Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yet Another Garage Sale (YAGS) - 5 machines (3 Singers, a New Home and a Universal)

At work I live in the world of acronyms (civil service - Navy), so it's no surprise I attempt to do the same when at home. Thus the title of today's post. YAGS.

Some garage sales are good, and some are really good, while others are in the category of why-did-I-waste-precious-brake-material-stopping-for-this. Well, today's garage sale had five vintage machines. The lady had a lawn full of stuff but my eye immediately spotted the row of sewing machines on the grass even before I got the car parked. Apparently the garage sale had been going on for two weekends and this was the second day of the second weekend, so I'm presuming they were wanting to unload stuff. And I was right. While the sewing machines were not a screaming deal (which would have been on the order of a buck apiece), I did walk away with five machines for $25. Not bad for 100+ pounds of cast iron, steel and a bit of plastic. I didn't take a very good look at the machines prior to settling on a price but figured I couldn't go wrong. Now on to the down and dirty, emphasis on dirty.

If I had to choose the best machine of the five, it would probably have to be the Singer 66-4. Once I got it home, I noticed the very nice decals on it. I believe they're called Red Eye. The one downside to this machine is it is only forward stitching - no reverse. See the small knob beneath the bobbin winder? Thread that puppy all the way in and you have a long forward stitch. Thread it out all the way and the stitch length is 0, or nearly so. Sounds so convenient, doesn't it, but I guess back in the good ol' days, you didn't mess with stitch length much (as in the old commercial - just set it and forget it), especially when you didn't need to be bothered with such things as reverse. The machine does have the cool spoked handwheel and vintage layer of dust though.


The next best machine in the group is the Domestic Admiral, a Class 15 clone with the upper thread tension knob poking out the left side of the end cover. I never could understand the logic behind Singer putting the take-up lever and tension knob on the end cover of their Class 15 machines. Sewing machines are easier to thread with those items on the front of the machine.


Third in line would be the New Home model NLB. The friction drive disk has a massive divot in it from being pressed on the handwheel for the last who knows how many decades, but it can probably be saved.


The final two machines are Singers, an early 60s model 417 missing the needle plate and spool post, and an early 70s model 603E missing parts of the stitch length lever mechanism. The 603E did come with a cam under the hood, I guess to make up for the missing parts...



So there you have it. A good find at a local garage sale.

7 comments:

  1. The Singer 603e has metal gears. I own one. It's a keeper!

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  2. Have you greased up the Singer Touch & Sew 603e yet? I want to know what you think?

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    1. No I haven't made it down the stack to the 603 yet. Someday soon hopefully.

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  3. You profile says you're an engineer, is that correct? If so, I would love to hear your opinion on whether you think a slant needle Singer machine like the Singer 603e has less piercing power than a vertical needle singer. To make an adequate comparison we would probably have to be comparing the same motor & internal mechanical set up - correct? And I don't think that's possible. I'm asking because I always assumed the vertical needle machines had more piercing power. Your thoughts?

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    1. I've heard that the slant needle was mainly for better needle visibility for the operator but I don't know for sure. Just thinking about it in my head, I would think that pushing a needle through fabric at an angle would slide through easier than pushing the needle through the fabric at a 90 degree angle. I really have no idea, and getting a definitive answer regarding sewing machine needle orientation would be difficult. Best regards.

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  4. Does the Singer 417 have metal gears?

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    1. Sorry, I don't have an answer for you. Maybe someone else will chime in. This 417 of mine is a parts machine at the moment and I haven't delved into it.

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