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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi Everyone,
I have a little "problem" with collecting vintage Singer machine needles (just the domestics, not the industrials) and I'd love to start a discussion of the kinds, qualities, package designs, etc. to get and spread more information. I know Farmer John is a Boye expert, but he also has a ton of Singers and I bet he knows from needles, too. 

My collection started with the idea to use mostly vintage needles for my machines, particularly to match the needles with the machines made during similar years. I'm like that. I also figured the older needles would possibly be made of more quality metal than newer ones (feel free to correct me here, or anywhere, really). That led to the idea that well, I'd have to get a good supply if I were going to keep sewing with needles that are no longer made...and you see where this is going. 

I've made exceptions, of course -- if you watch the advertising videos for the Schmetz company on YouTube you'll want to go work for them or at least visit -- and I've purchased an...adequate supply of their 206x13-sized needles. FYI -- buy these from Schmetz or a reputable reseller -- there are lots of people selling packets of them on various sites for an offensive markup, when they're still actively manufactured by Schmetz. 

Anyhow I digress. Here are some photos. First, one of my Singer "packet categories" in what I believe to be about chronological order (please opine). I don't collect anything newer than the mostly-white packets. I was wondering if anyone can advise what the general years might have been during which these..."needle liveries" were each produced. 

Second photo, some of my more unusual finds. I have machines for most of them : ) 

And lastly, a mystery -- the 127x1 Hexagon compared to a bonafide Singer 127x1 compared to an unlabeled group of needles that seem to be 127x1 but have slightly different dimensions. The packs are pictured followed by one each of the shanks and the tips. If anyone can comment on the Hexagon needles (and Hexagon itself!), and opine about what the identity of the unpacketed needles might be, I'd love some information. The shanks of the 127x1 and the unlabeled needles both read "Simanco 16."

Thanks for any and all comments, questions, information!
Matt

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #2 
Oh no, no. no... you're gonna make me go through several boxes now! =)

I love this sort of thing.  Picked up a loose bobbin on the floor today, 15 like, took one look and said 'opps, 6-hole' goes in Kenmore drawer...

Which always reminds me of the day I moved one machine in a pile of machines and something I've never seen again went skittering
across the floor (lucky it didn't break). A glass Singer Sewing Machine Oil bottle. Never seen another. =)

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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #3 
Go through your boxes! Show me your wares! : )

I forgot a couple pictures...

Of course, these...

IMG_0475.jpg 
and for the heck of it, though not machine needles, but because a Rocketeer is what started all this...

IMG_0477.jpg 

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stitchntime

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Reply with quote  #4 
My '85 IF came with a drawer full of these.  They have the price printed on them; slightly different than yours.

Greg

OLD NEEDLES.jpg 

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #5 
I like the price printed on those needles from the IF!

I'll look through my needles and post any that are not already listed.  I like to have a collection of vintage Singer needles in various sizes.  I find the smaller sizes, which I use most, are most difficult to find.  Usually size 16 is the most common - maybe the smaller ones were the most used in times gone by?

I also use a variety of Schmetz needles - I particularly like the microtex tips for different applications.  I also use Organ and Groz-Beckert in my vintage machines with usually no issues.  The times when I notice a modern needle makes a difference over a vintage one is in using some attachments - especially the non-template vintage Singer buttonholer.  The hemstitcher can also be sensitive to the type of needle.  If I have problems with anything, I'll always switch out the needle for a vintage Singer one to compare results and sometimes, surprisingly, the needle does make a difference.

In the 1930's video showcasing machine production in the Kilbowie plant, the manufacture of needles was fascinating.  It would be interesting to know of production methods now and how the metal used compares - especially with the new coated type needles like the titanium ones.
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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #6 
OMG. I just watched most of that video. I had no idea the needles were so carefully made and inspected. Looks like my desire to use only these, and buy them up when I can, makes sense. 

Here's a link. I muted it because someone overlaid some ...odd musical choices. The needles start up about 36:00


I held "needle clinic" the other night -- when I save the ones that need saving, de-rusting, polishing, honing, etc. Now that I know how carefully they were made, the conservation feels even more rewarding, as does sewing with them!

