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Thread: Substitute needles for the Minnesota and Davis, as well as others, machines

  1. #1
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Substitute needles for the Minnesota and Davis, as well as others, machines

    So you have a nice old Minnesota ~B~ or another machine that uses the Davis Long Needle or the Boye #10.

    You have exactly the one needle that came in the machine and the tip of that is worn off. What to do?

    Well, in the last 6 months I've been using several substitute needles for machines whose original needles are either unobtainium or rairium.

    Rairium = really hard to get
    Unobtainium = can't find 'em to save your soul

    You want to sew with your baby, so what do you do?

    Well, here's the story of Minerva and her happy ending.

    I got Minerva, a Minnesota Model ~B~ from forum member bdshafer last March. Brought her home and proceeded to get started cleaning. Ewwww, I had to clean eons and millenniums worth of old varnished oil and gunk from inside and outside of her.


    Once that was done I proceeded to try and sew something. But ... sadly I didn't realize the needle clamp screw wasn't tight enough and the needle came out and was snapped in two when it was caught by the shuttle and feed dogs. OUCH!

    mizkaki came to my rescue with a package of MTx190 size 12 needles. The original needles are flat shank but these are round. Other than that they are the same length with a scarf and full length thread grove on the side.

    I tried the needles and they worked very well. But I prefer size 14 to 16 depending on what I'm doing. And I wanted to see just how big I could go with these substitute needles before I ran out of room.

    The reason for this is the round shank needles sit farther to the left than the OEM needles do and I was concerned about the larger sizes having interference problems with the needle plate and the needle slot underneath.

    Forum member jlhmnj came to my rescue with a package of MTx190s in size 14s. Those fit and functioned very well. Being a bit impatient I asked him if he could get me some in size 16 and 18 to try. Yep he did.
    They came today and I've tried them both. There is very little room left when the size 18 needle is in, but there was no problems with it at all.

    I also found out Minerva may not sew fast, but she'll go through eight (8) layers of denim from a standing start.
    Nice tension too.

    So even though the Boye #10 or Davis Long needles may not be exactly unobtainium, they are hard enough to get that the MTx190s are a viable substitute. If you have a machine that needs this size needle, give them a try.

    Besides the forum members I mentioned above you can find these needles at:
    jimtaly itemforever --- http://stores.ebay.com/jimtalyinc
    And I'm sure other places as well.


    Give these needles a try and make your old machines happy again.

    Joe
    Last edited by J Miller; 05-29-2012 at 11:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Oh Joe, that is so good to know. As I collect more of these babies I am surely going to run into this problem some day. Just got two new oldies this past week: White Rotary brown crinkle finish in cabinet 45X81196 (on bottom of base 9801-4.) And a blue Universal Super Deluxe. (F/0009 The only nos. I can find) made by Standard Sewing Equipment Corp. Japan. Does that made sense? Will post pics, am charging my camera battery right now.
    Kitsy

  3. #3
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Did any of these come from GW on line auctions?

    The numbers don't ring a bell, but I've not learned too much about non Singers yet.

    Joe

  4. #4
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Did any of these come from GW on line auctions?

    The numbers don't ring a bell, but I've not learned too much about non Singers yet.

    Joe

    White Rotary $15.00 from Salvation Army; Universal (Blue) from a church yard sale $15.00. Both in tables.
    Kitsy

  5. #5
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    I have bought from Jimtaly on Ebay. Great service and prices - especially on treadle belting.

  6. #6
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitsykeel View Post
    Oh Joe, that is so good to know. As I collect more of these babies I am surely going to run into this problem some day. Just got two new oldies this past week: White Rotary brown crinkle finish in cabinet 45X81196 (on bottom of base 9801-4.) And a blue Universal Super Deluxe. (F/0009 The only nos. I can find) made by Standard Sewing Equipment Corp. Japan. Does that made sense? Will post pics, am charging my camera battery right now.
    The Universal takes a 15X1 needle, I'm fairly certain. I say this because I had a Universal that took that size needle.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  7. #7
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    The MTx190 is only for OLD Davis Sewing Machines. Even Davis switched over to the 15x1 by 1910 or so. So if you have an old Low Arm, VF1, VF2, Minnesota or badged Davis before 1910 the MTx190 will replace the Boye 10 ($$$). Any other machine should not use this needle that I know of (maybe a White from the 1870's?) other than the industrial application the MTx190 was originally intended for.

    Jon
    Last edited by jlhmnj; 05-31-2012 at 08:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Jon,

    Do you have enough info on the Minnesota ~B~'s to determine the year of manufacture? I know mine is ancient, but I'd really like to narrow down the year at least.

    I can't find a serial number on it anywhere. The only marking under the front slide plate is the letter "D".

