Thursday, October 31, 2013

Singer 900, why do you growl at me?

I'm not sure how popular Singer 900 sewing machines are. Looking at this one, it seems to be very well built, with typical Singer quality in many places (but then there are other places that are lacking a bit). When I first plugged this one in and fired it up, it growled. Wow. What a noise. I'm thinking it is because it has an electronic motor control and running at slow speed seems to make the various parts vibrate loudly. However, once I oiled it up, the growling subsided substantially. It is now a fine running machine.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Elna Transforma - the little sibling to the Supermatic

This here photo below shows the native form of the elusive friction drive tire on an Elna Transforma sewing machine. The highly technical term for this phenomenon is "flat spot". Ah, the dreaded flat spot.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Montgomery Wards Simplicity - Happy Times

You're thinking, "Huh? What's he so happy about?" Most people wouldn't be too happy about a sewing machine that took the better part of a day to get to stitch properly. My Happy-ness is in this next photo:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Singer 403A Completes The Set

I can finally stop my seemingly endless search for Yet Another Sewing Machine (YASM). Ok, I suppose I can't go so far as to say I'm cured of YASM, but having a complete set of a particular model run of sewing machines is something we 'nuts' strive for.

For those that, when they hear the numbers 401 - 403 - 404 and don't have a clue to what those numbers mean, I'll clue you in. What I'm referring to is when Singer was producing what many think are the quintessential sewing machine family, the Singer slant-needle 400-series.

The model 401 was the top of the line Singer in the late 50s. It could do it all, and it could do it without having to pull one cam and insert another. Scads of stitch options (not sure how many but somewhere between 10 and 100) were available merely by turning a couple knobs on the front of the machine. And it could take cams as well. The 403 was the lower-priced variant that only took cams, no built-in stitches were to be had. The 404 was the straight-stitch variant that was for those looking for no frills, or possibly for use in school home-ec classes.

I have no clue how Singer managed to come up with the numbering scheme they used for sewing machines back then. When I'd mentioned 401, 403 & 404 to my wife and daughter, they immediately asked, "What, no 402?" All I could say was, I have no clue why. And Singer made things more convoluted when they introduced the 500-series. There's a 500 (successor to the 401) and a 503 (successor to the 403). Ok, so the 403 and 503 make sense, but where's the 501, 502 and 504? I just don't know.

Well, now that the (very lengthy) preamble is out of the way, here's the subject of today's blog:


The machine pictured above is the illustrious Singer 403A, the "cam-only" version of the 400-family. I had picked up a 401 some years back and not too long ago I found a 404, so this 403 rounds out the 400-series collection.

It came in a portable Singer case that has seen better days, but I think is salvageable with a fair bit of elbow grease, some warm soap and water, and maybe a little glue.

And it even came with a bunch of attachments and 9 cams.

Not a bad haul, I'd say. The only down side is that the stitch length knob is missing, but there may be one waiting for me on that popular auction site...