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Thread: Found a Singer 201

  1. #1
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Found a Singer 201

    A Singer 201 was one of the last vintage sewing machines on my want list. Take a look at Ophelia. Ophelia is a very common name in my maternal ancestry.

    I saw her on Craigslist and she was a good price, $80 and in a cabinet. Met up with the seller this morning in a vacant store parking lot. Of course I had DD, AKA chief enabler with me. I did not think twice about the 80 bucks after taking a good look at her. She is so clean top and bottom and came with a Singer button holer.

    My recent sewing machine purchases seem to have a good story. The seller is an OJCSG. What is an OJCSG? Well that is an Old Junk Collector Seller Guy. He arrived in a vintage chevy van that was stuffed to the gills with junk treasures, tools and reeked of cigar smoke. He opened the back of the van and there was Ophelia. He had told me that the top of the cabinet has some veneer damage so I had a mental image of peeling and lifting veneer. Nope, actually all there is just some surface damage the finish that is easily fixed. I turned the hand wheel and everything worked smoothly. He then said "do you want to hear it run." I said "How?" and he said he had a generator in the van and he would start it up and plug the sewing machine in so I could test it. Incredible. Never in a thousand years would I have thought that the OJCSG would have a working generator in his van. I was willing to buy the machine without even testing the electrical function.

    Serial number AL341041, allotment date 11 August 1952

    Oh, I bought another sewing machine today also, A Morse that I will be posting on another new thread. JOE, you are going to drool over the Morse.

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    Sweet Caroline

  2. #2
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    NICE!!! Love the story!

    I found a cabinet and stool for my 201 today! $20 on my local Craig's list... have been watching for a cabinet for her, as I hated the one I painted....get to go pick it up tonight!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee View Post
    NICE!!! Love the story!

    I found a cabinet and stool for my 201 today! $20 on my local Craig's list... have been watching for a cabinet for her, as I hated the one I painted....get to go pick it up tonight!
    Awesome Charlee. Don't you just those good deals when you find what you want at a good price? Guess what? OJCSG just called DD and say he just found another 201. Might be a 201 for DD. Now this is really bad (GOOD?)
    Sweet Caroline

  4. #4
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    These 201s just totally rock! I love mine...so yep! I think EVERYONE should have one!!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Caroline,

    That's a nice machine, though not a 201. More like a 15-91. 201's have the tensioner in the front like a 66 and the round disk around the stitch length lever.
    Just checked my chart and sure enough it says Mdl 15, Allotted No. 50,000, Allotted date April-8-53.

    Nice machine though.

    Joe

  6. #6
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Yes, Joe. You are correct. I just rechecked the serial number on ISMACS. Darn. I must have read the serial number incorrectly. Darn. Ophelia is a keeper anyway. The Singer sewing machine I will be looking at tomorrow has a serial number of AL341041. Double check for me to make sure that one is a 201. She is according to ISMACS. Gotta get some new glasses and take a picture of 201 with me when I do the inspection.

    Wait till you see the Morse.
    Last edited by Caroline S; 03-30-2012 at 05:19 PM.
    Sweet Caroline

  7. #7
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    Caroline, you will LOVE that 15-91! I was given one for FREE (no cabinet though) and she sews wonderfully!!

  8. #8
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Thanks Nanamoms. Joe burst my bubble a little bit, just a little though. Part of the learning process. LOL
    Sweet Caroline

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline S View Post
    Yes, Joe. You are correct. I just rechecked the serial number on ISMACS. Darn. I must have read the serial number incorrectly. Darn. Ophelia is a keeper anyway. The Singer sewing machine I will be looking at tomorrow has a serial number of AL341041. Double check for me to make sure that one is a 201. She is according to ISMACS. Gotta get some new glasses and take a picture of 201 with me when I do the inspection.

    Wait till you see the Morse.
    Carloine,

    The number you gave me above is the same number for the 15 in the pic above.

    Sorry about bursting your bubble, I was really hoping to get a look see at another 201. I'm getting kind of fond of mine. But ...... I don't have a 15 and you do.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    I didn't even notice the tension!! Nor did I notice that it was missing the white switch... That's what I get for logging on and trying to post from work when we have customers!

    15-91..also a VERY good machine!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  11. #11
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Carloine,

    The number you gave me above is the same number for the 15 in the pic above.

    Sorry about bursting your bubble, I was really hoping to get a look see at another 201. I'm getting kind of fond of mine. But ...... I don't have a 15 and you do.

    Joe
    I told you I needed new glasses. The serial number is AH491196.
    Sweet Caroline

  12. #12
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    I have the same machine! It is indeed a 15-91. I used it to stitch very thick leather pieces together to reupholster a table for my chiropractor last week. 2 pieces of leather together was 1/4" thick!!! I just love this machine. I call it the "tank". And now it's back to sewing quilt fabric. What a versatile machine! I got mine Free on craigslist. It has a beautiful table.
    Bernina 640, Singer 201-3, Singer Centennial 15-91, Tin Lizzie 26" long arm

  13. #13
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christine- View Post
    I have the same machine! It is indeed a 15-91. I used it to stitch very thick leather pieces together to reupholster a table for my chiropractor last week. 2 pieces of leather together was 1/4" thick!!! I just love this machine. I call it the "tank". And now it's back to sewing quilt fabric. What a versatile machine! I got mine Free on craigslist. It has a beautiful table.
    Thanks Christine. I now feel much better now. I think I will finish the cushion reupholstery project that for DH's boat and I will use the 15-91.
    Sweet Caroline

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanamoms View Post
    Caroline, you will LOVE that 15-91! I was given one for FREE (no cabinet though) and she sews wonderfully!!

