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Thread: GE Model A "Pre-Featherweight"

  1. #26
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    ok, folks as promised, here are the pics of the dismantle of the "Wee Greenie"

    Fun scale reference
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    Interesting swing down bobbin holder
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    here are two shots of the bobbin case and bobbin
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    and the empty race
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    One of the interesting things about the transitional machines is where they were able to pick and choose different companies features and make an entirely new machine. Foot mounting looks familiar
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    This one shows the color more accurately
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    here is a closeup of the stitch length adjuster, It would seem to be in the way but in the tests we did it does not seem to be.
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    I am hoping to find a more appropriate belt this Saturday at sewing machine store.
    (he's gonna freak out when he sees this)
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    Last edited by SteveH; 01-25-2013 at 08:36 AM.

  2. #27
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    WOW!!! Thanks for showing us what was before the featherweight. Now I want one of those too!!! What a great find!

  3. #28
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    so here is the actual teardown.

    I think this was a mostly display piece, the outside is so much cleaner that the inside, but no real wear
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    and HERE it begins.... this is the wooden base removed
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    This grease was so old and hard I needed to use a dental pick, oil and a wire brush to get it clean.
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    After reassembly, this was the first stitch (from the GOOD side....)
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    ok, rather than posting a 4 shot "reveal", here is the underside with the stitch attempts from right to left..
    the original wild thing, then with a little bit of tension, then with the tension pretty snug.
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    "modeling shot" (note: check out the "test wiring" The twisted ends are just pressed into the receptacle. DO NOT DO THIS at home kids... )
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    Here is the shot showing the new end on my foot pedal. (it is actually a early outlet plug)
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    here was the first attempt, but later i just removed the splice and wired directly into the foot pedal
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    And For Nancy...here is my favorite part of the case kit... never even unpacked.
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    Some previous NERF repainted the case (and hinges, and latches....grrrr)
    Last edited by SteveH; 01-25-2013 at 08:56 AM.

  4. #29
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    ok, for those with hearts of steel, here is a video of it on the first test before the cleaning.
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/18576541/GE%20-%20ROUGH.mp4

    and here is a video of it running a stitch after cleaning
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/18576541/GE%20-%20Cleaned.mp4

  5. #30
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    Wow! Love it....and am alittle jealous too but happy for you!

  6. #31
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    All it takes is spending too much time cruising Craigslist, searchtempest, ebay, and other sites like that...

  7. #32
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    I want one also!

  8. #33
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    like looking up on craigslist "salesmans sample"
    http://topeka.craigslist.org/atq/3485429957.html

  9. #34
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    Love it, and the color-I want one, so cute and the color is my favorite.

  10. #35
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol34446 View Post
    Love it, and the color-I want one, so cute and the color is my favorite.

    If you were referring to the GE machine, it only came in that color. Prior to that when it was called a "Standard Sewhandy" (NOT to be confused with the toy that Singer later applied this name to) the Sewhandy was available in tan,black,green,and blue, if i remember correctly.

    It was an amazing deal that was struck by GE, "Make 5,000 in one color, in one style, and while you are doing that you cannot make ANY with other brandnames or colors. WOW... GE plays hardball..

  11. #36
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    I want one!!!!!!!!!!!
    Aronel aka Lee

  12. #37
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Steve, I looked up your G.E. Sewhandy Model A in Nancy Johnson-Srebro's Expanded Third Edition, Featherweight 221 the Perfect Portable. She is considered the most knowledgeable person on the FW and its history. On page 15 of her book she says, "I believe the Sewhandy was the immediate predecessor of the FW, or at least it strongly influenced its design. There are too many similarities between the two machines. This conjecture on my part has been supported by many correspondents, but disputed by others."

    She also goes on to say that some people think Singer's Class 24-80 Portable Electric Chain Stitch machine inspired the FW. Nancy does not believe that to be true, as there are too many differences in the FW and the 24-80, but the 24-80 did have a similar carrying case to the FW. She makes no mention that G.E.s Model A had a similar carrying case? I am wondering if that case is not from a FW? It seems funny to me that Nancy Johnson-Srebro would make a note that Singer's 24-80's only similarity to the FW was its carrying case, but she does not mention the Model A having a similar carrying case? Just curious!

    Nancy

  13. #38
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Actually, I went back and looked again at your carrying case and see it is stamped GE! I am wondering if you discovered something that Nancy Johnson-Srebro did not know? Or maybe, it was such a given that she does not mention the GE Model A's carrying case at all? Singer had one for the 24-80, GE had one for the Model A, then Singer did the same case for the FW? But, I don't understand why Nancy does not show the GE Model A with the black carrying case in her book? It is interesting to me that she mentions Singer's 24-80 carrying case but not GE's Model A.

    Nancy

  14. #39
    Senior Member grant15clone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoJangles View Post
    Steve, I looked up your G.E. Sewhandy Model A in Nancy Johnson-Srebro's Expanded Third Edition, Featherweight 221 the Perfect Portable. She is considered the most knowledgeable person on the FW and its history. On page 15 of her book she says, "I believe the Sewhandy was the immediate predecessor of the FW, or at least it strongly influenced its design. There are too many similarities between the two machines. This conjecture on my part has been supported by many correspondents, but disputed by others."

