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Recently exploring machines...

Recently exploring machines...

Old 05-30-2021, 07:44 AM
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Default Recently exploring machines...

My wife and I have always collected special antiques, nothing too valuable or perfectly maintained but our criteria is simple: it has to be in good shape and it has to be functional to us or at least be very aesthetically pleasing to us. We're not collectors for the sake of collecting. And we also like to USE our antiques if they're machines. So we actually listen to our 78s on our phonograph, and we use our antique teapots and serving dishes. Because they make life wonderful.

We recently came across an old Singer treadle table without machine and thought, what a lovely place to put our contemporary sewing machine which we use often enough to keep it out and on a table. But of course, that led down the rabbit hole of seeing actual machines available near us and a new fascination/obsession began. Now, after seeing what's around us in Quebec City (including a very few of the Singer models that were produced HERE which we didn't know about) we're thinking of spending more and -- why not -- getting a table with a machine and having it to use, clean up over time, and fold away when using our modern Singer. Many of the ones we're finding are in good enough shape, the owners say they still work, in many cases they have just recently bought a new belt.

Why am I writing... we're confused about a bunch of random things that are impeding our decision making on which to buy of the several we have the choice of. So, completely random questions, in no particular order...
  1. What are the machines that have holes in the wood for the belt to go in and out of rather than going into the metal base on the right side? Are those a type of machine, or just a specific era of treadle table.
  2. I came across a woman trying to sell her late grandmother's table. The grandmother clearly took very good care of her machine because it looks great. It's one of the ones made here going by the serial number I asked for. It has a motor attached. Now, after this long, there are probably all sorts of problems trying to run old motors safely, but what we don't get is, would this machine have COME with the motor? Or would it have been added later, in which case, will the machine work just with the treadle if we don't use the motor at all?
  3. Understanding the options aren't exactly unlimited for what you find in the right condition and price point, where can I read about which of the 66, 127, 27, 15, etc -- which are the ones that come up most often -- were the better machines or had particular problems, or always jam up when you do this or that,.. the reason is we're not likely going to buy another one of these in the future and we don't want aficionados to tell us later, "oh, you really shouldn't have bought the Sphinx model 127 from 1929 because those have a part that breaks easily and never is up for sale anywhere for less than $300. You should have gotten the red eye from 1931 instead..." or something like that. Basically what is the modern tech blog "5 best Singers from the early 20th century" version of these machines? Or do they all basically work fine without specific hitches?
  4. What can I ask these people who tend to just be selling off family heirlooms and don't know much other than knowing that they work fine, other than serial number to know if a machine runs well? Or something you would know to ask someone that is crucial to know before dropping money on one?
  5. Assuming we'll have to go pick it up from wherever we buy it, is there a tried and true way to disassemble a treadle table and separate it from the machine to fit in a car? I assume they weren't purchased 100 years ago in one piece and probably required assembly, which means they can be disassembled, right?
Thank you all for any help!

Last edited by tinpanalley; 05-30-2021 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 05-30-2021, 08:02 AM
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almost time for breakfast, so let me give you quick answers to 5 and 4.

Generally there are 2 set screws that are in the rear of the base that grip the shaft of lolllip hinges
a little hard to get to and you will want a falshlingt and a longish secrewdriver, but I've often got them with a Swiss army knife in a pinch.

4. What ever you guy makesure it has bobbins , ( shuttle if neeeded for virbating shuttle machines) and bobbin cases. and a bobbin slide unles you want to parts chase.
Many owners have no idea what should be under the needle ares. Ahh I hear butter slicing.


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Old 05-30-2021, 08:35 AM
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I just noticed this was your first post. Welcome aboard..

A few other things for you to consider. What will your sewist want in a machine? Striaght stitichers abound. Chain stitchers less so. Do you want one iwth back tacking or reverse? Is zig zag important to you? Button holes? many of these can be done with attacments. Bu it is something to consider.

If you want the option for treadle, motor and handcrank you will quickly find that Singer has a huge market share. However, early Singers may not have this boss and screw hole under the hand wheel.
https://www.quiltingboard.com/member...38-582790.html


Without it you are pretty much stuck with treadle only.











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Old 05-30-2021, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by leonf View Post
I just noticed this was your first post. Welcome aboard..
Thank you, kindly
Originally Posted by leonf View Post
A few other things for you to consider. What will your sewist want in a machine?
We have our modern Singer Simple for our daily sewing needs. Just thought it would be fine from time to time to do projects with the older machine. Straight and zigzag stitches of varying stitch lengths is at MOST what we would want to do. But where machines equipped to be retrofitted are concerned, something we're struggling to find is what the year is before which Singer models can NOT be fitted for a motor?

Also, the woman I mentioned with the Quebec produced Singer... here are some photos. We know where and when it is from but we have no idea what model this is to look up parts and manuals etc before we consider buying it...Serial number JA607191: https://postimg.cc/jwCw9f2c
The full machine and table: https://postimg.cc/ZvSm3kGN
Rear view with the motor: https://postimg.cc/qNRT2x51
Rear below: https://postimg.cc/PpGnssr7
Thank you for any help. How does it look to you?
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Old 05-30-2021, 10:01 AM
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Welcome. It looks like you have done quite a bit of research. It appears as that machine is a 115 with "Wings" decals. http://needlebar.org/nbwiki/index.ph...329_Gold_Wings or http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_mach...ic-decals.html According to the comprehensive model list at http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_mach...s-100-199.html the 115 class machines were made between 1912-35 and was a Domestic machine with a Vertical rotary hook; straight stitch; and could have been a treadle or motorized. According to the serial number it would have been made between 1924 and 1936. It takes an "L" bobbin which are still available. From my understanding there is a bobbin case available, but unsure how well it works.

