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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #351 
That's what she said and what it looks like to me.

Cari

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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #352 
Ok then!
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Cecilia

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Reply with quote  #353 
I’d like to know the story behind these clones being made in Japan. Is there something here in the archives?

I’d like to more things such as, Why did Japan make sewing machines, and so well? Was Brother an original Japanese brand? How did they clone singers and not get into trouble? Etc etc.... Thanks!

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #354 
Brother is an original Japanese company: formed in 1908 as the Yasui Sewing Machine Company they first began repairing machines, but started making their own in 1928 under the name 'Yasui and Brother's' and continued as such until they formed 'Brother International' in 1955. In Japan: Yasui was renamed to Nippon Sewing Machine Manufacturing Company and the export side was 'Brother International' which would eventually become Brother Industries.

The long standing rumor is that the US Government gave a Japan manufacturer(s) the Singer 15 designs. The big effort after the war and during occupation was to allow Japan to rebuild with a concentration toward domestic use products... How exactly the Government was allowed to do this is of considerable speculation - also in question is the proprietary nature of those designs since the patents could have been expired. I might have imagined it all, but I could have sworn I read once that the patent officer at Singer had been on vacation and completely forgot about renewing the 15 patents - which allowed for a shorter time in which they became public.

Not that you asked directly but: Janome began as the Pine sewing machine company in 1921 in Japan until they bought the US founded New Home Sewing Machine Company in 1960. Juki (still around) began in Japan in 1945. Jaguar Sewing Machines (still being made today) started in 1949 as Maruzen and manufactured decades of Kenmore machines for Sears & Roebuck beginning in 1957 and stretching into the 1980s.

That's the short list of manufacturers of sewing machines that are still around from Japan - and still owned by the original companies. What happened to all the other Japanese manufacturers is a question I have no answer for. Other sewing machine companies that still own themselves: Babylock Sergers of Japan, Baby Lock sewing machines of Missouri, Bernina and Elna of Switzerland. Most other 'major' sewing companies have been bought, sold, merged or incorporated into holding groups (Singer,White, Pfaff, Necchi, Gritzner, Husqvarna, Viking etc).  Of the dozens of Japanese companies that made sewing machines, many are gone or dropped sewing machines in favor of more profitable products. (Toyota, Soryu and etc). I did read recently that Nelco still makes industrials? If so they were a US founded company that planned on having Japan make the machines from the onset - same business model as Morse.

*I may have forgotten someone, like say Adler, or other more commercial oriented manufacturers.



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Cecilia

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Reply with quote  #355 
Jim, thanks!!!!

The part about the patents and possible expiration-on-vacation, and also the US Gov giving the designs to Japan is erotically fascinating. Do you (or does anyone else here) have anything more about that?

Random questions that spring to mind are, can a government really give such a thing to another government? Were there also machines involved, or did Japan have to tool up from scratch in order to get producing? And any thoughts as to why the US government would have wanted to:

a) give away production plans that would take away business from their home factories and
b) why Japan specifically and
c) why sewing machines - was there a particular boom then?)
d) any idea what year this happened?

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #356 
Rumors abound. I've heard every sort of thing from the rolled up blueprints handed over at an undisclosed location to some Officer's wife brought her 15 to Japan and it was meticulously copied.  I have no idea if Singer even knew it happened, but to be honest they didn't seem too concerned. The new slant needle machines were the future and it appears as though they were planning to end 15 production.

Social attitudes in Japan were quite different than those in Europe. I don't think the US (or anyone else for that matter) recognized the level of enthusiasm and verve the Japanese had to emulate their victors. The policy then was to concentrate on rebuilding the Japanese society and domestic goods were in high demand. Foundries and factories quickly flipped over to begin producing appliances. This flip brought jobs and payrolls and it took off at a crazy high rate of speed thanks in part to a whole lot of investment by the US. Japan would have brand new factories online while many US concerns struggled to retool. 

Sewing machines became only one little niche of an ever growing multitude of consumer products. Even then though... the Japanese went very quickly from making a 15 copy to zigzag machines with pattern cams and suddenly they were in the thick of it when it came to worldwide competition. A lot of times you'll read ridiculous statements in 'sewing machine histories' that say "because of the flood of cheap Japanese machines" this happened or that happened to American producers. This is absolute hooey. American producers and sellers such as White of Cleveland and Sears & Roebuck went to Japan to have their machines made there and although the costs were lower, the quality was not. Morse began in 1948 with the model of design here and build there, and Nelco followed. The idea that the Japanese had this pile of poorly made machines and were looking for a market to flood is outrageous. We went to them and opened our own flood gates. Out-sourcing became a legitimate business model. Social attitudes in the US took a lot longer to flip. Some still continue to profess that these machines were inferior in quality - which is now quite obviously untrue.

I can't say when the first 15 copies began to reach the US, but White SMC of Cleveland was playing with sourcing machines from Japan in what appears to be about 1953. Morse was founded on the idea of having Japanese made machines in (I believe) 1948 but it could be 47. Jolson (the single importer responsible for bringing Necchi, Elna and Pfaff into the US) made overtures to the Japanese with his new Nelco branded machine designs in I believe 1955 but I could be wrong there.  Sears & Roebuck contracted with Maruzen and Soryo in 1956.

