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White Rotary - any info please?

White Rotary - any info please?

Old 03-29-2019, 12:18 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: N. Carolina
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Question White Rotary - any info please?

Hi, I finally got hubby to pull this out of the shed. This is a machine he's had for a while. He picked it up at a yard sale in California in the late 1980s. He said he paid about $10.00.
I haven't tried to run it. There is no oil in it. The underside was clean and very dry. I'm surprised the whole machine isn't rusted, and the wiring appears decent. The only missing part is the light bulb cover/ shade. The case itself is original, very musty smelling. only some Rust on the closures. As the photos show, the base fabric is pulling away.
Does anyone know how old this is, and potential value? I'm wanting to list it on ebay.
Thanks, Karen 20190329_154727.jpg1553889978693463568454.jpg
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:46 PM
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I doubt that there's a lot of monetary value there. You can check eBay completed listings to see what they are actually selling for. The first thing I'd do is oil that sucker up and see if it sews. A running machine always has more value than a non-running one.
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Old 03-29-2019, 02:24 PM
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Location: N. Carolina
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Thanks, Patrice! I'm going to certainly give it a good oiling and wipe down before attempting to sew with it. If it turns out to be gentle on finer fabrics , I'll keep it. The Juki power machine I use really likes thicker material. I had an antique Singer that sewed a delicate edge. Too bad I was forced to let it go!
Anyway... This house is begging to be decluttered.
There just is no storage here.
6 sewing machines here. 2 of them are industrial.
Too bad this one isn't a zig- zag.
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Old 03-30-2019, 05:37 AM
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nice looking machine. I think ability to do fine sewing has more to do with the needle than the machine.

Welcome to the board if I haven't said so already!
polished up at a garage sale it might go for $25.00, it isn't one that is sought out.
When selling machines on ebay the weight of shipping has to be factored into the price also, (60-80.00) and packing a machine safely is about an hour and half job

I'd suggest your local Craigslist, I've had great success both buying and selling vintage machines there, and no listing or paypal fees

Last edited by KalamaQuilts; 03-30-2019 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 10:18 AM
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I have one of these in my garage. My friends hubby cleaned & oiled it for me and it runs beautiful. It was a machine from my SIL's great aunt. It has every gadget possible. The cabinet has a bit of wear on top as it was used for a hall table. It will be my GD's machine at some point.

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Old 03-30-2019, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for the reply, Jackie! I think a good oil and wipe down will do the trick. The critical parts show no rust, and the wiring was replaced at one point.
Kamala, I had an antique Singer. I don't remember the model # , but it was 1/3 smaller than average and the stitch lengths were controlled by a turn knob, not a lever. The feed dogs were smaller than most. This feature enabled me to sew precise glove seams... very narrow and sewed bridal veils without holes. This is why I said what I did about finer sewing. Yes the needle size is important; but it's not the only thing.
I also have an 80s model Singer from a thrift store. It sews fine until you try to do an applique zig zag.
I'm looking forward to finding a machine that works for that. My Mom has a 1950s Necchi zig zag, but she's across the country.
That was actually what I started sewing on when I was 8.
I am not an expert on these old machines; but I've been a Bridal dressmaker and just about every other type of stitcher. Now I'm a
disabled person just having a little fun with hobby sewing.

Last edited by KLKing; 03-30-2019 at 10:36 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:09 AM
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Location: San Diego, CA
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My White Family Rotary was the first VSM I acquired as the start of my journey down this rabbit hole. If you search this forum, you will find many postings.
The first thing to notice is that the handwheel turns away from you (clockwise), which is the opposite of Singer and most other sewing machines. Turning the wheel towards you will result in thread jams and thread breaking.
The second thing I noticed on your machine is the badge you have on front that says that the machine is reconditioned. I think the reconditioning removed all the original decals, which are quite lovely with gold and some green in the leaves, and gave it a black coat with plain White Rotary lettering. This reduces the already low monetary value for a White Rotary. Do an eBay search looking at the sold prices (not the list prices).
I am impressed by the solid sewing abilities and the large harp space (over 8 inches) of my machine. I paid $50 for my first WFR sewing machine at an antique shop and soon realized I paid twice what it was worth. It was motorized (a frequent result of reconditioning) and in a mildewed case. When a treadle came up near me on CL for $40, I swapped out the heads and now keep it as a treadle machine. There are so many WFR machines available that it can be hard to sell them, even at a low price.
Here is one of many links to a blog post which shows the original decals and the attachments. Remember that attachments, case/cabinet and motor for the WFR are not interchangeable with most other machines.
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Old 04-03-2019, 02:09 PM
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Those really are sleepers. They will sew very nicely but that backwards hand wheel make them not as desireable. I have one I keep around for parts and a couple that will sew for someone someday.
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:25 PM
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Miriam and Rotary Queen; Thank you both for the reply!
I'd have never realised the hand wheel turns backwards right away.
It would seem un-natural to me.
I'm hoping to have time to start working on it this weekend.
I'll let everyone know how it works out. Too bad on the decals...The original decals are gorgeous!
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Old 04-04-2019, 06:39 AM
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In the Daisy Gumm mystery series by Alice Duncan, she uses a White like this. Knee controlled.
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