It's been a long time coming but I finally got my first real-life honest-to-goodness industrial sewing machine. And as the title states, it's a Singer 111W155. This machine weighs in at a portly 61.5 pounds. Yes, that is only the sewing machine unit. The table/motor is probably another 80 or 90 pounds, although I didn't weigh it. Here she be in all her glory ('scuse the dust).
I've sewed through a lot of heavy duty things on my domestic machines such as leather and canvas, and they do quite well, but having a true industrial..... well, it's just cooler to a sewing machine nut such as myself.
A 111W155 has the following features:
Single needle (135x17), lock stitch, compound feed (woohoo!) with a vertical-axis sewing hook (horizontal bobbin), and alternating pressers with 1/2" lift (W152, W153 are "only" 3/8" lift). Maximum stitch length is 3 1/2 to the inch (W152 through W154 max stitch length is 5 per inch). Safety clutch prevents hook from being damaged by accidental strain. Adjustable lifting eccentric to instantly set the alternating pressers to the minimum amount of lift required. Max speed 3500 R.P.M. (W152 through W154 max 2900). For stitching upholstery work, leather coats, buff wheels and binding heavy felt padding.
The "W" in the serial number indicate the machine was made in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Below are a few photos showing the "industrial-ness" of this behemoth.
If you've read my past blogs, you probably know I'm a sucker for the extra "stuff" that might come in the drawers/nook/crannies of a sewing machine. Well, this time was a fairly good gold mine. The two items that were the most exciting for me to see were an original owner's manual and parts book, seen in the photo below. Among other things are various feet and bobbins, and a spare clutch disk and motor pulley. The pulley is larger than what's on the motor now, so the large pulley would make the machine go faster than the small pulley, so I imagine I'll leave the small pulley on.
Below is the part number on the box of the large pulley. [edit 11/24/15: The part number on the box (994492) is for a 'slow speed' 1-3/4" diameter pulley that came installed on the machine. The p/n for the larger 2-3/4" 'standard speed' pulley is 994500. I swapped pulleys to see how much different it handled - truth is, not much difference that I could tell, so now the 2-3/4" standard pulley is installed.]
Below are a couple tags that originally came with the machine and were in one of the booklets.
Below is the back side of the tag shown above.
I don't know if Lester (if I'm interpreting that right) is the original owner or not. The manual revision is "1256", so I'm assuming the machine was sold in the late '50s.
Everything about this machine is original Singer, even the light (yes, the wiring is a bit crusty), 1/2-hp motor, and control box (actually, "Electric Transmitter Switch" is on the label - oooh, sounds so much more important than "On/Off Switch").
Below is a photo of the whole shebang.
Oh, and if you happened to notice the belt in the previous photo, that is one very good reason I won't be able to try this machine out until I do some fairly major work to it. The offending piece is a timing belt between the upper and lower shafts. Fortunately the belt broke the day I went to look at the machine, before I'd arrived at the seller's house, so that was a bargaining chip for me. I would have been a bit bummed if I'd gotten the machine home and then it let go. A new belt is ordered and hopefully won't be too terribly difficult for me to install. Time to read up on how to do it.
I wanted to add a little addendum to this blog that explains the difference between the terms "needle feed", "walking foot" and "compound feed". Hopefully I'm correct in all this terminology.
This system has a standard presser foot that
presses down on the fabric. The needle, after piercing the fabric, moves in unison with the lower feed dogs, assisting in moving the fabric along, but the upper foot remains stationary except for the fact it is pushed up slightly by the lower feed dogs when they raise up to contact the fabric.
"Walking Foot" or "Vibrating Foot"
On a walking foot machine, the upper foot "walks" or moves in unison with the lower feed dogs. When the feed dogs move to the rear, the upper foot also moves to the rear, so the fabric in the machine is being pulled through by both the top and bottom feed mechanism. On a standard domestic machine, the lower feed dogs do all the work, and the upper foot stays stationary, providing only downward pressure on the fabric.
feeding system is more complex, in that it has a walking foot of sorts, a needle feed, and
bottom feed dog. The "walking foot" moves in conjunction with the needle feed and the feed dogs. During this motion, the presser foot raises up to allow the fabric to move to the rear with the feed dogs and needle feed. Once the needle lifts out of the fabric at the end of the stitch, the presser foot again presses down on the fabric to hold it in place as the needle and upper "walking foot" move forward to the next position.