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Jim/Steelsewing

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The early days of that new-fangled electricity must have been terribly exciting... if not dangerous! Can you imagine standing on your cane-seat sewing stool to screw the connector into the light plug? And if you did that... wouldn't it limit the light in your sewing space? You only have the one light. Even after clip on lights were made for the sewing machine... you still needed a way to plug it in.

We forget how difficult the new technology could be! It reminds me of a tale told about the first railroad built in some obscure Pennsylvania village. As they neared completion of the rail line which ran from village to coal mine, the company ordered an engine from Philadelphia. The engine was made, set on the tracks, and driven on rails to within 30 miles of its destination. Then, it was partially disassembled, loaded on to flat canal boats and pulled by horses down the canal... only to be re-assembled on the new line when it reached its destination.

Early electricity was often equally troublesome. As the network of alternating current grew larger and larger in the late 1800s, so did the demand for all the new appliances. Electricity was pretty much the same... but the method to connect to it... would often be a matter of where you were. One company offered this connector and another offered a different one, and the appliance makers sometimes offered yet another. The Patent Office was swamped with applications for electric connections and by 1900 no less than thirty different patents issued for an electric plug!

Somehow, out of all this chaos, came Harvey Hubbell and the Hubbell Corporation of Springfield Conn. In 1896 Hubbell patented the pull-chain switch. The first of its kind. The switch was slightly difficult to make... but consumers ate it up. Now they could have a switch that turned things off with out having the expense of having someone add yet another circuit and switch to their home. So the people that left lights on all day... could afford a simple room-by-room solution. The Hubbell chain-pull switch became 'the switch' to own between 1900 and well into the teens.

IMG_4268.jpg 

All of this is well and good, but what on earth does it have to do with Singer? Apparently, for a very brief period of time between 1918 and 1922 Singer sold sewing machines equipped with the Hubbell chain pull switch. I have seen a couple of 1920 era 66's with the chain pull, and my own 1921 Singer 101 also has this light assembly.

IMG_4269.jpg 

It didn't last long and for whatever reasons Singer changed over to the black stem switch in the early twenties. The interesting (?) thing is that Hubbell is still in business today, and they still make a chain pull switch!

My issue with this chain pull is that as well made as they were... apparently they can fail after 99 years. I'm lucky that it has failed in the 'on' position, which is an excellent reminder to unplug the machine when not in use... but I'd still rather fix it.

IMG_4270.jpg 

The problem is that I don't know if I can fix it. I can go out tomorrow and buy any various pull-chain switches that might work... but not with the two-tab appliance bulb pins seen above. Everything today is made for the larger screw-in light bulb. It's doubtful I'll find a replacement, but I haven't given up yet.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 7.56.16 AM.png 

images-1.jpg 
One last interesting fact about Mr. Hubbell... he patented many items including more than one electrical plug, but it was his 1903 flat-pin design that managed to out sell all competitors and eventually became the industry standard - even though he objected! With some minor changes over the years... this is the same electrical plug we use today. Pretty cool huh?

I should also note that in my search for odd electrical bits, I came across the Cole Hersee 2-Pole Pair Connector (CH part number M-121-BX)

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 11.14.11 PM.png 

From the 'looks' of them... they may be the thing to use to interrupt the built-in cabinet knee control wires from the sewing machine - which would allow the machine to be removed easily from the cabinet without having to chase and undo individual wires. The shape of them could never be confused with the power plug. I just found these today online, and I need to order a pair and I'll let you know how it goes. =)


*waves Hi to Zorba* [biggrin]




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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #2 
Commonly known as "Manhattan Connectors". Where did you get them? I didn't know they were still available. I'd be even more excited to find a source of "Chicago Connectors", which are almost the same thing, but with a different kind of backshell - these were used on Nationals. Mahattan Connectors are "partially" interchangeable, but have some problems doing so - at least on National machines.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #3 
I found them by accident, but if you search using:   Cole Hersee M-121-BX I get a bunch of suppliers. Everywhere from that auction site to that once-upon a time book store to boat parts stores. Prices range but with shipping 'about' 20 bucks. Might be cheaper if you buy more to put in one box... I dunno. Just found them two hours ago. =) I haven't had the chance to order any yet.

*also used to connect trailer lights apparently

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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #4 
Jim have you contacted Hubbell about parts? You never know...
Trailer lights for the Hersee connectors? Auto supply store!

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pgf

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Reply with quote  #5 
While it would probably be okay, I can find nothing on the web that says the Cole Hersee connector is rated for 120V use.  They seem to be aimed exclusively at the automotive/trucking market.
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russojgr

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Reply with quote  #6 
I just ordered 3 and will see what they look like when they arrive. I have several old machines which use these, especially on the early motors which pivot on a bracket and use friction wheel to contact hand wheel. I think two of these machines are Western Electric Machines. I’ll post some pictures when I get them along with the vintage plugs for comparison.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #7 
pgf: I couldn't find a rating either, or for that matter a size.

russojar: Looks lie it's up to you to show us how big or small they are!

