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  • What Do I Need To Know About Singer 500A?

    Old 06-12-2015, 06:32 AM
      #1  
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    Default What Do I Need To Know About Singer 500A?

    I'm new to vintage machines. I stumbled across a Singer 66-16 at an estate sale recently and thought the large throat would be great for machine quilting. As it turns out, the machine needs a lot of TLC.
    That lead me here and I have really enjoyed looking around. While learning all I can about restoring vintage machines I saw a picture of a Singer 500A and I was immediately transported to my childhood... I know this is the machine my mom used to teach me how to sew. She must have traded it in when she bought her brand new Singer Athena 2000 in the '70's (which still runs like a top.)
    So, please tell me what I should know about the Singer 500A. What concerns should I have in buying one... such as power cords/foot pedals easily replaced, etc.
    Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks,
    NiaJane
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    Old 06-12-2015, 08:12 AM
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    I have one of these and it's my favorite vintage machine! They're nicknamed "Rocketeer".

    These are slant-shank machines, so the feet are slightly unique. But Singer made slant-shanks for awhile and the feet are still being made and are available online. Just hunt for "slant shank". Singer made buttonholers for slant-shank too, they come in a pink oval case; I see them periodically at thrift shops for around ten bucks.

    There's the 500A and the 503A that look very similar and both are called "Rocketeer" - main difference is that the 500 has more built-in stitches. Both take cams; the cams are also pretty easy to find as they're the same style Singer used for a few different models.

    New power cords/pedals are easy to find online still too. I don't like the button-style pedal that mine came with so I bought a modern clamshell style one to use for myself; I think I paid about $25 for it.

    Manuals are a little harder to find but if you keep your eyes on eBay they do turn up. I think you can buy photocopied versions on CD pretty easily. (I waited to find an original paper one, but I DID find one!)

    They take class 66 bobbins - modern Singer-brand class 66 bobbins will NOT fit, however. They are made much cheaper now and have flaws. If you need bobbins, don't buy them somewhere like Joann's, buy them somewhere like Sew Classic, or look for vintage bobbins on eBay.

    Happy hunting! I LOOOOVE my Rocketeer, it's a great machine.
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    Old 06-12-2015, 08:35 AM
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    Singerco.com has free downloadable manuals in the resources section. I recommend having a manual handy. These machines are capable of a lot if you know how to use them. The downside is they're not overly intuitive to set up and use.

    Look for the black Singer "tophat" cams. They're easily available from sources like Ebay and were used from the 400 series slant shank machines thru the 600 series Touch & Sews. The Touch & Sew ones tend to run a little cheaper if you're not worried about a matching box for your accessories.

    Sew-Classic.com has new slant shank feet along with other maintenance items like bobbin winder tires. They also have a good reputation here.

    Congrats on your new Rocketeer! I have a 400A and a couple Touch & Sews and like them. Yours should be a good machine.
    Your 66 is a great machine for piecing. It would be worth the effort to make it run. My first 66 is the machine that got me hooked on vintage machines.
    Rodney
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    Old 06-12-2015, 09:09 AM
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    Thank you so much Sewnoma and Rodney for you replies!
    I am so excited to know that a Rocketeer can be easily be restored. I have so many memories of my mom sitting at that machine.
    I will let you know when I find one! I'm sure I'll be asking many questions.
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    Old 06-12-2015, 11:01 AM
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    KLO
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    Yep, that's the machine I lust for also. (Recently posted a query about them and the 300 and 400 machines in this section so you may want to read how others responded to that post.) Thankfully you are in Texas and I am on the East Coast so we probably won't be elbowing each other to try to get to that ever elusive Rocketeer. lol
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    Old 06-12-2015, 11:41 AM
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    Fun, I just went thrift-storing on my lunch break, and picked up a box of cams for $7 that will fit my Rocketeer. Some are going to be duplicates I already have but I'm pretty sure most are not!

    It made me think of this thread.
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    Old 06-12-2015, 02:56 PM
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    LOL! KLO .... some people might drive a long way for their dream machine.
    Sewnoma, what a great find! Now if I could just find a rocketeer.......
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    Old 06-13-2015, 04:38 AM
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    KLO
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    Originally Posted by NiaJane
    LOL! KLO .... some people might drive a long way for their dream machine.
    .

    Well, maybe you would drive to NC for a machine but I promise you I will not be driving to Texas for one so you are safe for a local buy. Way to hot to do that at this time of year anyway. Hmmm, but maybe I will outbid you for one on ebay??? We can still be friends though, right? Ha!
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    Old 06-13-2015, 04:53 AM
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    I have a 503a and really like it. I recently went to an auction and picked up another one for $1. It was missing the nose piece. The problem with it is when you put it on zig zag it doesn't sew consistently. It will zig zag but leave straight stitches every little bit. Any ideas? I have cleaned and oiled.
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    Old 06-13-2015, 10:53 AM
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    Woot-woot!
    Going to look at a 500A tomorrow! I'll let you know if this is the one!
    Hope I can sleep tonight... I am so excited!

    Grandma Nancy, hope someone can help with your machine.
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