    ......................................

    Minnesota needle report..

    I just finished off assembling 14 6 1/2" quilt squares from 3 1/2" squares of denim scraps. It worked great with the Organ MTx190 size 14 needle I used. The thread I'm using is C&C Dual Duty XP Heavy. I just could not see using a light weight thread on a quilt made from denim.

    I only had one problem and that's when I stalled the machine as it tried to sew over 4 layers and created a thread wad. But that was my fault not the machines or the needles.

    Joe

  9. #9
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Good info, Joe. I have been hoarding Boye #10 needles for my Davis HAVF1, and I now have about 20 or so, I think. I am not sewing on her, as she doesn't have a treadle base yet, but hope to some times this summer. Need to convince DH that a treadle base that will take 2 or 3 different machines is a "MUST HAVE", rather than a "would be nice to have" item!! LOL

  10. #10
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    The MTx190 is only for OLD Davis Sewing Machines. Even Davis switched over to the 15x1 by 1910 or so. So if you have an old Low Arm, VF1, VF2, Minnesota or badged Davis before 1910 the MTx190 will replace the Boye 10 ($$$). Any other machine should not use this needle that I know of (maybe a White from the 1870's?) other than the industrial application the MTx190 was originally intended for.Jon
    Jon; DH bought me a Davis Vertical Feed with the serial # of 573250. The plate info says Dayton, OH, USA, and another plate says "Manufactured for Bruce Sewing Machine Company, SPringfiled, IL". There are no dates on the slide plates but plenty of which size needle for which size thread etc and it was a treadle that someone converted to an e-machine. It came a big ole honking needle - not a 15X1 size needle. I assumed the needle was the elusive and almost unobtainable Boye #10 or #20. How would I verify that? I would love to sew with her but wanted more than one needle before I began a project.
    Chris
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  11. #11
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=J Miller;5256022]Jon,

    Do you have enough info on the Minnesota ~B~'s to determine the year of manufacture? I know mine is ancient, but I'd really like to narrow down the year at least.

    I can't find a serial number on it anywhere. The only marking under the front slide plate is the letter "D".

    ......................................

    Hi Joe,

    Minnesota B's were made roughly from 1902-1909. Even with a serial number I don't think I could narrow it down much more than that. Serial number was on your front plate which is lost to history.

    Jon

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Jon,

    Thanks. 1902-1909 helps narrow it down. Someone replaced the missing front plate with a piece of plated brass sheet many decades ago. So long that the plating on the home made slide plate is worn through.

    Joe

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    Jon; DH bought me a Davis Vertical Feed with the serial # of 573250. The plate info says Dayton, OH, USA, and another plate says "Manufactured for Bruce Sewing Machine Company, SPringfiled, IL". There are no dates on the slide plates but plenty of which size needle for which size thread etc and it was a treadle that someone converted to an e-machine. It came a big ole honking needle - not a 15X1 size needle. I assumed the needle was the elusive and almost unobtainable Boye #10 or #20. How would I verify that? I would love to sew with her but wanted more than one needle before I began a project.
    Chris
    Chris,
    Here is a scan of a Davis Long ( Boye #10) needle besides a rule and a 15x1. You can see the big difference in the length of the two.
    ISMACS has several sections on needles, specs, and such that is worth the time to study.

    Joe
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    Jon; DH bought me a Davis Vertical Feed with the serial # of 573250. The plate info says Dayton, OH, USA, and another plate says "Manufactured for Bruce Sewing Machine Company, SPringfiled, IL". There are no dates on the slide plates but plenty of which size needle for which size thread etc and it was a treadle that someone converted to an e-machine. It came a big ole honking needle - not a 15X1 size needle. I assumed the needle was the elusive and almost unobtainable Boye #10 or #20. How would I verify that? I would love to sew with her but wanted more than one needle before I began a project.
    Chris

    Hi Chris

    I've only seen "Bruce Manufacturing" on the newer Vertical Feeds (NVF). The SN 573250 is for a VF1 made around 1893 which uses the Boye 10 / MTX190. The NVF uses a 15x1. Does your Davis have a big tension disk on top the the arm (VF1)? The big honkering needle is a Davis long. I'd verify you have a VF1 before buying any needles as small chance the slide plate with serial could be off another machine. I'd be real interested to see a picture.

    The Boye 10 is not rare just expensive at around 10-12 dollars a tube for 3 needles plus shipping. The MTx190's are around $5 for 10 shipping included. However, the MTx190 are round instead of flat so they have to be aligned and not as easy to use as the Boye 10's and take a few extra seconds to install.

