Author Topic: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines  (Read 1128 times)

Henry Hall

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Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« on: December 31, 2018, 03:43:08 AM »
Don't worry, I've not gone mad like those people claiming old domestics are 'semi-industrial'. Read on....

A few weeks ago I went to buy an old Kohler overlocker, for parts and the outboard reverse motor. I only paid €20, but had to pick it up myself. That's another story, but there was something else I saw when I was there. The woman had a machine set-up for her main activity, which is dressmaking. A very lovely old Singer in what looked like a treadle table, but motorised. It looked like this:

And that is because it was this machine exactly. A Singer 1300-2. As you can see it's got a knee-lifter and a clutch motor attached to a treadle-like pedal. Hers was unchanged, though it may have been a servo rather than a clutch, I didn't see it running. I assumed it was just another old industrial machine I hadn't seen before.
Today I looked it up on the ISMACS website and the machines there are all listed there with their function and whether they are domestic/industrial. I hadn't noticed before that a few are listed as 'Artisan' machines and specifically for tailoring/dressmaking. I was beginning to think it was another of those 'semi-industrial' things, but after looking at some old catalogues it's real enough. It appears that some machines were made with features of industrials - the bigger motor, knee-lifter, similar build of the machine head - but not the same super speeds (they are between 1000-3000 spm).

It makes sense when you think about it; since in hand-tailoring you don't have the machine running day-in-day-out like some sort of clothing factory. The reliability of an industrial is there and some of the speed, along with the knee-lifter, but without the need to have it running all day at rocket speed.
Another machine that fits this description is the Pfaff 138, which looks obviously like an industrial, but isn't self-oiling and doesn't run past 2500-3000 spm. It also has the zig-zag function. There seem to be others and they are all from more than 45 years ago.

It seems the manufacturers have forgotten about these machines and there is no middle ground between a flat out industrial machine and a domestic. The modern industrials are now faster and with all kinds of things like the thread sweeper, cutter and all sorts of functions designed for factory use. They are of little use to the smaller-scale artisan and yet domestics are sometimes just not enough; certainly not the modern ones.

I perceive a gaping hole in the 'continuum'.

‘Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

spookietoo

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2018, 05:39:03 AM »
Henry - I've recently seen one of those Singers and I thought it quite peculiar - a treadle with a motor and a housing resembling a 66. I thought it was something that had been "doctor'd".

Now to see if it was my Craigslist or a thrift store......

Not on craigslist.....think I remember the dark corner it was hidden in at which thrift store - priciest in town. Not open today. Change of plans for tomorrow for sure.

spookietoo

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2018, 07:15:28 AM »
Henry - the Ismacs website has the needle listed as 16 x 251.  Schmetz has a 16 x 251L (long) available with a 3-4 week lead time. Probably manufactured as ordered. Where they charge $36 for a bundle of 100 From their website (these are cheaper from distributors), they charge $185 for a bundle of 100 of the 16-251L. I can buy a pack of 10 of these for $11 US.

I know there are some vintage Singers that use what others have described as "discontinued" needle sizes. Is this what they mean? Do you know?

Just something to consider.

Henry Hall

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2018, 07:39:42 AM »
I couldn't say. I know some of those old industrial Singers, though mostly the obscure and cancelled ones, used specialist needles, but the extant ones seem to use available needles. Both the 1200 and 1300 use needles that are available.

As far as Singer machines go I only have domestic ones - 15, 128. The others are Pfaff and all of them use the same standard needles you can get anywhere.

My Juki uses 'system 134' needles and they are very available.
‘Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Dunc

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 11:41:43 PM »
I have a Janome 1600P that might fit in this niche - metal construction, knee lifter, thread cutter (with optional remote switch) rotary hook, takes industrial feet and HLx5 high speed needles, up to 1600 SPM, separate bobbin winder motor, etc... Straight stitch only. I was toying with the idea of an industrial, but my sewing machine dealer persuaded me that this was more practical for a domestic setting, and I think he's probably right. He assures me that it'll last practically for ever - claims that he has one customer that uses one so heavily that most of the enamel's worn off it.

theresa in tucson

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2019, 01:23:15 AM »
Bernina makes the 950 which would fit this bill.  Consew actually makes the 950 for Bernina nowadays but the older ones were made by Bernina.  We have one of them at the community college where I take sewing classes.  If it were placed in a better location that would be my machine of choice as it does everything my 930 does and faster with more stable foot pressure.  It also uses the older Bernina feet which makes it compatible with my Bernina.  It's stored against the wall next to the two Juki industrials and must share its table with the coverstitch machine and some half scale dress forms so the lab has effectively made it unusable.

Hendrick

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2019, 06:48:54 AM »
Hi,
I was impressed by the Juki qvp 2200, it is fast and has ample arm stretch (“harp space”😀 for americans). At around 1500 € it’s not cheap and that is without the table... But it is probably the nicest “semi industrial” I have seen. Then again, being a straight stitcher, she wouldn’t do anything a nice Singer 201 would... Then again, it proves, Henry, that there must be a market for this type of machine, but without the hassle of clunky motors, 3phase power and all that...

Cheers, Hendrick

Futura

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2019, 09:08:55 AM »
I think there genuinely exists a category of "commercial grade" machines for professional commercial use outside of mass production. Not the daft claims of dodgy eBay sellers advertising worn out domestic models as "Heavy Duty" and "Semi-Industrial" with 12 layers of denim wedged under the presser foot... And never mind those UK sellers listing machines and electrical parts complete with fake PAT testing. (Yikes.)

