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Jax

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hello!

I lucked out - seriously, bought it by picture - on an 1883 Singer Improved Family with Oscillating Shuttle treadle machine.  It had the Forget-Me-Not flower decals.  It works wonderfully.

I have since found they are very rare.  I have found just three others on line (pictures, not machines, shown for example).

I need guidance - Do I simply keep it clean and oiled and do nothing more to safeguard the antiquity?  Do I strip it completely and restore just the japanning?

And, should I provide for it to be donated to a museum or something?  

I bought it only because it reminded me of my Grandmother's machine.  I had no idea what I had.  

Thoughts?   I want to preserve it.

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #2 
1. Welcome!
2. Thanks for asking!
3. The Singer IF is a Great machine. I have two. 

You can post pictures here, that would help us to give better advice.  The little icon that looks like a tree is the link to add a picture.

In general, the Doctors motto of "Do no harm" is a good place to start.  Cleaning the machine, the wood, and the treadle irons with sewing machine oil and a soft cloth is almost never harmful, and can REALLY bring back the look of the machine.  You may be surprised.  

The IF's were solidly made and worked exceptionally well, so it is no uncommon to find them so well used as to have NO decals left.  The more original decals yours has, the more it is worth, to collectors, or museums.  Most museums do not take sewing machines, unless they have a particular provenance that make them worth displaying.  I have one with 85%+ of the decals left and it is in the full parlor cabinet, still it is probably only worth $1-2,000 depending on the market at the time.  

With that said there were several different variants of this machine over the years, and some are rarer than others and may be of particular interest to collectors (we have several here who are mildly obsessed with the IF....

That are well worth cleaning up and learning to operate.  Great stitching machines.
 

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johnstuart

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Reply with quote  #3 
Steve i am not mildly obsessed, i am completely obsessed by them..... Welcome to the group Jax, didn't you once have an icon that looked like a Rottweiller? I love these machines and have been looking into the history and the models of the fiddlebased "class 15 " machines for a while now. The reason for me looking into them was like you said, "so little information on them ". Why class them as a class 15 if the class 15 bobbin doesn't fit is what i said to myself. Then i proceeded to find out why. My first oscillating shuttle Singer is in the records as an IF, but it is of a class 16 size, or to make it short the Singer Improved Manufacture (IM). Mine uses the 15x1 needle and i think that is why Singer listed it in their records as an IF, not the 16x1 needle as most IM machines do.

A Singer IF machine can be domestic or industrial or mid range "tailor" , they are the sum of their parts and there are 23 models called an IF presently online ( that i have found out about so far). Steve here has a Singer IF called a Singer 9 IF for ornamental work on another thread from 1890 and is a good example of that machine. This maybe what is presently called a singer 15-9, but have found no original documents to prove that. This model fell out of fashion as the fashion industry changed and the Singer line changed. There is a glimpse of what the "OS" shuttle machines were to the sewing industry in the ISMACS edition number 127, changing the industry forever. The article shows original write up from the period of introduction of those machines and what the manufactures wanted.

The 1890 that Steve has is listed as 1890 if i think in the main list of threads and may be on the page 2 by now.

Please load pictures!!!! I can show what to look for to figure out what IF you have and how to operate that strange pressure bar set up. I  love the 1879-1883 presser bar system.

  John Stuart
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #4 
The link that John was referring to about SteveH's 1890 IF is at http://www.victoriansweatshop.com/post/1890-singer-improved-family-9845828?trail=100

Enjoy.

Janey

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Jax

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Reply with quote  #5 
20180123_150036 with fur helper.jpg  20190421_164553 Serial Number.jpg  20190421_164603 Label.jpg  20190421_165841 Whole thing.jpg 
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Jax

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Reply with quote  #6 
20180122_142453 Left Side.jpg  20180122_160352 Left Underside.jpg  20190421_164615 Arm.jpg  20190421_164624 Surface closeup.jpg 
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Jax

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Reply with quote  #7 
20180122_142311 Patent numbers.jpg  20180122_142354 Bobbin Winder.jpg  20190421_164635 Base front.jpg  20190421_164653 Base front.jpg  20190421_165225 Top Right.jpg  20190421_165317 Base closeup.jpg 
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Jax

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Reply with quote  #8 

All of the above are mine.

