Victorian Sweatshop Forum
Sign up Calendar Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
WI Lori

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,604
Reply with quote  #1 
I have a family of Singer 15s - an -87 RAF, a -90, a -91, as well as a -75 and a -125.
(I'm thinking of keeping the -87 RAF. It's been used, and has enough pin rash that there is a 50cent piece area down to bare metal. I purchased it from a local estate auction, and knew the owner a wee bit. Sweet lady.)

I also have 2 101s and 2 201-2s, planning to keep one each.

Given this information, which 2- 15s would you keep in your stable?

__________________
Lori in Wisconsin
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 301
Reply with quote  #2 
I have an army of 15s and 15 copies, plus a lot of Japanese machines based on the Singer 15. If I was going to keep only a couple of them, and we are talking your inventory, not mine, I would keep the 15-75 because I think the modern design is better than the "old standard" body design, and I would keep the 15-87, because from what I can see of the parts manual it appears to be basically the same running gear as the old Singer 15-30 and the bobbin case is easy as pie to find. The 15-89, 15-90 and 15-91 use the 11 o'clock finger bobbin case. If bobbin case was no problem for you, I would probably go for the Singer 15-90 and the 15-75 if I could only have two. The main reason is they could easily have a new motor fitted if need be, and could be treadled. Not so with the 15-91 and 15-125 with the potted motor and different drive shaft end bushing. By and large, at least at this period in time, motor belts are still easy to get. Replacement potted motors are not available as new replacement parts as far as I have found. 

I haven't looked into converting a 15-90 or 15-75 into hand crank, but it's easy to convert a lot of earlier 15s to hand crank (I suspect the 87 would be good for it) and the Japanese copies are easy to do as well. 

Understand that the Singer 15 mechanism is the most copied in the world and literally millions, if not billions, of machines using the old one o'clock bobbin case and shuttle exist in the world. 

-Bruce
0
samiamaquilter

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #3 
Bruce, can you post pictures of some of your army of 15s? I've only seen and messed with the 90 and 91. I'm delving into my new 91 now. It needs a new bobbin spring as the one on its BC is cracked. I'm just going to get a new BC since they seem to be easier to find than the spring. I cleaned its potted motor and will one day put it all together for a PDF tute for the files. I had cleaned the potted motor of my 201 several years ago and did not make enough pictures when I did it. On this 91, I took it apart months ago and then did not get back to it until now. I had to refigure out things as I reconstructed. At my age, it is best to do the reconstruction fairly fast or have a whole lot of pictures of what you did as you did it...sucks to get old.

Sammie quilter in NC
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 301
Reply with quote  #4 
I don't have photos of all my 15 type machines, but here are a few of them. My treadle in the fancy 32 cabinet is a 15-30, hand crank is 15CH (Chinese copy), one in grass mat case is 15-90, then one of my 15-91s, then 15-75, 15-125, 15-91 from 1933 (front and back - note decal on motor pot), 2. Diamond - front view.jpg  1. Stitchmatic 050 - front.jpg  3. Stitchmatic 050 - head quarter.jpg  6. Stitchmatic 050 - Back - Motor and mount not original.jpg  and two favorite "clones", my Diamond and Stitchmatic 050, which still has the old base on it. I'll be making a custom case for this beauty. Note the light housing on the back.

These are just the ones that are Singer or look like the old Singer style.  Singer Style 32 cabinet with home made desk top cover 2.jpg  Singer 15CH hand crank front.jpg  9. Singer rebuilt original case bottom front view.jpg  4. Singer 15-91 with Centennial badge.jpg  2. Singer 15-75 front.jpg  1. Singer 15-125 front.jpg  DSC00218.jpg  DSC00220.jpg 

-Bruce

0
Mickey

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 450
Reply with quote  #5 
I like the black and gold finish, and if the 15-91 is nice I would keep it. Do you like the potted motor?  It's one reason it's many's favorite. I don't mind the belt driven models at all if it was a particularly nice looking example a machine can become my first chose for nice decals and very good condition. I like the aluminium beige two-tone 201 I have, I'm comparing it to your 15-125, I think it came in green too. In a case, it's much more portable than cast iron version. I would have a hard time choosing one, but it would depend on my requirements at the moment. I don't think either type bobbin case is a problem, they can be tracked down in a few minutes on the web. If you like the revers lever and plan on using it, the later versions have an advantage.
0
samiamaquilter

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #6 
Why do people like the potted motor over the detached motor? I agree with Bruce on being able to easily replace the detached motor on the 90 if needed and is the reason I might prefer it to the 91. But I have not sewn on my 91 yet since I'm still working on it. Finding a replacement potted motor would be hard and I bet you would need the hand wheel gear that meshes with the gear in the motor as well. It would seem to me that once they get used to each other, they are mated for life, just like all us old married folks. I'd hate to go out and find a new husband at this stage of the game...:-)

