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Thread: Can someone tell me what this machine is?

  1. #1
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    Can someone tell me what this machine is?

    My husband is helping out with an estate sale that is coming up soon and he says this machine looks really good and thought it was a featherweight. He sent me pictures so I knew it wasn't a Featherweight but don't know what it is. Didn't think to ask him to find the numbers on the bottom of the machine. Here are the pictures he sent to me. I know you all will know what machine this is. Cabinet is in great condition too so what would a fair price range be for the machine and cabinet? Thanks for your help! Carol
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  2. #2
    Senior Member greywuuf's Avatar
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    201 I think, but having never owned one I could be mistaken.
    " one should endeavor to keep ones straight pins from the floor whilst treadling barefoot" .... me 2015

  3. #3
    Super Member manicmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greywuuf View Post
    201 I think, but having never owned one I could be mistaken.
    No you're right, it's a 201-2
    Singers: model 12 MOP (1885) Improved Family 29k58 (1939) 44K11 (1921) 201K2, 201K23 206k11 (1950) 222k (1959) 320k2(1959), 15K90, Bernina 530, Pfaff:360 (1959) http://tailororfailure.blogspot.com

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    Oh, thanks so much for the info. Now I'll look it up and see what I can learn about it. Is it considered a good, collectible machine? I'm thinking of getting it for one of my daughters. Carol

  5. #5
    Senior Member greywuuf's Avatar
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    It is considered to be the "premeire" user of the older iron lady (black cast iron) machines. One of the more expensive to acquire originally, not as old or as rare (from a collection standpoint) but a very smooth well built straight stitch machine. If I could find one without the "potted" motor I will have one someday....but I will use mine in a treadle. The one in the picture I would consider "very desirable". I would personally think a complete machine/cabinet in that condition would command a premium price....but I am in Alaska so have little to choose from.
    " one should endeavor to keep ones straight pins from the floor whilst treadling barefoot" .... me 2015

  6. #6
    Super Member Mrs. SewNSew's Avatar
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    201 and yes collectible. It's a strong straight stitcher. One of the good'ns.
    Christy
    Starting the year out fresh

  7. #7
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    201! I've been keeping my eyes open for the "right" one for myself. That one looks to be in good shape - nice cabinet too. I'd totally be into that machine!

    It has a reputation for having REALLY good stitches.

  8. #8
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    They are great machines, but "collectable?" well, if you want a lot of Singers, then you should have this one. However they aren't what I would consider an investment like some collectables would be. If you really want "collectable" machines that have long term value as a collectable, you need to go after the early types - mostly pre-high arm machines.

    About 95% of the value of a Singer 201-2 is in it's usability. Now, if you stumble upon a 201 Hand crank- that one does have more value as a collectable machine than as a user.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  9. #9
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macybaby View Post
    About 95% of the value of a Singer 201-2 is in it's usability. Now, if you stumble upon a 201 Hand crank- that one does have more value as a collectable machine than as a user.
    I agree. The 201s in general are incredible machines. I was rebuilding the potted motor on the couch while we watched TV (I don't know how that happened, or why,... I'm usually really good about corralling the greasy bits in the "shop") and had just finished. I put the motor back on the machine and proceeded to test sew (and check for smoke! LOL!) when DH's head whipped around and stared at the machine. He said he had no idea the machine was running til he caught the take up lever moving in his peripheral vision. No, the TV wasn't that loud.

    I didn't realize the 201HC was that collectible! Now I know why you were so interested when I found that one at Christmas. I suppose I should get on the "project build a new bentwood" for it then.

  10. #10
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    That is a very nice looking machine. The 201-2 was my first Singer, and still my favorite. You should absolutely get it, but if you sew with it you may not want to give it to your daughter.

    Cari

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    I was 5 when my grandmother bought her 201-3, which I still have 60+years later. Grand old machine and while I have had chances to sell it, I have hung on to it. Now I need room to set up my machines.

  12. #12
    Super Member Mornigstar's Avatar
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    Oh how I want a 201 . Gave up buying one from Steve in California because hubby thought the shipping would be too expensive. He knows I still want one but thought there must be one looking for me in central Ontario but I never find them in this area. May have to bring one back from Florida some winter. I keep saying it is the only one I want to complete my collection even though I never intended to be a collector. I am a user- of machines at least.
    gotta go sew.

  13. #13
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    201s seem to be relatively common here, usually in the belted motor variety. I personally have owned 5 of them, one potted, one HC and the rest belted. I'm down to the 2 I'm keeping. One belted and one HC.

    We're not quite Ontario,... and we're definitely not California.

    That said, it's possible that shipping from the US might be as cheap as coming from other areas of Canada if you can get someone to pack one right for you and you know Steve would.

  14. #14
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I agree. I would get it. Such a nice looking cabinet. They don't make those anymore.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  15. #15
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    201's are available in Ontario. They show up every little while on Kijiji (Canadian version of Craig's List). I got mine free as the daughters were trying to clean out their mother's sewing room and my quilting buddy paid $50 for hers just lately (listed on Barrie). The Canadian version is usually the 201-3 which has the belted motor. A clue to identifying them quickly is the American version usually has a white light switch (not sure why they did this on a black machine). 201's are fast and powerful. I use mine to mend DH's heavy coveralls.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  16. #16
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    Interesting, my grandmothers 201-3 (Helen) was bought in Sherbrooke, Que in 51. Didn't know the Canadian one was mostly the 3 and American the 2. Mine was used for years by Grandmother and then my mother, did a lot of sewing including professional quality lined pleated drapes. Upholstery etc. along with many clothes.

