it has the oscillating bobbin.

  23. #23
    Muv
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    Rain,

    Are you saying that some central bobbin machines had a rotary mechanism? I've inspected both of my 15Ks and the hook definitely oscillates.

    Theory number 2 about why American machines had the Indian Star... because Singer in Scotland were unable to export to India, they shipped the decal sets to the USA where they were put on machines for the American market and sold as a special order. In other words, the decal was intended for the Indian market, but the machine it ended up on never was.

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    Muv, there are early central-bobbin model 15s (and 115s) that had a rotary hook. You'll only find this on the 15s that lack reverse, and typically with the spoked handwheels. There was actually a post in this forum somewhere about that very topic, but I cannot remember the subject line. I want to say it was started by a fellow named Joe.

    In response to Jodie writing "If the original owner ordered the machine specifically with the star decal, (and I'm not saying they didn't) I have to wonder how they even knew it was an option. Information was sparse in those days, as opposed to today's internet world, and how would the buyer even know about options - but then maybe they saw a full Singer catalog or whatever."

    The fact that the "SV" options even existed means there must have been some mechanism for buyers to choose "Special Variants" in the first place; I assume there was some type of catalog available at Singer stores of the era. In the early and middle parts of the 20th Century, Singer had stores worldwide that were akin to the Apple Stores of today--customers could go in, try and/or buy machines, and take sewing classes.

    Also, whether a machine had reverse or not depended on both the model as well as the year. As you've pointed out, the Featherweights all had reverse from the time they debuted in the 1930s; so did the 201-2s, which came out around the same time. However, the 66s and 99s of that era lacked reverse until some time in the 1940s.

    There is one other possibility for how your particular machine came about, though I admit it's a longshot. I recently started reading an excellent book called "Freedom's Forge," which is about the American industrialists tasked with revitalizing American industry for the war effort. Under their programs, a lot of American industry was diverted away from the commercial sector and instead turned towards wartime production. While it's not explicitly mentioned in this book, I'd learned elsewhere that during this era Singer produced bomb sights for bomber planes and even firearms. While we Americans didn't offically get into the war until December of 1941, I was surprised to learn in "Freedom's Forge" that industrial preparations for both "Lend-Lease" (us manufacturing materiel for the Brits) and our own military began as early as 1939. Thus, to make a long story short, it's possible that Singer's domestic sewing machine production was curtailed around the time your machine was ordered--meaning it's possible that your machine is actually a refurbished version of an earlier model 15, sent out with the unusual decals somehow diverted from Kilbowie (which presumably had bigger fish to fry in 1941).

    I must say: It drives me nuts that we'll probably never learn the full story behind your machine.
    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

  25. #25
    Muv
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    Rain,

    Am I right in thinking that the rotary hook central bobbins still had the needle set the usual way, threading from left to right, as opposed to the 201s that thread right to left?

    These sewing machine history puzzles drive me nuts too. Where is the ultimate sewing machine historian, and why hasn't he written the definitive history on sewing machines and arms yet? He would sell at least two copies.

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