IMG_0483.jpg 
IMG_4844.jpg

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #7 
20170425_163420.jpg  20170425_183021-1024x768.jpg 

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #8 
From my copy of Scientific American May 3 1879

ETA: Wheeler & Wilson Factory

punching needle hole.jpg


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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #9 
See attached complete copy scanned

 
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pdf Scientific American - 1879-05-03.pdf (34.88 MB, 30 views)


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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #10 
So great, Steve! Thanks! I downloaded it and put it in my files : )
Can't wait to read it after work.
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charley26

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Reply with quote  #11 
I decided to place my old needle packets in a frame, machine and hand sewing needles.

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Marie
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Ana's Dad

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Reply with quote  #12 
Just found these in the stash. I think these came with my NF...

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Andrew

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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #13 
Marie, what a beautiful way to display those stunning packages!
Andrew those are fantastic -- dare I ask if you can show the needles?

Matt
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hilltophomesteader

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Reply with quote  #14 
I have needles.....[biggrin]
125_2533.jpg  125_2541.jpg  125_2544.jpg  125_2542.jpg  125_2545.jpg  125_2546.jpg  125_2547.jpg 


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socoso

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Reply with quote  #15 
Do these count?

hand.jpg 

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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hilltophomesteader
I have needles.....[biggrin]
125_2533.jpg            


I NEED to know where you got that red cutting mat. Must have it lol.

Cari

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #17 
After some serious gawking I went to look at all my needles. My box doesn't compare one bit. However... I did find a curiousity.
I have this old-style sliding matchbox type box in red cardboard filled with machine needles. They do not have a flat side.
the end of the wee box says: 177x5 No. 16. I haven't a clue what they are for and google doesn't like my search methods.
They're about an eighth of inch shorter than 15x1s. All brand spanking new and ooo shiny.
Makes me wonder if anyone has been looking for them?

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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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jon

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
After some serious gawking I went to look at all my needles. My box doesn't compare one bit. However... I did find a curiousity.
I have this old-style sliding matchbox type box in red cardboard filled with machine needles. They do not have a flat side.
the end of the wee box says: 177x5 No. 16. I haven't a clue what they are for and google doesn't like my search methods.
They're about an eighth of inch shorter than 15x1s. All brand spanking new and ooo shiny.
Makes me wonder if anyone has been looking for them?



Someone out there somewhere is looking for them.  The needles are for a Singer 177-2 which is a cylinder bed darner.

Jon

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jon



Someone out there somewhere is looking for them.  The needles are for a Singer 177-2 which is a cylinder bed darner.

Jon



Jon, wanted to say thanks. If anyone is looking for these needles, they are far and few between! Kinda like having a degree in Animal Husbandry for Unicorns.  Might be handy if you ever find some...

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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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Mavis

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Reply with quote  #20 
Matt, you made me chuckle when you said of your more unusual finds, "I have machines for most of these."  Ha, ha.  Isn't that the way it goes...if only the needles (that wouldn't take up too much space), but no, we need the machines that use the needles!  Love this thread, and some day I should go through my things and see how many I can come up with.  

You are right about Farmer John being a needle expert.  He's got to be one of the best!

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hilltophomesteader

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cari-in-Oly


I NEED to know where you got that red cutting mat. Must have it lol.

Cari


https://www.amazon.com/Sullivans-Cutting-Edge-24%C2%94-Gold/dp/B07NBSDR22/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&qid=1589031904&refinements=p_n_size_browse-vebin%3A2637801011&s=arts-crafts&sr=1-4

After a quick search, this is the best I found for a big one...you can google for smaller ones, too, lol!  [smile]

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jon

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing


Jon, wanted to say thanks. If anyone is looking for these needles, they are far and few between! Kinda like having a degree in Animal Husbandry for Unicorns.  Might be handy if you ever find some...


Jim, There appears to be a few 177-2's out there.  I wouldn't mind having one.  Perhaps your needles will serve as bait. 

Jon
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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mavis
Matt, you made me chuckle when you said of your more unusual finds, "I have machines for most of these."  Ha, ha.  Isn't that the way it goes...if only the needles (that wouldn't take up too much space), but no, we need the machines that use the needles!  Love this thread, and some day I should go through my things and see how many I can come up with.  