Sammie quilter in N

You have a beautiful herd of 15 type machines, Bruce. Is that husky stout looking black one (4th from bottom) a German made Singer?
0
Christy

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,369
Reply with quote  #7 
OoooHhh I don't have experience with it hands on, but a black Singer 15-75 "hotty body" is on my short list!  I love the styling!  I have a 15-91 and a 15-125...I can't resist those green Singers!  I had a 15-90 but let that one go in favor of keeping the other two.
__________________
  • Christy
  • Ukiah, California


0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 301
Reply with quote  #8 
The potted motor 15-91 and 15-125 are mechanically superior to a belt driven machine because they have a clutch driven direct drive. Smoother and quieter, they perform wonderfully when in proper adjustment and properly serviced. The belt drive models are easier to repair and maintain, and easy to swap motors if needed.

Take care of the potted motors like they are supposed to be and they will last a long, long time. I have never had problems with slipping belts or belts too tight binding or slowing down a potted motor Singer since those problems don't exist for it. 

To answer the question, the 4th from bottom in the pictures is a Singer 15-75, made in America, I believe. Serial number puts it at a batch listed for 1956. 

Here are photos of that machine. I still need to make a custom case for it, but it's a keeper. I already have the base made for my 15-125 but still need to make the case top for it. 

When I got this machine, it was from Shopgoodwill. It was filthy, like it had set on a dusty shelf for years, and was all out of adjustment. I surmised that someone had taken it apart, put it back together and didn't know how to adjust it. I could barely turn the hand wheel when I got it. It was cinched down on all the adjustments, just about frozen up. 

I got it all adjusted and running at full speed, but it had a knocking sound. It turns out that the feed drive cam needs to be carefully adjusted to make sure the fork is right in the "sweet" spot so it is riding on a full metal to metal fit, not over one of the "voids" like shown on the right. That's what I was hearing. Once properly set, and all the other settings adjusted accordingly, it runs smooth, fast and quiet. 

This machine is the belt drive model in black. The potted motor version, the 15-125, was in two tone green in America, two tone brown and tan in the UK. 

To answer an earlier comment, just about all the 15s made by Singer Since the 1930s and the Japanese copies have the reverse lever. My old 15-30 in the parlor cabinet does not have reverse. 

-Bruce 1. Singer 15-75 front quarter.jpg  2. Singer 15-75 front.jpg  3. Singer 15-75 rear quarter.jpg  4. Singer 15-75 back.jpg  5. Singer 15-75 top.jpg  1. Singer 15 feed cam 1.jpg  2. Singer 15 feed cam 2.jpg  3. Singer 15 feed cam 3.jpg 

0
Cari-in-Oly

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,473
Reply with quote  #9 
I am no help at all Lori. I have two Singer 15s(91 and 125) but have never played with either one. I got them both because they were cheap and I thought I ought to have them, but don't have enough interest in them to clean them up and use them (yet).

Cari

__________________
Olympia Washington
0
pgf

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,037
Reply with quote  #10 
"...I thought I ought to have them..."

Dangerous thoughts, indeed.  I'm familiar with the concept.

__________________
My machines: http://projects.foxharp.net/sewing_machines/by-age
0
WI Lori

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,604
Reply with quote  #11 
Interesting points, everyone. I am a bit of a sucker for an honest hard worker, even if a bit worn, hence the 15-87. It's neat seeing the progression, but... The fun is in getting them restored.

I can only sew with one at a time, right? It is time to get serious about rehoming, perhaps more than 2. Says the one who, this weekend, messaged a seller about a 128-23 listed at $15, and bid on a crinkle 99.

__________________
Lori in Wisconsin
0
ke6cvh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 392
Reply with quote  #12 
I agree on the honest hard worker comment so even though a Singer 15 is nice a Japanese 15 clone with an external motor likely is more of a keeper in my book than the Singer unless one is doing a "dog and pony show" that must showcase a Singer.  That said if it was a Singer it would not have a potted motor but instead an external motor that has available replacement parts.  I'd still end gravitating towards a Japanese clone that is old enough to have an external motor, bells and whistles, all metal, and weighs something like the equivalent of the car in the B52's song "whale of a car".  I'm starting to appreciate the extra stitches.  Mrs. here really likes the scallops.  Our Kenmore 158.1060 has amazing useful stitches and some pretty cool stretch stitches and overcast stitches but just doesn't have a scallop.  The 401a has all of that and double needle using 15x1 needles (but an inside motor).  Now I have to wonder was any of those Japanese clones that had the external motors with the cams also capable of real double needles without buying a specialty needle and improved class 15 design all in one amazing package?  