*with apologies to Zorba. Will try to limit derail. =)


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*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #357 
It's important to remember that by the end of WWII, the model 15 had been in production for 50 years already.  Even if they hadn't gotten plans, it would have taken an industrious engineer what, a week? two? to fully blueprint the design by disassembling existing machines.  And the goal was to get their economy going, quickly.

paul
(Is anyone else wondering, just a little, about these topics being erotically fascinating?  :-) )

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Cecilia

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Reply with quote  #358 
So, was it just post-WW2 that this happened? It seems as though the Japanese clone machines I see are from 1950 and onwards...?
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #359 
Post WWII the Japanese began to copy the Singer 15 and did so for years. Occupation of Japan began in August of 1945 and it took a few years to get things up and running. The first Japanese made machines (other than 15s) began to trickle into the market in 1954. Since many of the 15s have no JA or JC number, it's almost impossible to date their production. "Later" or newer models saw minor improvements like the feed dog drop dial while earlier ones did not have such. I believe 15 copies spanned most of the 50s and dipped into the 60s. Now, of course, you have to go to China or India. =) *I don't know enough about the Singer plant that became a part of Russia, or how long that plant continued to make machines to comment*

Prior to WWII it was European and American companies that made lots and lots of copies of Singer machines. Singer model 12s were copied all over Europe while model 27 copies were made right here by a host of American companies (Standard, Mason, Domestic, National, Davis, etc etc etc).

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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
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My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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Romwen

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Reply with quote  #360 
I had heard that the U.S. government persuaded Singer to turn over the Model 15 plans because making sewing machines was a good use for all the machine shops in Japan that had been making precision parts for munitions, airplanes, and other war materiel. It helped Japan rebuild, and Singer was about done making 15's, - also got them in the good graces of the government, and $ may have been involved...

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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #361 
Toyota still makes sewing machines - or at least, there are still Toyota branded ones available.
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Cecilia

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Reply with quote  #362 
Thanks, everyone, for the interesting answers! Especially Jim - you took a lot of time to write all that information.

Kathy’s comment about factories reminded me, didn’t Elna also make parts for guns? Or was that Singer?

Zorba’s mention of Toyota sewing machines made me giggle, so I looked it up... this modern wonder looks funky!!!

Attached Images
jpeg 6975543C-57E9-4588-A70F-B32DDCD4F30A.jpeg (50.99 KB, 11 views)


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Cecilia

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Reply with quote  #363 
Also, was the 15 considered the first “portable”, maybe because it was smaller than the 101? When did the 25 first come into the world? Wasn’t there something about Singer being laughed at NY investors about the idea of the 15, and then it went on to become the best seller?
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #364 
Well, there were portable hand cranks before the 15 came along.  But perhaps you mean, electric?
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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #365 
The 15 isn't smaller than the 101. It has a stouter appearance, whereas the 101 has leaner lines.
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Cecilia

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Reply with quote  #366 
Ahhh, thanks!
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #367 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecilia
Kathy’s comment about factories reminded me, didn’t Elna also make parts for guns? Or was that Singer?

Can't tell you about Elna, but Singer made exactly 500 M1911A1 pistols around the start of WW 2. They are exceedingly sought after - it is said that of the 500 Singer made, only about 2,000 of them remain (lots of fakes)!

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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #368 
The Japanese were manufacturing sewing machines before WWII, we just didn't get them here until after the war. Yes we helped them rebuild their economy but the Japanese Government decided on what industries to rebuild.

Cari

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #369 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WI Lori
The 15 isn't smaller than the 101. It has a stouter appearance, whereas the 101 has leaner lines.


Earlier this summer I was obsessing with the harp space on my machines - after I started using my Singer 48.  Anyhow - the Singer 101 is a match to the 201 from needle to pillar and bed to arm measurements - so the same harp space.  The Singer 15 - still a full size machine - has a smaller harp space (needle to pillar and bed to arm measurements are all less).  I think this is why it looks a bit stouter.  

Unless one has a professional/industrial type machine, it's hard to beat the harp space on the Singers 101/201. Singer 27/127 is at least equal.  I think the White Rotary may be a bit larger and maybe some others from the VS era that I'm not aware.

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Jeanette Frantz

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Reply with quote  #370 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecilia
I’d like to know the story behind these clones being made in Japan. Is there something here in the archives?

I’d like to more things such as, Why did Japan make sewing machines, and so well? Was Brother an original Japanese brand? How did they clone singers and not get into trouble? Etc etc.... Thanks!


Unfortunately, many American manufacturing facilities have either moved out of the US or been forced out due to higher taxes here than in other parts of the world.  This seems to have been the policy of several administrations and has been debated far and wide in areas of manufacturing other than sewing machines.  I'm old enough that as a child, I remember hearing a daily casualty report on the  U.S. military services involved in the Korean War.  I remember that for decades  many manufacturing jobs have been lost because the American tax rates were so much higher than other countries.  The crisis during the early weeks of the Covid-19 outbreak was brutally emphasized when ventilators were not available for seriously ill Covid-19 patients.  There are lots of theories I've heard about keeping our manufacturing companies here in America -- truly, we were lucky that we had some manufacturers still here to manufacture the ventilators and other medical equipment needed to combat the pandemic. 

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Jeanette Frantz, Ocala, Florida
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