You are right about Farmer John being a needle expert.  He's got to be one of the best!



You're so right Mavis! And actually, I've started acquiring some needles -- just a few -- "just to have them," without intending on getting a corresponding machine. For example -- the 13/13K. It's really awesome, but I'm happy enough with my 12/12K, and I don't need a 13 ALSO, haha.

"Need." HAHAHHAHAHAH!

I won't see retirement for probably another 20-25 years, God willing, but I have enough machines to restore to last for a significant portion of that pending retirement!

Now my latest folly is to look for a good container to organize these needles. They're occupying the upper story of a lovely Strommen Bruk Hamar sewing box, but they've outgrown their space, and all the other tenants (scissors, pins, and oh goodness the Singer Fashion Discs in individual boxes!) are useful and I can't kick them out. 

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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by socoso
Do these count?

 


I love all vintage needles -- I intended this thread mostly for machine needles but I bet someone out there could start a thread for vintage hand needles!!
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Ana's Dad

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Reply with quote  #25 
Hi Matt
Here are my best attempts at photographing a couple of the needles that came with the Singer N.F. Trying to get both sides. They are completely round with no flat side . I've put them beside a 15x1 Schmetz universal 90/14 for comparison. Thanks for starting this thread. It's really fascinating!

Cheers

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Andrew

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #26 
Geeze, I wouldn't say that I was the best at anything, but I do love to study needles, measure them, and put them in their proper place.  A lot, perhaps most  vintage needles lack  a scarf.  I sharpen needles, straighten needles, and modify needles.
Here is a great video on modern Schmetz needle making...


Farmer John
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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer John
Geeze, I wouldn't say that I was the best at anything, but I do love to study needles, measure them, and put them in their proper place.  A lot, perhaps most  vintage needles lack  a scarf.  I sharpen needles, straighten needles, and modify needles.
Here is a great video on modern Schmetz needle making...

Farmer John



Yay! Thanks John! That video is awesome.
I too love bringing them back and to full potential. I learned "the hard way" during all my recent mask making that the needle is just about all-important!
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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #28 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ana's Dad
Hi Matt
Here are my best attempts at photographing a couple of the needles that came with the Singer N.F. Trying to get both sides. They are completely round with no flat side . I've put them beside a 15x1 Schmetz universal 90/14 for comparison. Thanks for starting this thread. It's really fascinating!

Cheers



Thanks Andrew! Those are some pretty needles. In a similar vein, here's my comparison of 12x1, 13x1, and 15x1. Fascinating how much longer 13x1 is!

IMG_0493.jpg 

IMG_0494.jpg 

IMG_0496.jpg

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #29 
Here is a link to Organ Needles, with all of the dimensions in mm.  Great reference material...

https://organ-needles.com/english/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Sewing-needle-catalog.pdf

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GuidCA

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketeer
OMG. I just watched most of that video. I had no idea the needles were so carefully made and inspected. Looks like my desire to use only these, and buy them up when I can, makes sense. 



IMG_4844.jpg
Pray tell -where did you find the little anvil? It looks a bit like one of the promotional Record anvils made in the '70s and '80's, but stripped of the blue paint...

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Brian
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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidCA
Pray tell -where did you find the little anvil? It looks a bit like one of the promotional Record anvils made in the '70s and '80's, but stripped of the blue paint...


Hi Brian,
Funny-- I didn't know what the promotional Record anvils were, but I looked them up and mine does look quite similar! It's likely much older though -- it came from a box of old and mostly unrelated things that belonged to my grandpa, who was a machinist. I don't know anything about it unfortunately, other than that it's quite useful! There are no marks or inscriptions on it of any kind. 

Matt
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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #32 
Here are packets of hand sewing needles found in a 1917 White Family Rotary.

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jon

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Reply with quote  #33 
Arrrr,,, A box full o treasure.  [biggrin]

Jon schmetzabc.jpg 

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Rocketeer

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Reply with quote  #34 
Lori those are fun, and the bodkins!!

Jon -- ARRR, NADELN! Haha. I'm curious what's in the Singer box!

Matt
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #35 
Wow.... just wow...
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