Best regards,
Mike


0
pgf

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,037
Reply with quote  #13 
Everyone is saying that a potted motor is risky because of the lack of replacement parts.  But do potted motors fail as frequently as external motors?  I would have thought the enclosure would keep the potted motors safe, longer.  But I have no backing experience.

paul

__________________
My machines: http://projects.foxharp.net/sewing_machines/by-age
0
ke6cvh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 392
Reply with quote  #14 
External motors are still made and in a variety of types.  I can go to the city and buy one new in the box no problems and cheap.  It comes with belt and cord for around 15 dollars (say's Singer Philippines on it).  Other, higher amp versions are available on the internet.  The nice thing about the grooved pulleys is of course they can be treadle powered or powered by other motors as well.  As I started to collect vintage machines I began to feel uneasy about one thing mostly and that is internal motors.  Call me lazy but these external motors will be around for a really long time and cheap also.  Of course universal motors turn really fast and are horribly inefficient.  I've seen posts where folks diy stepper motors and other types but they always make noise and not working just right.  I'm waiting for the next step to be a small servo motor that will work with the domestics.  If I remember many of these external motors are 1/15 horsepower.  One of the things that make the servos more efficient is the ability to make the windings closer together.  A PM motor that is very small with a good feedback loop (making it a servo) would be nice and my bet is it'll be just a matter of time.  Even a small brushed DC servo would be a nice improvement.  I use 550w brushed DC servos in some machines that I got through Toledo Industrial.  They work really good.  The wikipedia article on universal motors places the efficiency down as far as the low 40 percentile range from memory.  Best regards, Mike
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 301
Reply with quote  #15 
I have had to replace the potted motor on a couple of machines and found them sometimes hard to locate. I did find that despite what "official" pronouncements may have said, the potted motor from a Singer 15-91 and 201 will interchange. There is a slight difference, but not enough to notice based on my experience. Brushes can be replaced, lubrication felts replaced, many other parts replaced, but that requires some knowledge and skills, whereas with a belt driven motor, one has only to unbolt the old motor, disconnect the leads and attach the new one. Those can be rebuilt, of course, but being able to readily get replacements is a plus. 

As for a machine being capable of using two separate needles for double needle work, aside from some models of Singer (such as 401, 500 and 600) the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is the Elna Supermatic if you have the needle clamp adapter for it. 

I do have a strange little Japanese long bobbin machine that will zigzag and requires the needle to be moved from right to left depending on the stitch (zigzag width set manually) that I discovered would allow two needles to be used, but this is a rarity. No photos at present, but will see if I can take one today. 

- Bruce Elna supermatic twin needle clamp.jpg 

0
Chaly

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 292
Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WI Lori
Interesting points, everyone. I am a bit of a sucker for an honest hard worker, even if a bit worn, hence the 15-87. It's neat seeing the progression, but... The fun is in getting them restored.

I can only sew with one at a time, right? It is time to get serious about rehoming, perhaps more than 2. Says the one who, this weekend, messaged a seller about a 128-23 listed at $15, and bid on a crinkle 99.


Of course, everyone has different uses for their machines - restore, collecting, sewing, etc.
For me, I would choose (and have done this as I'm downsizing as well) to keep those machines that I bond with that provide the best sewing experience.  Sometimes even machines of the same model have a different feel and performance while using. I always get a little nervous using a pristine machine - kind of like a new car is a bit more relaxing once it gets its first ding!

 It makes no difference to me about the motor type.  If a potted motor machine was one I loved sewing with it would be a keeper. Yes, it's easier to switch out an external motor but the potted motors are not any harder to service than anything else on a vintage machine - just takes some research and practice.  This being said, for domestic use, I don't know the life of a motor.  If it's rewired, cleaned, brushes changed, and maintained well -how long can it be expected to perform? (I'm thinking longer than I'll be around!).
0
Chaly

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 292
Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesHand52

As for a machine being capable of using two separate needles for double needle work, aside from some models of Singer (such as 401, 500 and 600) the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is the Elna Supermatic if you have the needle clamp adapter for it. 

 


Firstly - Wow!  You have a lovely collection of 15s - looking like they have all been beautifully restored.

Regarding the double needle for the Supermatic -I'm just clarifying to the group that it is likely a front-and-back double needle - not side by side (like the Necchi Supernova) - could you verify this? The function for this style is purely decorative.  A side-by-side double needle, such as the Singers you mentioned, have a utility purpose for hemming - they work great as a substitute for a coverstitch machine.  Think tee shirt double row hems.  The Supermatic would not be able to do this.

Being able to use two needles is very convenient over having to buy double needles.  I seem to remember machines other than Singer having this ability but can't recollect now which make.  Any Kenmores have this feature?

