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1954 Kenmore Electric Rotary (120.491) - Bobbin

1954 Kenmore Electric Rotary (120.491) - Bobbin

Old 01-31-2024, 07:04 AM
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Default 1954 Kenmore Electric Rotary (120.491) - Bobbin

Recently acquired a 1954 Kenmore Electric Rotary (120.491) for a person that used it for decades and took very good care of it. The machine runs flawlessly and I took the advise of several knowledgeable vintage sewing machine experts to clean, oil and lubricate it before doing anything else.

I've been to several sewing group forums include this one and have researched this machine for several weeks now. I very much appreciate all the threads/post about this particular machine because I learned so much about it and found resources to find needles for this machine.

Finding bobbins for this machine has proven more challenging and so far I have found nothing about the bobbin for this machine. Being such a unique and different bobbin and for a machine that was only in production for 1 year I have be unable to find anyone that seems to have one or knows of any bobbin that can be used as an alternative. I've searched and search on Etsy, eBay and several vintage sewing machine vendors/suppliers.

I joined this forum to see if there is anyone that may be able to guide me to someone or possible resources that might have one I can purchase.

I appreciate your time and expertise... thank you

- Les
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Old 01-31-2024, 08:32 AM
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Welcome to the QuiltingBoard! This machine uses the New Home rotary system and takes New Home (or Free Westinghouse) rotary bobbins. And yes they are hard to find. Slightly less hard to find are the needles: CC1221 or Boye 2 1/2 or Kenmore 49.

A quick search on ebay shows nothing. You can try etsy also. I do not like to refer people away from this forum, but over on victoriansweatshop.com there's a classified section and a "wanted" subsection where you could post a request.
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Old 01-31-2024, 08:48 AM
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Default Thanks Joe

Thanks Joe... appreciate the quick reply and for the information. I actually read several of you posts and you have been a Godsend as a resource for information. Your expertise and knowledge provided the information I needed to locate and purchase needles for this machine as well as the other 1971 Kenmore machine I have. I can't thank you enough for all that you do to get information out about these older vintage machines.

- Les
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Old 01-31-2024, 09:09 AM
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Welcome to QB, Les. From my understanding, your bobbin may be part #A1225. I think it may have the same dimensions of a Featherweight bobbin. According to https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/pr...-bobbins-45785 an alternate part number is A1225. While they are out of stock, given the part number you should be able to find them elsewhere. Perhaps if you know someone with a Singer 221 (also known as a Featherweight) or 301 (which takes the same bobbins) they would let you try in your machine. Do you have one to compare?
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Old 01-31-2024, 09:26 AM
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Thanks Janey, and thank you for your quick reply. Glad to be here... it appears to be paying off. Received two message already this morning. I do have a bobbin for this machine - just the one which is why I'm looking to get at least one more. I'll definitely check out the #A1225 and see. Thanks so much!

- Les
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Old 02-01-2024, 06:43 AM
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Here are two New Home bobbin cases. The solid bobbin is a New Home, the other a 301. As you can see the 301 fits nicely in terms of diameter. In the second photo you can see that the 301 is just slightly thinner than the New Home, it sits in the bobbin case with a little room.. The inner holes are almost identical.

If you give me a day or two I can test with the 301 bobbin in the New Home machine and report back.
Attached Thumbnails 20240201_083512.jpg   20240201_083527.jpg  
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Old 02-01-2024, 08:04 AM
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I decided I couldn't wait to test this. I have two of these New Home machines and maybe 6 bobbins between them.

The pictures aren't so great, but here's the result, stitched just fine, had to tweak the upper tension of course (purple thread is upper, green is bobbin). The machine I tested on is not very fast, so high speeds could make a difference. One potential hang up is winding a bobbin. This test machine has an "open" bobbin winder, the 301 bobbin fit tightly enough to not spin on the bobbin winder spindle; the small hole to lock the bobbin did not reach the small pin on the bobbin winder. My concern for a machine with an auto stop feature on winding a bobbin is that you might not be able to get the 301 bobbin mounted correctly for the auto stop "tongue" to fit into the bobbin.

This is actually great news, now Janey if you can only tell me how 15x1 needles will fit this all will be well in my small sewing machine world.
Attached Thumbnails 20240201_095507.jpg   20240201_095515.jpg   20240201_095453.jpg  
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Old 02-01-2024, 08:24 AM
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Joe, thanks again for all your efforts. The 301 definitely looks promising and is at least a bobbin that is readily available. Janey had messaged me about Singer part # A1225 for a featherweight where a 221 or 301 bobbin are alternatives that work. Your test is a good test that appears to be very close to my 1954 Kenmore. I think it's worth a few dollars on a 301 bobbin to try out on my machine. I'll see about getting one and let you know how it works out. - Les

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Old 02-01-2024, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeJr View Post
...This is actually great news, now Janey if you can only tell me how 15x1 needles will fit this all will be well in my small sewing machine world.
LOL - I think you know the answer. If you get a 15x1 to fit, you won't be able to use them on anything else. I have found that when I do a search on a forum, that one needs to make sure it is only to search for posts as if you just use the default search, it will show threads that have multiple pages - let the computer search so you don't have to sort through the threads. I did find this page that has pictures and tells how to get a 15x1 work. https://myperfectstitch.blogspot.com...r-classic.html There is also talk about how to adjust needle bar, but from what I have been able to glean from what I read, there are some machines that it is not possible.

As far as winding bobbins, one could probably use a Sidewinder. I got one at a thrift store and was able to wind a bobbin for my Junker & Ruh which has a narrow bobbin like the Wheeler & Wilson.

Last edited by OurWorkbench; 02-01-2024 at 09:41 AM.
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