    I have both a 201 and a 15-91. in fact I have 2 of the 201's and 3 of th 15-91's and I love these machines. The 15-91 is extremely great for FMQ. Keep searching for the 201. You won't be disappointed.

  15. #15
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Beautiful machine!

  16. #16
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline S View Post
    I told you I needed new glasses. The serial number is AH491196.
    My chart says:
    Class: 201, Quantity Allotted: 15,000, Date Allotted: Feb 27-1948

    That aughta do it for your 201 desires.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe. I go look Monday, OJCSG says the 201 is nicer than the 15-91. The best part (worst???) is that I opened my mouth when I was buying the 15-91 and mentioned to the OJCSG that I collected old sewing machines. Now he birddogging for me. He is the one who found the 201. That is all I need another enabler besides DD!!
    Sweet Caroline

  18. #18
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Joe asked me about the "indian blanket" behind the pics of my sewing machine. It is not an indian blanket but a Seminole Pieced lap quilt I made for my granddaughter some 20 years ago. I need to make another one as this quilt is my favorite quilt. Machined pieced of course but hand quilted. Just for Joe.

    Oops looks as if I have not resized the pics but you get the idea. I still have some of the fabrics in my stash. LOL
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    Last edited by Caroline S; 03-31-2012 at 07:49 AM.
    Sweet Caroline

  19. #19
    Super Member kydeb's Avatar
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    Congratulations to Charlee and Caroline S!!
    Debbie in Kentucky
    kydeb.wordpress.com

  20. #20
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    That's a beautiful quilt.

    Joe

  21. #21
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline S View Post
    Thanks Joe. I go look Monday, OJCSG says the 201 is nicer than the 15-91. The best part (worst???) is that I opened my mouth when I was buying the 15-91 and mentioned to the OJCSG that I collected old sewing machines. Now he birddogging for me. He is the one who found the 201. That is all I need another enabler besides DD!!
    I've never used a real Mdl 15 let alone a 15-91. I do have several machines that are similar and are wonderful machines. But what impressed me the most about the 201-2 is it's so quiet.
    I have other quiet machines, but not like this. I'm at a loss for words to describe it.

    Joe

  22. #22
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    Caroline, you found a true treasure! I restored the top of my table. If you want to clean it up, here's what you do... This is only a 2 day process. Clean the wood top with murphy's oil soap. From your picture, it looks pretty grimy on the table in front of the machine.

    After the grime is cleaned off, take the top off the table, remove all the hardware. Place the wood pieces on layers of newspaper. This next step is to restore your table, this will not refinish your table.(Restoring keeps the value, refinishing ruins the value) If you have any dark rings (from glasses, etc) use 00 or 000 or 0000 steel wool to buff the dark spots away. Don't use sand paper!

    You'll need denatured alcohol and rags. The finish on your table is made from shellac, which is made with denatured alcohol. Pour the denatured alcohol on the rag and wipe with the grain, quickly from edge to edge. What you're doing is dissolving the shellac. As you spread it from side to side you're filling the scratches with the same shellac. Your goal is not to remove all the shellac, just move it around and let it dry again. After you see the scratches are gone, take a rag soaked with alcohol once again and go over the entire top to smooth it all out.

    Once it's dry, use a paste wax for furniture. I used Briwax in the antique mahogany color. It's a fine furniture grade wax.
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    I didn't do the sides, only the top and it looks identical in color to the rest of the table. The wax gives it a matte finish that won't scratch when my quilt pins slide across it. I wish I had taken 'before' photos! I'm kicking myself for not doing this. It was in pretty bad shape. The shellac was flaking off on nearly half the top, and there were rings from water glasses. It was filthy with thick black gunk in front of the machine, just like yours shows. (What's the matter with these people??? Don't they know how to clean? Yuck! LOL)
    Last edited by Christine-; 03-31-2012 at 11:22 AM.
    Bernina 640, Singer 201-3, Singer Centennial 15-91, Tin Lizzie 26" long arm

  23. #23
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Christine,

    Thanks for the instructions to restore the cabinet. I printed it for reference as I have several that need attention.

    Joe

  24. #24
    Super Member BarbaraSue's Avatar
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    shie is a very pretty 15-91. And you will love her for FMQ, her harp space is nice, and her feed dogs go down!
    To make lots of quilts, is to have lots of scraps, and I do, and I do.
    BarbaraSue

  25. #25
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Just like Joe, I printed your instructions for future reference. Unfortunately a lot of these machines have no value to some people. I think most have been shoved into a garage or storage area and for the most part forgotten unless they need a flat surface to pile something on.
    Sweet Caroline

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