    She also goes on to say that some people think Singer's Class 24-80 Portable Electric Chain Stitch machine inspired the FW. Nancy does not believe that to be true, as there are too many differences in the FW and the 24-80, but the 24-80 did have a similar carrying case to the FW. She makes no mention that G.E.s Model A had a similar carrying case? I am wondering if that case is not from a FW? It seems funny to me that Nancy Johnson-Srebro would make a note that Singer's 24-80's only similarity to the FW was its carrying case, but she does not mention the Model A having a similar carrying case? Just curious!

    Nancy
    Nancy you make a good point. Looking at the case I saw the hole for the spool of thread cut into the bottom of the lift out drawer. It lines up perfectly. This would lead me to believe that the hole was made by the owner modifying a case to fit, or it is the original case. The original color of the case is Green, is it not, and painted black? If it was green to begin with, it would make me think that it is all original to the machine. I have not seen a green FW case. Either way though. I still want one.
    ~G~

  15. #40
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant15clone View Post
    Nancy you make a good point. Looking at the case I saw the hole for the spool of thread cut into the bottom of the lift out drawer. It lines up perfectly. This would lead me to believe that the hole was made by the owner modifying a case to fit, or it is the original case. The original color of the case is Green, is it not, and painted black? If it was green to begin with, it would make me think that it is all original to the machine. I have not seen a green FW case. Either way though. I still want one.
    ~G~
    Well, the carrying case for the 221K7 was green with ivory trim. It is just curious to me that Nancy Johnson-Srebro is trying to convince us that GE's Model A is the predecessor to the FW. She has a picture of the Model A on page 15 of her book, but does not show the case. Granted, she probably didn't have the case, but if there were a photo of the Model A along with the case - like you have the whole set up - it would be very compelling evidence to me to make her point. In her book, she does mention the scarcity of finding a Model A, and that the Model A "does not command the prestige factor nor the monetary value of a FW." I am still wondering if Nancy knew that the Model A also had a similar carrying case? It would make sense to me for Nancy to have the whole set up pictured and not just the machine to had credence to her point. I love discovery, love to learn!

    Anyway, the Model A will never be as popular as the FW, partly because it has no reverse, but, now we all want one!

    Nancy

  16. #41
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    ok, I LOVE this conversation, allow me to add evidence to the case... (as it were)

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  17. #42
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    From the enclosed manual....

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  18. #43
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Well, I am convinced not only was the FW copied from G.E.'s Model A, but they also copied the carrying case! I want to find one of those little green machines, but they are not easy to find!

    Singer took the design and improved it by making a folding extension bed, making the head out of aluminum where as the Model A was cast iron. Reverse was also added - the Model A doesn't have reverse. Singer also made a much better stitch regulator on the FW. But, Singer retained the rotary hook design because of the continous and smooth circular movement of the stitch forming mechanism, which was necessary to keep such a lightweight machine from walking around when sewing. Singer also improved on the bobbin's access, and the bobbin winder. On the Model A, you have to run the stitching mechanism in order to wind a bobbin. The FW has a stop motion screw allowing you to run the bobbin winder without running the needle and drive parts.

    Knowing all this, I can see why the little green GE Model A didn't take off like the FW did. I can also see why collectors want one of those little machines! Now, because of you, that little green G.E. Model A is on my wish list!

    Thank you Steve.

    Nancy

  19. #44
    Senior Member grant15clone's Avatar
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    Oh boy. I just saw something on Ebay. http://www.ebay.com/itm/General-Elec...70924600265%26
    ~G~

  20. #45
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    I have one, too!

    Found mine in a sewing machine shop window about 25 years ago. Paid $20.00. It looks and runs great. I've not see another one.

  21. #46
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    The link posted earlier worked for me.
    I'm new here and I am a husband dragged kicking and screaming into the quilt world. I have one of these Model As. Also a 52 Featherweight, a 52 301 and two Model 99s one of which is the black krinkle paint job but with all the nickel pieces still.
    The case for my "A" is shot but it is an original GE.

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  22. #47
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Welcome Korak to the vintage world here. I love how your machine is all ready for Christmas.
    Sweet Caroline

  23. #48
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Korak View Post
    The link posted earlier worked for me.
    I'm new here and I am a husband dragged kicking and screaming into the quilt world. I have one of these Model As. Also a 52 Featherweight, a 52 301 and two Model 99s one of which is the black krinkle paint job but with all the nickel pieces still.
    The case for my "A" is shot but it is an original GE.
    Welcome from SW Ohio! Sounds like you already have quite a collection. Love your GE!
    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

  24. #49
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard Korak. You'll find a few other men here. I wasn't dragged kicking and screaming. I jumped in with both feet when my daughter decided she wanted to learn to sew. After playing a bit with vintage machines I have a hard time taking the modern plastic wonders seriously. Those model A's are neat looking little machines. Now I want one too.
    Rodney

  25. #50
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    Hey korak & steveh

    We are 'a few good men' here. I myself wasn't dragged as I've been kicking the sewing machine treadle since I was 12 and the machine has been screaming for me since then. I dragged my wife into sewing but not into antique machines yet. Nice machine you both have there. Welcome korak.

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