Friday, March 15, 2013

Kenmore 158.850

I wonder how much the heaviest domestic sewing machine weighs? Certainly 36 pounds has got to be near the upper end. And why, pray tell, do I arbitrarily choose 36 pounds? It just so happens that this Kenmore 158.850 tips the scale at 16.25 kilograms, or 36 pounds. I'd weigh the machine in pounds but the balance beam scale in the basement is metric.



It's amazing the level of quality these older Kenmores have.


This machine has 7/16" of space under the presser foot, and the next two photos show the machine easily sewing through 8 layers of denim and 4 layers of naugahyde.

 

If you are ever faced with the dilemma of 'should I buy it or not' when staring at an old Kenmore on the shelf in the local thrift store, I would tend to say 'go for it', assuming the price is reasonable. They are the epitome of a workhorse.

15 comments:

  1. Hi,
    I just acquired one of these in working condition. Always a plus. It has the original 7 cams, instruction book and several different feet. It is in a table with a matching chair with storage. I am looking forward to using it as my primary machine. I made the decision to "go for it" based on your posts as to the quality of this brand and model. Thanks!
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool. A vintage Kenmore is hard to beat for durability.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just bought this machine, but no manual, only one foot and one cam, can you help me out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, can't help. You should be able to find most anything you need online though. These machines are fairly generic in the way they thread and operate.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Not sure what you're asking. Most sewing machines of this vintage take a standard size motor, so if you're missing a motor or need to replace one, you can probably buy a decrepit machine from a thrift store and swap motors. Or you can buy a new motor from many online or local sewing machine supply shops. Kenmores of this era usually had a 1 to 1.3 amp motor.

      Delete
  5. Hi my dad found this exact sewing machine and gave it to me. It seems everything is there and it powers on and everything works. But the discs are missing. Is it useless without those? I'd love to use this instead of my current newer machine that is pretty touchy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. No, it will sew straight stitch without cams. The cams are for zig-zag. You can find them easily, as well as other accessories.

    ReplyDelete
  7. No, it will sew straight stitch without cams. The cams are for zig-zag. You can find them easily, as well as other accessories.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I also just acquired one of these! There are so many cams and monogram add ons are there cams that won't work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you browse some place like ebay, you'll see that there are many different types of cams, such as A, B, etc. I believe this 158.850 machine takes Kenmore "E" cams. These cams have a large (3/4" diameter or larger?) center hole with four small holes out from the center and spaced 90 degrees apart. Other Kenmore cams have a smaller center hole, and some have a knob type piece to grasp when installing/removing the cams. So, the short answer is, you'll need to find cams that fit a 158.850.

      Delete
  9. How do I find out if I have a High or low shank machine?,,,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gypsyjojo, the 158.850 is a low shank machine. If you look at a couple of the close-up photos of the foot on this machine, there isn't much room between the foot's screw head and the bottom of the foot. It is 1/2". A high shank foot is 1" between the screw head and the bottom of the foot. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  10. I guess I should have used better I.D. words and mentioned a Low-BAR or High-Bar Kenmore 158-850,,How do I tell the difference?,,,

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so excited. I bought one from the neighbor. It is fully functional. The cabinet looks like new. I have all 7 cams and many other accessories. Feeling blessed

    ReplyDelete