Sunday, April 10, 2016

RAGS........ 401A

This is sort of a continuation of the last blog posting. And the title probably gave it away (for those sewing machine nuts out there - you know who you are). Here is my second purchase at RAGS.

So there my wife is, standing guard over two sewing machines on the floor at the Rotary Auction Garage Sale, one of them being the Spartan I blogged about yesterday, and the second one is today's subject. A Singer 401A from the late 1950s.

You see, a 401A is one of those sewing machine models that many people think is one of Singer's finest machines ever made. It has many features that make it so desirable, such as a direct-drive gear-drive motor, steel gearing (not belts or cams), rotary hook, hardly a plastic part to be found on it, a host of stitch patterns, and many more. So let's get to the one I picked up for $5 at RAGS.

The outer case is quite a mess, and one latch is broken, so I think this case is a total write-off, but that is one reason it was so cheap. I can look beyond the carrying case.

Too bad about the broken latch, because it could have looked nice with a little cleaning.

Here is the mighty 401A in all its messy glory.

Much better looking now with the rats nest removed. Well, not literally...

The bobbin winding tire has certainly seen better days. I'd say it is the original that came with the machine.

The two spool pins on the top of the machine are missing but new ones are a mere internet click away.

Ooh, look at all those stitches that can be done on this bad boy (girl?).

Both selector knobs are frozen tight from dried oil and sitting for who knows how many years. Fortunately they are fairly easy to get moving again.

Doesn't this machine look so nice, even for being almost 60 years old. It's probably been sitting in the back of someone's closet for 30 or 40 years, since it looks in quite nice shape for not even being cleaned up yet.

I'll try to do a blog in the future on what I do to get this gem in working order again.


  1. I cannot believe someone sold that 401 for $5! What a great find! I bet the carrying case will clean up well with some dish soap and water. A carrying case with a broken latch is better than no carrying case at all - keeps the dust off of it :-)

    1. I know, who'da thunk $5 would buy this? I will try to clean the carrying case and even try to repair the broken-off latch. I'm just not sure what kind of glue might hold things together. Maybe epoxy...

  2. Wow want a find! Beats the 401 I bought at the Goodwill Outlet Store in Seattle for $8! Couldn't transport the original quilting table it was in, but took the head home, replaced a few missing parts, thoroughly cleaned it, had my mechanic tune it up, found an original cabinet, and sold it on eBay to a good home. Hope yours has a good home too!