Author Topic: Vintage Singer Machines  (Read 12198 times)

Henry Hall

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 400
  • Evil Chemist
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #45 on: March 07, 2017, 07:40:22 AM »
I have to ask, was that 900 series machine a "Futura" with a wind in place bobbin? I only ask because I collect its electronic cousin, the 1000. I've got a couple parts machines where the hook drive gear had crumbled.

I can't remember, but I don't recall the name 'Futura' on it. It was actually a very decent sewing machine, with a drop-in bobbin (the only one I've ever had). I don't think any (domestic) models after the late 1970s or early 80s are worth bothering with. I wouldn't touch an electronic machine.

I only want to do a straight stitch 95% of the time anyway. The bits of manual adjustment required are routine and don't slow down workflow. On my Juki industrial it has all sorts of things like a thread sweeper and trimmer, programmed stitch etc. I almost never use them.

Futura

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • 1000
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #46 on: March 10, 2017, 09:35:40 PM »
I´ve read somewhere this gear was designed as a weak spot to prevent further damage when the machine is slamming.

Yes, my husband and I deduced the same from repairing several machines. I'd be most interested if you find where you read that.

I can't remember, but I don't recall the name 'Futura' on it. It was actually a very decent sewing machine, with a drop-in bobbin (the only one I've ever had). I don't think any (domestic) models after the late 1970s or early 80s are worth bothering with. I wouldn't touch an electronic machine.
No worries, just curious! I'm a bit eccentric when it comes to my machine collection... I have not had any problems with my electronic 1000G... ironic considering I come from a family of electrical engineers should anything go wrong! ;)

In my mind, the 1980s was the beginning of the end for serious home fashion sewing. The quality of domestic machines went down with it. The same goes for books and other tools for the home dressmaker.

hutch--

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 531
  • Bespoke Snippers
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2017, 09:49:58 PM »
If you look around and are prepared to pay for them you can still buy full mechanical domestic machines, I know the Bernina still make one and there is a Singer that is a full mechanical as well. There are probably others but you would look at things like spares over time and available accessories, both Bernina and Singer tend to keep spares for a long time where some of the cheapies don't keep them for long.

I own a Bernina Bernette which is a Chinese made cheapie and while it does reasonable button holes fully automatically, its is a horrible machine to do general purpose sewing with with silly features that I don't use or need. It may do the job for quilting but its a lousy machine for making clothing.
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D

Schneiderfrei

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 386
  • Resembles Human Being
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #48 on: March 11, 2017, 12:12:58 PM »
My Bernette was Czech made.

Futura

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • 1000
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #49 on: March 11, 2017, 07:33:14 PM »
If you look around and are prepared to pay for them you can still buy full mechanical domestic machines, I know the Bernina still make one and there is a Singer that is a full mechanical as well.

Good point and one that completely escaped my mind (despite having seen such machines!).

It may do the job for quilting but its a lousy machine for making clothing.

Unfortunately those seem to be far more prevalent!

Henry Hall

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 400
  • Evil Chemist
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #50 on: March 12, 2017, 06:03:26 AM »
There's not much looking around needed. I can't speak for everywhere, but in Europe they're all over the place. The black, overbuilt Singers and Pfaffs can be had for less than €30, very often €20. The later ones are plentiful.

I refuse to believe that these can be bested. The only obstacle I've ever seen in operating these is user-laziness. People have been made incompetent by having machines that do too much for them and are then completely kneecapped when a problem arises, often a simple one.

One or more non-metal gears turn up in machines as early as the 1950s. Loads of the early zig-zag machines have a nylon gear in the zig-zag mechanism, with the rest of the machine being metal.

hutch--

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 531
  • Bespoke Snippers
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #51 on: March 12, 2017, 11:40:51 AM »
The old black Singers are now collectors items here in OZ. A few years ago I did a dirty deal with a vendor to swap him 2 old sewing machines, a Singer and a bigger one of an unknown brand for every Elna cam he had so I ended up with a couple of hundred cams and got rid of 2 boat anchors at the same time. He got 2 antiques that he could probably make money out of so everyone was happy.
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D

spookietoo

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 58
  • Home Sewist - Focusing on Tailoring TN - U.S.A.
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #52 on: March 13, 2017, 04:49:30 AM »
House sitting for Sis this week and brought my 1989 Kenmore/Janome along. It has been abandoned by me since finding a Pfaff 262 a couple of years ago.