Do you recollect where you obtained your double-needle adapter for the Supermatic?  I have a few original Necchi double needles but the new ones may not work as well since they are not set the same way.  The Necchi tips are as you illustrated - one needle set longer than the other.
0
Chaly

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 292
Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ke6cvh
...  I'm starting to appreciate the extra stitches.  Mrs. here really likes the scallops.  Our Kenmore 158.1060 has amazing useful stitches and some pretty cool stretch stitches and overcast stitches but just doesn't have a scallop.  The 401a has all of that and double needle using 15x1 needles (but an inside motor).  Now I have to wonder was any of those Japanese clones that had the external motors with the cams also capable of real double needles without buying a specialty needle and improved class 15 design all in one amazing package?  

Best regards,
Mike


I've been enjoying my Necchi Supernova - a treadle setup so no motor.  Its decorative stitching surpasses the 401 - has reverse cams - and what I really like is the graduated satin stitches - great for monogramming your own designs.  For fun practice on some of the stitches I recently mades some labels:
labels.jpg 

1
Chaly

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 292
Reply with quote  #19 
Double needle update - I don't have an Elna but checked an SU user manual I found and it looks like the Elnas may indeed be a side by side double needle.  Maybe someone can verify.

I checked my Necchi Supernova needles and manual and they are front and back double needles.  The Singers are side by side.
0
donnawm

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #20 
The double needle shown in my Elna Supermatic Star series manual shows side by side needles.
0
Cari-in-Oly

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,473
Reply with quote  #21 
My 3/4 size Dressmaker long shuttle zig zag machine can use two needles side by side with or without a stitch cam in it. See the needle clamp screws on both sides of the needle bar?
S5032911.jpg 

Cari


__________________
Olympia Washington
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 301
Reply with quote  #22 
Cari, that is the same machine I have but badged National and does not have the cam well. Cams for these machines are out there on the internet, but matching them can be a problem except to get some and try them out. 

It's possible with my little black long bobbin machine like yours to make some decorative stitches by manipulating the zigzag lever. Virtually all old zigzag machines can do that, by the way. The Pfaff 130 has a little manual showing how, for those machines without the 50010 decorative stitch attachment (aka "Coffee Grinder"). 

These little long bobbin Japanese machines with their weird swap-the-needle-for-zigag are weird, but way cool. Very compact, too. 

- Bruce
0
Chaly

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 292
Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cari-in-Oly
My 3/4 size Dressmaker long shuttle zig zag machine can use two needles side by side with or without a stitch cam in it. See the needle clamp screws on both sides of the needle bar?


Cari


What a unique machine!  A 1950's era I'm presuming?
0
Cari-in-Oly

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,473
Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaly


What a unique machine!  A 1950's era I'm presuming?


You presume correctly, It's a fifties machine. It came in several colors with at least a dozen different names, but mine is the only one I know of that takes cams. It was a lucky accidental Ebay find.


Bruce, lots of Japanese machine manuals show how to manipulate the zigzag lever for fancy stitching. Almost all of my Brother manuals for machines that don't have built in or external cam stitches show this technique.
I have the accessory tin, manual, and 4 of the 5 cams that came with my little Dressmaker. I need a new shuttle though, the spring is bent and to get it to make decent stitches I have to back the shuttle screw out so far it will fall out after a few minutes of sewing.

Cari

__________________
Olympia Washington
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 301
Reply with quote  #25 
It's not surprising that the instructions for using the zz width lever is included in many of the early zz sewing machine manuals. Very few of my machines have manuals, although I did find a few online that I could download. Most of my finds were head only on Shopgoodwill. I have to build them up from there. 

Your little long bobbin zz machine looks to be no doubt made in the same factory where mine was built. I found the shuttle to be an exact copy of the Singer 127 shuttle, so if you have a 27 or 127 in your collection you can try it in your Dressmaker. 

My machine didn't have accessories or manual, but did come with the original case. Here are the snapshots I said I would take and send a couple of days ago. Note the quick-set presser bar unit and the Pfaff type spool buttons (crimped into a groove in the spool pins, these are original to the machine). As you can see, it has the dual needle set screws, right and left. This is actually a fun machine to sew on. 

- Bruce DSC00791.jpg  DSC00792.jpg  DSC00794.jpg  DSC00795.jpg  DSC00797.jpg 

0
ke6cvh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 392
Reply with quote  #26 
27/127 shuttles are some of the few I've seen newly made (along with bobbins) on eBay out of China.   I ordered a set that came in a cool little plastic clear container with some type of hybrid styrofoam/foam to hold bobbins and shuttle.  I've also ordered the sliding plate new off eBay but this cool machine in the thread has a different type.  Best regards, Mike
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.