    Jon

  15. #15
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    To add a bit to what Jon just posted, you also need to make sure you have clearance room for the MTx190 needle in the needle plate and anything under it. The MTx190s being round will sit a wee bit to the left of where the Davis Long would sit.
    In my Minnesota ~B~ I bought one size at a time trying each to make sure. I can use the MTx190s up to size 18. I doubt I could go any larger though.

    Joe

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    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    Hi Chris

    I've only seen "Bruce Manufacturing" on the newer Vertical Feeds (NVF). The SN 573250 is for a VF1 made around 1893 which uses the Boye 10 / MTX190. The NVF uses a 15x1. Does your Davis have a big tension disk on top the the arm (VF1)? The big honkering needle is a Davis long. I'd verify you have a VF1 before buying any needles as small chance the slide plate with serial could be off another machine. I'd be real interested to see a picture.

    The Boye 10 is not rare just expensive at around 10-12 dollars a tube for 3 needles plus shipping. The MTx190's are around $5 for 10 shipping included. However, the MTx190 are round instead of flat so they have to be aligned and not as easy to use as the Boye 10's and take a few extra seconds to install. Jon
    Jon; Picture as son as DDs get home and find camera. Machine just says Davis and the bobbin winder is low on the arm but machine takes a long(er)shuttle for the bobbin thread. I will have to dig out needle and measure it. You have me curious now.
    Edit: The needle is approx 1 3/4" long but lady who sold it to me said it was not a common needle. Curiouser and curiouser.
    Chris
    Last edited by chris_quilts; 05-31-2012 at 04:22 PM.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  17. #17
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Am hopefully adding pics of the Davis and its bobbin winder.
    Attached Images Attached Images

    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

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    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    Am hopefully adding pics of the Davis and its bobbin winder.
    Ha! An NVF with an older Davis needle plate. Will use 15x1's and Davis long bobbins.

    Jon

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    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I need 20x1 needles for my Leader. I have some 16s, but I prefer a smaller needle. I haven't searched yet as the treadle isn't easy to operate. One thing at a time.

  20. #20
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    Jon; Picture as son as DDs get home and find camera. Machine just says Davis and the bobbin winder is low on the arm but machine takes a long(er)shuttle for the bobbin thread. I will have to dig out needle and measure it. You have me curious now.
    Edit: The needle is approx 1 3/4" long but lady who sold it to me said it was not a common needle. Curiouser and curiouser.
    Chris
    I can see why the wrong needle would be in the machine if the owner used the serial number on the slide plate to order with.

  21. #21
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    Ha! An NVF with an older Davis needle plate. Will use 15x1's and Davis long bobbins.Jon
    Jon; Thanks so much for your help. So why is my serial # so much older than the machine? I ask because the serial # is not on the needle plate, if I recall correctly.
    Chris
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  22. #22
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    Jon; Thanks so much for your help. So why is my serial # so much older than the machine? I ask because the serial # is not on the needle plate, if I recall correctly.
    Chris
    Needle plate is not accurate, the serial number is on the front slide plate or front throat plate. Your original plate was lost and someone got a plate from an 1893 VF1 to replace it with. I cant see well the SN from your photos but can tell it is a different style than an NVF should have.

    Get some 15x1's and have at it!

    Jon

  23. #23
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    Needle plate is not accurate, the serial number is on the front slide plate or front throat plate. Your original plate was lost and someone got a plate from an 1893 VF1 to replace it with. I cant see well the SN from your photos but can tell it is a different style than an NVF should have.

    Get some 15x1's and have at it! Jon
    Thanks again for all the information. I will try to get a photo of the serial # later tonite. I may try using the Davisd for the baby quilt am starting tonight. Nope, gotta clean it up first - my 301 will just have to do. Love my 301 - she's a gem!!
    Chris
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  24. #24
    Senior Member Whigrose's Avatar
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    Oh, you are a life-saver!
    Okay, maybe that is overstated a bit but today I started the hunt for needles for the 187? LA Davis I have here. I stumbled upon this post through a web search.
    I am ecstatic to have found this information. Off to try and locate this needle. And a bobbin tyre.

    best,
    d

    thank you!
    best,
    d
    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    The MTx190 is only for OLD Davis Sewing Machines. Even Davis switched over to the 15x1 by 1910 or so. So if you have an old Low Arm, VF1, VF2, Minnesota or badged Davis before 1910 the MTx190 will replace the Boye 10 ($$$). Any other machine should not use this needle that I know of (maybe a White from the 1870's?) other than the industrial application the MTx190 was originally intended for.

    Jon
    Last edited by Whigrose; 04-04-2013 at 09:54 AM.
    My best is the least I can do.

  25. #25
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Here's the thread for my Low Arm, a favorite:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...m-t212105.html

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