Lori: The thought did occur to me that perhaps I should contact Hubbell for help... but the chance that they might have any extra parts lying around after 99 years is about as rare as... well, it's about as rare as finding any piece at all on a Singer sewing machine that wasn't stamped with a Simanco number and manufactured by Singer themselves!

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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba
Commonly known as "Manhattan Connectors". Where did you get them? I didn't know they were still available. I'd be even more excited to find a source of "Chicago Connectors", which are almost the same thing, but with a different kind of backshell - these were used on Nationals. Mahattan Connectors are "partially" interchangeable, but have some problems doing so - at least on National machines.


I'm not sure I know the difference but when I was looking for the Cole Hersee M-121-BX
I found https://usermanual.wiki/Catalog/COLEHERSEEELECTRICALCONNECTORS.473767230.pdf there are some other 2 pole connectors on page 9 of the pdf Maybe??

Janey

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #9 
Cole-Hearsey is also a known maker of marine equipment.  Years ago I used to buy a solenoid that was identical to the old Ford version in every respect except it was constant duty (can be left on 100 percent of the time) whilst the Ford one would burn up in minutes if left on.  Best regards, Mike
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
I found them by accident, but if you search using:   Cole Hersee M-121-BX I get a bunch of suppliers. Everywhere from that auction site to that once-upon a time book store to boat parts stores. Prices range but with shipping 'about' 20 bucks. Might be cheaper if you buy more to put in one box... I dunno. Just found them two hours ago. =) I haven't had the chance to order any yet.

*also used to connect trailer lights apparently

Thanx.
Yes, the 4 pin versions were often used for bad trailer connections!

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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OurWorkbench


I'm not sure I know the difference but when I was looking for the Cole Hersee M-121-BX
I found https://usermanual.wiki/Catalog/COLEHERSEEELECTRICALCONNECTORS.473767230.pdf there are some other 2 pole connectors on page 9 of the pdf Maybe??

Janey

I'll be darned - that sure looks like the real deal.

Only one way to find out for sure...

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #12 
If russojar has already ordered three sets...
maybe we should wait and see if it's the real deal and then perhaps several of us could go in on a case of them?
Oh wait, we could resell them here at VSS to help off-set cross-country RV fuel costs!! [biggrin]

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russojgr

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Reply with quote  #13 
I have several Chicago plugs so will be able to show you pictures of both. I’ll post pics once they arrive.
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #14 
I ordered an 1107-F - we'll see if it is indeed a "Chicago connector" when it arrives. That's the semi-good news.

The bad news is that Cole Hersee was taken over by LittleFuse at some point, and they obsoleted these in 2018. Thanx guys. This makes them hard to find and expensive.

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba
The bad news is that Cole Hersee was taken over by LittleFuse at some point, and they obsoleted these in 2018. Thanx guys. This makes them hard to find and expensive.


I have a slew of links I just collected of various sources which claim to still have them in stock. I'll PM them to you.

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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #16 
Those are Manhattans.
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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #17 
I had to laugh at the pull chain lights. My grandmother’s house was one of those Sears houses that nobody ever updated. The upstairs bedrooms had those pull chain lights. Somebody tied strings on them and fastened them to the beds. You could read and when you were done you could just reach up and flip off the light.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miriam
I had to laugh at the pull chain lights. My grandmother’s house was one of those Sears houses that nobody ever updated. The upstairs bedrooms had those pull chain lights. Somebody tied strings on them and fastened them to the beds. You could read and when you were done you could just reach up and flip off the light.


And it seems like this is all coming back again with all the retro reproductions of the pull chains I am seeing.  In some ways I like the simplicity - no remote to fool with!  And let's not forget about all the "smart" devices that I can't seem to get away from...
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba
I ordered an 1107-F - we'll see if it is indeed a "Chicago connector" when it arrives. That's the semi-good news.

The bad news is that Cole Hersee was taken over by LittleFuse at some point, and they obsoleted these in 2018. Thanx guys. This makes them hard to find and expensive.


Good news! The 1107 indeed mates up with National connectors, although its slightly different on the terminal end.

Of course, the fact that its been obsoleted doesn't help anything, but they're still "out there". Photo essay and words forthcoming soon...

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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba


Good news! The 1107 indeed mates up with National connectors, although its slightly different on the terminal end.

Of course, the fact that its been obsoleted doesn't help anything, but they're still "out there". Photo essay and words forthcoming soon...


YEAH! Looking forward to "Photo essay and words"

Janey

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