Featherweight Fanatics Archives



Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 08:21:27 -0700
From: Jim 
Subject: Down Memory Lane

Hello Feathers
I have seen several postings about some of you finding sewing machines
with odd names that were made in the 50's and 60's.
I was visiting a sewing machine store in Boise Idaho yesterday and the
conversation with the owner made me think back to  thosedates and I
thought I would share a bit of sewing machine sales history with you.
In the late 50's and 60's the sewing machine manufactors in Japan began
to flood the US market with very inexpensive "knock off" machines based
on the very famous Singer 15 class machine.One merchant marine told me
that on the docks in Japan one could buy a sewing machine like this for
under $10.00,
When they got here they had no name. There were two holes drilled in the
head and a name plate could be ordered with most any name on it. These
were called "blanks".
These machines were sold by dealers all over the country by pushing them
as "Singer's
second line" machines without the name.
The best thing that Singer ever did to promote the sale of these machine
was to introduce the model 237 on the market. It was promoted all the
time for $88.00 in our stores and we sold tons of them. It was the first
machine that made a zig zag stitch and was this inexpensive. This gave
rise to a way of selling machines that I still see once in a while even
now, if you can believe it.
A sales organization with less than desireable ectics would take the 237
and make it look terrible, burn the plastic top with a cigarette, chip
lots of paint off it, loosen the take up lever so it would hit the end
plate when it sewed, turn the needle backwards so it would not sew and
loosen the connecting rods so your neighbor could hear it sew.
They would then send a front man ahead of the salespeople to run adds
and get leads by advertising "REPOSSESSED SINGER ZIG ZAG makes
buttonholes, mends, appliques,
mends, hems, all without attachments. ONLY $27.88 OR THREE PAYMENTS OF
The leads would pour in and the deception began. The sales crew would
pass themselves off as collectors for a finance company. They would
bring this beat up, ugly, noisy, non sewing, heavy machine and attempt
to demonstrate it. Within two minutes you would not have taken it if
they gave it to you. Well they just happen to have another on that is
less than four months old that an old lady bought just before passing
away. Her husband ask them to take it back and they are trying to sell
it for him for what is left owing on his loan, only $178.59 or some
other figure that they came up with depending how prosperous the
customer appeared. Well you get the picture.
I know a man here in northern Calif that became independently wealthy
selling this way.
So anyway these machines are all over the place with names that no one
has ever heard of. As it turns out these machines were able to last
quite a while and were decent machines.
For us that were Singer employees they were eating our lunch so we
started quite an advertising campaign on the 237 letting the customers
know that we had an offering that would compete with the "bait and
switch" people.
Pardon me if I have rambled this morning. The man in Boise and I went
down memory lane and thought you might enjoy joining us. Thanks  Jim

From: "Betty Burdick"
Subject: help with a treadle
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 21:31:01 -0500

Dear Feathers  - please help.  I have a Singer treadle - I bought from my
friend for $75.00.  It had belonged to her Mom.  I bought it for $75.00.  I
love the old machines and couldn't resist.  I have been learning some great
info from FWF and thank all of you.  I am just starting my research on my
machines.  I am still still searching for that special find for my
Featherweight though! I thought I was the only one insane over SM's.  Both
the FWF and ISMACS sites are great!

It has a serial number of B183109  - can anyone help determine the date and
model of the machine?  On the throat plate there is patent pending dates
from Dec 3,1882; Sep 22, 1885; Jul 19,1887; Aug 21,1888;  Why all the dates?
How does the bobbin wind and go in the case it fits in (is this what is
called a shuttle bobbin?)It looks like it just lays on top of this hook
that's under the throat plate.   Any tips on that or putting the belt on
would help.

Would a manual be available on this machine?     Most of the Singer name
has been rubbed off, but I can still see it, the cabinet is in poor
condition, but I love it!  My friend says her Mom used it a lot,  I am
anxious to get it going, but really need help with the bobbin.  I have
cleaned and oiled it best I know how at this point.

From: IndianClay
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:08:16 EDT
Subject: Accessories?

Hello all !

Two weeks ago I got my first FW! Yippee! My "new" 221 is a series AL. The 
condition it's in is an 8. The carrying case is almost like new. The handle 
has electrical tape wrapped around it but that's OK with me. And I really 
love that musty smell when I open it! reminds me of the library i used to go 
to as a young student! :-) 

Anyway, the FW came with some accessories in a green cardboard box but I'm 
not sure if they "match" the FW. Maybe someone can advise me. Two parts have 
numbers that don't match the accessories list we have here at FWFanatics. The 
number on the box is "wrong" too. Here's what I have: Adjustable Hemmer: no 
#. Multiple Slotted Binder: # 160847. Gatherer: no #. Ruffler: # 86642. The 
box end says it is for Class 306 machines and the 3 is 160977. Are these 
useable for my FW? Should I go back to the woman I bought this from and tell 
her she gave me the wrong stuff?

Thanks, Charane
Las Vegas,NV

From: "Wendy Nail" 
Subject: newbie
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 07:10:38 -0700

Hi all,
    I am so facinated by this site.  I can't wait to get granny's old 66
running.  My question is, how does one spot a FW and what makes it 
different from other machines?  I was planning to buy a new machine but 
think now that I would rather have a FW to do my quilting on, I just 
don't know what I am doing yet.  If anyone can recomend a book I would 
appreciate it.
    Thanks Wendy

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 15:58:35 -0500
From: Joyce S Clark 
Subject: accessories

Hi All:  I have a 1945 and a 1951 Featherweight and love to take them to
sewing classes.  I am looking for a 1/4" foot and all a plate with seam
allowances marked on it which I understand it possible to purchase,  Can
you direct me to a source.  Thanks

Joyce (sewsew) Clark, Owner of Folk Art Frocks, Producer
fine wearable art and quilts for the body, located in
Oshkosh (B'Gosh) Wisconsin
Attitude is contagious.  Is yours worth catching!!


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