  17. #17
    Super Member manicmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol34446 View Post
    Didn't know the Canadian one was mostly the 3 and American the 2.
    The 3s are 201K3 made in Scotland. It's probably because of the British connection to Canada and I imagine you find the later (much lighter) 201Ks in Canada too. The one I use the most has a converted (re-wound for 240V) Canadian motor and is a 201K23. I assumed someone brought it with them to Australia and had the motor re-wound (not knowing there are a million of them here!) but I've never even seen a 201-2 or a potted motor Singer 15.
    I'd think that Canada mostly got Scottish machines, as we did. I believe 222Ks are also more common there.
    Someone in Canada: Are most of your pre-1960s machines from Scotland?

    EDIT: Just noticed ISMACS mentions a 201-3. Maybe they were made in the U.S. too, but I haven't heard of many.
    Singers: model 12 MOP (1885) Improved Family 29k58 (1939) 44K11 (1921) 201K2, 201K23 206k11 (1950) 222k (1959) 320k2(1959), 15K90, Bernina 530, Pfaff:360 (1959) http://tailororfailure.blogspot.com

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolsews2 View Post
    My husband is helping out with an estate sale that is coming up soon and he says this machine looks really good and thought it was a featherweight. He sent me pictures so I knew it wasn't a Featherweight but don't know what it is. Didn't think to ask him to find the numbers on the bottom of the machine. Here are the pictures he sent to me. I know you all will know what machine this is. Cabinet is in great condition too so what would a fair price range be for the machine and cabinet? Thanks for your help! Carol
    It is a 201. You can tell the difference between a model 201 and a model 15 by the light switch, the 201 has the switch below the balance wheel and it is painted white and the switch on the 15 is on the light other than that there is not much difference. The 201 is a a quieter machine which makes it a little better.

  19. #19
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    There is a WAY more obvious way to tell the difference between a 201 and a 15 than the light switch.

    It's where the tension is. They are significantly different machines.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  20. #20
    Senior Member greywuuf's Avatar
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    Is the 201 a Ball Bearing machine ?
    " one should endeavor to keep ones straight pins from the floor whilst treadling barefoot" .... me 2015

  21. #21
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manicmike View Post
    The 3s are 201K3 made in Scotland. It's probably because of the British connection to Canada and I imagine you find the later (much lighter) 201Ks in Canada too. The one I use the most has a converted (re-wound for 240V) Canadian motor and is a 201K23. I assumed someone brought it with them to Australia and had the motor re-wound (not knowing there are a million of them here!) but I've never even seen a 201-2 or a potted motor Singer 15.
    I'd think that Canada mostly got Scottish machines, as we did. I believe 222Ks are also more common there.
    Someone in Canada: Are most of your pre-1960s machines from Scotland?

    EDIT: Just noticed ISMACS mentions a 201-3. Maybe they were made in the U.S. too, but I haven't heard of many.
    Most of the machines we're talking about here that I've seen in Alberta are made in Scotland, yes. I have a 15-90 that's Canadian built and I'm sure others but I'm too lazy to get my database opened up to see how many. The thing about a lot of the machines that came from "Abroad" is that at that point - a machine wasn't complete without a motor - so they were shipped across the sea as "incomplete" machines - allowing them to get around some of the tariffs and then motors were put on them at the St Jean sur Richelieu plant in Quebec - which is likely part of the reason so many machines are assumed to be Canadian when they aren't - because their motors say Made In Canada.

    I've yet to see (or maybe recognise?) one of the Aluminum 201s here. I'd love to get my mitts on one. I find 222s relatively often but the prices on them are more all over the board than anything else I've seen. I recently missed a 222 for $50. Yes, five zero. That one still burns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macybaby View Post
    There is a WAY more obvious way to tell the difference between a 201 and a 15 than the light switch.

    It's where the tension is. They are significantly different machines.
    There's also the fact that the 15 is a vertical hook and the 201 is horizontal. Also, only the 201-2 has the switch on the front, as well as the light on the front. The 201-3 has the light on the back and the switch in the usual place, just like the 15.

    Quote Originally Posted by greywuuf View Post
    Is the 201 a Ball Bearing machine ?
    The 201 uses 2 sets of helical gears, the 15 uses rocker shafts for its oscillating motion.

  22. #22
    Senior Member greywuuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane View Post
    The 201 uses 2 sets of helical gears, the 15 uses rocker shafts for its oscillating motion.
    Thank you, I knew I had read there was something "Special" and desirable about them from an everyday working standpoint. I think I also read they were the higher priced machines that Singer sold at the time.
    " one should endeavor to keep ones straight pins from the floor whilst treadling barefoot" .... me 2015

  23. #23
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    You're welcome! Back in the day, these were the "cadillac" of the Singer line up. They were the top of the line and showed it. They're possibly as close as you can get to silent, very strong and then add that perfect straight stitch you get from a "fixed" needlebar that straight stitches only. They were also the most expensive machine by a lot.

    This is a good reference site. There are some notable errors and some really noticeable grammar problems but the history is good: http://www.sewalot.com/singer_201k_sewalot.htm

  24. #24
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    The 201k-4(original hand crank), was my first people powered machine. Yours a 201-2.
    Sharon in Texas

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