I once had a vintage Wilcox & Gibbs industrial lockstitch machine, complete with its very old clutch motor, in a beautiful wood cabinet. It appeared to have been targeted towards professional seamstresses working from home. Sadly, I never had the chance to play with it before moving countries! I almost bought a Singer 307G2 machine, a zigzag capable industrial model that was actually specifically intended for tailoring, but the brakes failed on our car en route.

I have seen listings for two different Singer 404 machines that appeared to have had factory supplied knee lift levers, in the appropriate industrial style tables. There may have also been a 319K set up the same way, but I can't remember for sure. I can't recall what motors they had, though. Those models are domestic machines, but these definitely looked like they were originally supplied for commercial use.

Hendrick

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2019, 10:32:27 AM »
Hi,
To me, the class of machines, usually referred to as “Gewerbemaschine” by German builders represents the finest of german engineering. Gritzner, Nec hi and Adler produced some of the finest fully mechanical machines. Whereas Pfaffs where either speedstitchers or just great domestics. I personally do not like real industrial machines; they are simply too fast for what I like to do with them. On top of that; what artisan in their right mindneeds 5000 stiches per minute, exept for a sailmaker or an upholsterer? A sturdy, rotary hook machine is fine for me. The difference between the machine classes is also in momentum and moving mass of the machine. A “semi industrial” will go up to 1500 stitches per minute and is usually not self oiling. Because of its’ moving mass it won’t come to a dead stop the split second you lift your foot off the pedal. But it doesn’t, it goes slower anyway. And the punching power comes from where you expect it; the moving mass. An industrial wiil dead stop in milliseconds; it has to, because it is so bleedingly fast. So fast, in fact, that it can sew eight trouser outseams in a single minute... So, for repetive manipulations, where speed is of utmost important, nothing will beat an industrial. For flexible use, I would stay away from them. If had one choice only, I would get me a 201 Singer or a 103 or a Pfaff 30 and retrofit them with a dead silent 500w servo... I’d be happy to go for years!

Cheers, Hendrick

Henry Hall

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2019, 03:48:37 AM »
Since last week I actually have a Pfaff 30 set up with a servomotor in a wooden table and I'm testing it out. It is on a fairly low motor setting because they surely were not made to be run by fast motors. I keep thinking the hook and bobbin case is going to get wrecked so it's kept well-oiled.

The model I'm using is a machine that was virtually untouched until I got it, not a scratch on it. So there's no wear on it...yet. I didn't have another pedal board like on the industrial, so I've improvised with an old bass-drum pedal  ;D. It's a temporary set-up anyway.

‘Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Greger

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2019, 06:48:26 AM »
People can learn to sew at different and variable speeds with the industrial machines.
Another method that works is using a block of wood. Slip the right size under part of the pedal so you can't go any faster.
If you use these machines enough you can gain the skill to go as fast as you want.
A slow machine can only go so "fast". Therefore, limited.
The faster machines allow the operator to gain speed skills. After that, who wants to be forced to go slow?

Henry Hall

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2019, 07:07:19 AM »
I can control the industrial via the pedal. This more about the combination of industrial (servo) motor with a domestic head.
‘Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2019, 09:35:50 AM »
Industrial servo/domestic head sounds a good deal to me. Provided the internal workings are fit enough.

My old 1950's machine heads are robust and accurate stitchers, but the 70's Bernina would probably start smoking with its nylon bushes and gears.

G

Hendrick

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2019, 10:47:55 AM »
Henry, don’t underestimate that Pfaff 30. I also own one, a “spare” from my dad, virtually unused. It has a Pfaff branded laquered piggyback motor, rated at 180 watts and it is fast. I wouldn’t worry taking it up to 1500 or so stitches. In contrast to other pfaffs, these do not have the internal cleated belt but balanced cams instead. Not self oiling, so for continuous daily use, these must be oiled daily...
For commercial use, these were also available with lightweight bakelite handwheels, for faster starting and stopping. I think that says something about the quality of the build.
Anyway, yours sounds nicely set up. So it may be a nice idea to cut off a pair of drum sticks and mount them on the table as spool pins to match the foot pedal. With your dead silent servo instead of a whining clutch motor and some Miles Davis in the background, what more could you wish for?

Cheers, Hendrick

hutch--

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Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2019, 01:18:22 PM »
When I first started on a domestic rather than using a fried's industrial, I found a mint condition Bernina 707 which was a very nice small machine to use. I made a lot of stuff on it but one day on my way to do some shopping I passed a garage sale from a small business closing down and saw this Elna for $20.00 AU so I bought it. Did it the gross dis-service of actually cleaning and oiling it properly and who ho, it was like a rocket.

Did a bit of hunting around and found the model that takes cams, a circa 1970 Supermatic and went looking for them on Ebay. Found one very good one from country Victoria (in Australia) that still had the original receipts and was like new. The 1970 price on the receipts was into the rediculous range, it was that expensive back them. Cleaned and oiled it and it was absolutely perfect, nothing to fix and it ran like a new one. Hooked another from South Australia and later did a dirty deal with an old dealer, swapped an old black Singer that was a collectors item for well over 100 cams for the Elna and apart from ducks and flowers, there were many useful stitches in the collection.

With both of the Elnas, if you put the boot into them they start to walk across the table but the speed is great if you are doing multi-step zip zags on high stretch fabrics.

My favourite industrial is an old fully manual Consew that a friend of mine owns. Wide bed, mechanical clutch and a dedicated straight sewer and fast enough to sew ship sails with but she has used it for years making often very fine garments so it seems to come with practice.
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D