It is a straight stitch only machine without a reverse. A manual can be found at https://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollec...ges/image1.htm or http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_mach...ine-manual.pdf Neither of them show the motor. I have seen a motor attached similar to the one you are looking at, but can't find it now.

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Old 05-30-2021, 10:16 AM
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Welcome to the QB from SE Michigan. You have a couple of very knowledgeable people who have answered your questions. I could never add to what they have told you. I have a number of antique and vintage machines here so I follow this forum closely. Again Welcome and I am glad you just jumped in. Enjoy.
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Old 05-30-2021, 10:24 AM
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I am by no means an expert, having been working on machines for only a few years, and only an occasional sewer. That being said, you would have a lot of versatility in terms of attachments and power options with machines with the motor boss/rail on the side under the hand wheel. When was this boss/rail added? I don't know but based on machines i"ve had I would say late 191Xs early 20s. As I understand it the boss/rail was added for a hand crank and then used later for motor bracket attachments.

The most common Singers I've seen are 66s and 15s. 66s have a drop in bobbin, from the top, and are rock solid, but the feed dogs don't drop. 15s have the bobbin that loads from underneath, which I don't like as much, but newer 15s have the ability to drop the feed dogs. I use a 15 has a hand crank for the small repairs I do. 15s are rock solid also. Both use any/most straight/low shank attachments, and Singer even made one for doing zig zag. You can find 66s and 15s in perfect shape or in junky shape. All this being said, I kind of wish I had one of my 201s back, it's the drop in bobbin and you can drop the feed dogs, I'm just not a big fan of the potted motors.

I would be concerned with buying that 115 because of parts availability.
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Old 05-30-2021, 07:10 PM
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I have 2 115s, 1913 and 1915, both with Tiffany/Gingerbread decals. They are as rock solid and dependable as 66s and 15s, and are incredibly smooth with the full rotary hook. The bobbins are still manufactured today, as are cases. I bought bobbins from Cutex, and they work very well.

The 115 does not have reverse, however there are a few different ways to lock your stitches without having reverse. Shorten your stitch length at the end, or turn your work 180 degrees and stitch back, or lift the presser foot, pull back the fabric, and restitch.

I use one as a hand crank, the other is a treadle. I am new to treadling, and have to report that I have jammed my 115 by inconsistency in my treadling technique. Always the Singer handwheel must turn towards you! Some minor dismantling of the bobbin guts, removing the caught thread, and reassembling was involved. Has my technique improved? No. It is very way to treadle fast, but not as easy to go slow and remember to continue using the full range of the pedal, which is where my mistake occurs.

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Old 05-31-2021, 07:59 AM
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With 115 parts not being an issues, and if the price is right, I would get it. It's a neat looking machine, and it appears you can make it a treadle powered machine if you'd like.
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Old 05-31-2021, 10:32 AM
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Thank you all so much for the comments and amazing info. I've learned even more than I did just trying to do research on my own.
Sadly, that first 115 was sold while I was at work yesterday but something else has come up...

One which even in my amateur opinion looks to be in amazing shape. A 27 from March 1927 according to ISMACS and the serial (G304778). The person selling it says she only ever had it for decoration but always tried to keep it clean and seems to think it runs. She says the wood is all fine and that one drawer has a bunch of little accessories. No telling if one of the accessories is the other slide plate that is missing in the photos.

Overall photo: https://postimg.cc/jLBgFgnL
Machine closeup: https://postimg.cc/62Qf3n4k
Treadle: https://postimg.cc/rDC1NQ16
Back: https://postimg.cc/mPRMkC0m

The problem with this is that it's 2 hours away, we'd have to rent a car to go get it. And I'm not sure how to disassemble them. But am I right in thinking it would be worth the effort?
--------------------------------
The other going by ISMACS and Singer's list is a 15 from 1913 (G2856200), but going by Sandman-Collectibles is a 66. So, no clue, I'd need help with that. What I don't understand is if the wood looks like it does because someone took a shot at varnishing it at some point or if that's original. There appear to be excess varnish marks in parts..., but going by Sandman-Collectibles is a 66. So, no clue. I'd need help with that. What I don't understand is if the wood looks like it does because someone took a shot at varnishing it at some point or if that's original. There appear to be excess varnish marks in parts...

Overall photo: https://postimg.cc/8706H970
Possible excess varnish?: https://postimg.cc/mhs8C1fF
Base of machine: https://postimg.cc/Lqv6DZQ6
Treadle: https://postimg.cc/SJm1F2gp
Drawer apparently full of original accessories: https://postimg.cc/6y5sVmJR

This one is far easier to get to, still requires renting a car, looks in great shape on the wood side but is clearly more worn on the machine side. Decals almost worn out, lots of pitting. This church thrift shop received it and wants to sell it so there's not much info on its past.

The first machine is cheaper, neither person really knows much about them. Thoughts, questions I can ask, opinions on what they are and what kind of condition they're in, are either of them worth buying? (We're leaning heavily towards the Sphinx because of its condition despite being hard to get to.)

Thank you for ANY help!! I promise I'll stop asking after this.
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