Oiled it to get started and was dismayed to find all of the stitch control knobs almost non-functioning with the main knob completely frozen. I'd never opened that end of the machine as the manual did not indicate to do so for oiling purposes - but hey - its been almost 30 years - no doubt something needed attention. I quietly prayed for no cracked or worn plastic/nylon gears as I determined how to remove the housing.

To my great surprise, I found 100% metal gearing! My mechanical engineer BIL had me covered with all possible forms of lithium grease and 15 minutes later - machine feels and sounds like it did when it was new.

This machine has never required servicing and has seen its share of upholstery projects on top of garment sewing. The built in handle makes it a great portable. Came with an excellent buttonhole attachment for shirts and for those that haven't mastered the hand stitching just yet. Straight stitch leaves much to be desired as with many domestic zz machines, but the stretch stitches are great for T's and things.

These are usually listed on craigslist for under $50 US. This model number is 385.17641 (Kenmore #'s are a PITA!)

Again, just thought it was interesting to find so much metal housed in a mostly plastic shell.

Schneiderfrei

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 386
  • Resembles Human Being
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #53 on: March 18, 2017, 03:42:16 PM »
I got a bit paranoid about my Bernina with a couple of old nylon gears.

So I have found this reference:

http://machinedesign.com/mechanical-drives/engineering-essentials-lubrication-tips-plastic-gears-and-more-part-2

It seems quite authoritative.

Graham

hutch--

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 531
  • Bespoke Snippers
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #54 on: March 18, 2017, 07:55:55 PM »
From experience the "bees knees" of lubricants for plastic gears is a teflon based additive made to add to car gear boxes and differentials.  It does not appear to attack teflon or nylon gears but substantially reduces friction and it sticks really well. In my old Elna's there are a pair of hardened steel bevel gears inside the free arm and I grease them with this stuff years ago and it still does not need to be renewed.
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D

Schneiderfrei

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 386
  • Resembles Human Being
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2017, 12:52:44 AM »
I'm sure you are correct Hutch,

I was trying to reassure myself having previously used a mineral oil on my bernina. 

It has 2 nylon gears and I don't know if I want to muck about dragging them out to clean it off.

hutch--

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 531
  • Bespoke Snippers
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #56 on: March 19, 2017, 12:34:28 PM »
You don't have to pull it apart, drowned it with WD40 which will clean out most other stuff then use a teflon based grease.
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D

Tailleuse

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 59
  • Human Being
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #57 on: April 15, 2017, 02:02:45 PM »



Lots of sewing simply doesn't require machine gun stitch speeds - unless it's some factory division of labour where someone is sewing e.g. shirt hems all day. So I don't think speed is all that important in many cases. Singer made machines that did 1800-2000 stitches per minute in the late 1920s. In nearly 100 years the stitch number hasn't risen so dramatically all things considered.

I agree. I've never understood the obsession with speed. If you're sewing curtains and tablecloths all day that would be different.

Schneiderfrei

  • Research
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 386
  • Resembles Human Being
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #58 on: April 15, 2017, 05:34:20 PM »
I also agree Taileuse,

Good to hear from you too.

G

hutch--

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 531
  • Bespoke Snippers
Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #59 on: April 15, 2017, 11:06:11 PM »
 :)

Really fast machines are hard to use but it is handy to have the speed if you need it. On a decent domestic where you have something like speed control rather than an on/off clutch you can run slower speeds where you need very fine control but put the boot into it when you are doing long seams so your arms don't get tired feeding it for so long.

On the maintainance side, its not the speed you are directly after, if you keep a machine clean and oiled properly, it runs smoother and lasts longer with less chance of breaking things or plain wearing them out. If the machine is in good nick and well maintained, you get the speed as well.
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D