This one, is not, but I can see the outline of the same stencils on mine.  They will not come up in a photo, tho.

1883 IF with decals not mine.jpg 


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johnstuart

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Reply with quote  #9 
Jax, you machine is a transition model from the presser bar to presser spring system. Your machine has a spring that goes around the presser bar post to provide pressure. The system earlier in 1883 had a solid bar that provided the tension and ran from the presser bar into the arm of the machine. The second model that you showed that was not your machine is this bar type tension. You can see the tension adjustment on the top of the arm in the decaled machine shown, your machine is adjusted with the faceplate tension on top to compress the spring around the presser bar to provide tension. Your model is the first year they did this. The year later in 1884 they changed the presser and needle bar to a plain top instead of the finial on top of them.

It is rare, and refinishing the surface would ruin the originality of the machine.

Your machine has the industrial type needle clamp and the industrial type, but not exclusive to the industrial, bobbin winder. It appears to be a Highly ornamented tailor machine. Might take a 16x1 needle,but doubtful being a HO Improve Family. This is a nice semi industrial machine.

  John Stuart
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #10 
Those sticky labels are a nice touch, but I'm not sure I'd do that:  I've lost both bits of decal and bits of crackled paint to adhesive as weak as that on blue masking tape.  Took me two times to start remembering, and it removed some of the original japanning on my New Family as punishment.  I now won't put anything stronger than a post-it on an antique machine.

I print labels on heavy weight printer paper, and give them a bit of a fold so they stand up a bit.  They're not attached to the machine, but if they're displaced they never travel far -- they're for guests, more than for me.

paul

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Jax

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Reply with quote  #11 

Wow, thanks, John!   

Paul, that label was for me.  I did so much research I had to stick the label to know what I was shopping for.


I use this machine!  It sews pretty well, except some bobbins bind . . .  it came with only one bobbin.

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SewXwhat

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Reply with quote  #12 
I have a Singer Improved Family -on the right of this photo. It took me a while to figure out how to thread the bobbin below, once I closed its little case. Sews like a dream. No decals, and the cabinet is a bit rough, but we still love them, right? 😊❤️

Congratulations to you, and hello to all. I paid $40.00 in greater Orlando for this machine.

That date of 1850 isn’t correct, it’s what the people guessed, and I wrote it down. Presser bar is rough to adjust still. Everything was frozen. .

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Jax

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Reply with quote  #13 

Does anyone know where on the table the bobbin tensioner should be mounted?

I have one; I just do not know where it mounts.

20180122_142354 Bobbin Winder.jpg 


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SewXwhat

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Reply with quote  #14 
Maybe this will help :-)

https://www.woodlandquiltworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Singer-Improved-Family-15-1-Manual.pdf

I am including a photo of where it is on mine.

Attached Images
jpeg E956AACD-4225-4D4A-B64A-0E4E2A04F531.jpeg (149.47 KB, 11 views)

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johnstuart

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Reply with quote  #15 
Sewxwhat that is a different system then Jax's machine. Jax i think, but not for sure that it is the same as my IM and the thumb and forefinger is the tensioner. The tensioner on Sewxwhat's machine is 1884-1895 later version and dealt with the finger work of winding a bobbin. This is when they were thinking about " automatic" bobbin winding. A 15-30 manual might help, but is a newer version of the light tailor machine.

  John Stuart
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Jax

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstuart
Sewxwhat that is a different system then Jax's machine. Jax i think, but not for sure that it is the same as my IM and the thumb and forefinger is the tensioner. ...

  John Stuart


Well, dang it.  I am not at all good at that.  Thank you, John.

I have one that can be screwed down.  Right now, it is on a piece of wood I clamp on the table.  It is better than I if I keep the wood aligned.
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SewXwhat

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Reply with quote  #17 
You’re welcome!
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