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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #1 
Good day everyone, Im trying to find parts to restore at least one of my florence machines to working order. The parts I need are:
a slide plate,
tension disks (+spring and thumbscrew)
bobbin winder (hopefully)
and if possible any information as to where to get a set of ornate treadle legs for this machine. A needle would also be nice but i wouldn't want to buy one from someone else enjoying theirs since id be using it/using it as a pattern for others rather than in a static collection, but if someone has a surplus id be interested. Ive asked a few big movers in the antiques realm of things, but might have more luck with a more focused collecting group. If anyone has these parts or knows where to get them, please pm me. 
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SewMachines

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Reply with quote  #2 
Best of luck on your search for irons and parts! I have a few of the Florence machines (they are a favorite of mine) and haven't run across many extra parts. I searched for quite a while for a shuttle for one and when I did finally find one, it wasn't quite right. The tension on these machines is not a set of discs, but a solid rotary tension that turns with the thread. I would say that the beehive spring would be fairly easy to find and the thumbscrew just needs to fit on the bolt. I have used other machines to wind long bobbins for machines that don't have a complete bobbin winder. The Florence winder sits on the table top and runs off of a separate belt.

I have been compiling data from the Florence machines for a while and if you would care to share a couple of photos of your machine and a serial number, I would love to add it to my database. They were made for so few years but there were changes in the design with almost every year of production. The engineering on these is quite amazing. I sew on mine and enjoy how well they work.


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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #3 

Here is a close up of the slide made of two layers of brass with JB weld bonding them
(also blurry bobbin winder in background)
20140804_173233.jpg
 
The bobbin winder on mine does not use a separate belt,
but is raised and lowered until it touches/or rides above the bandwheel
CL Pic 7.jpg 

As you can tell, I forgot to take pictures last night, these are pulled from my previous shots...Sorry

The tension disk
CL Pic 5-close.jpg 


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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #4 
SewMachines, you really arent kidding. One i have, the more complete one, seems to be early 1860s and uses the flat belt and is set up to go left-to-right. the other one i have no idea on age since its missing the sitch plate but, it uses a round leather belt and seems to be set up for a "sideways" mount with a transverse wheel treadle. Also the little arm that interfaces with the drive shaft on the back of the machine to move the feed dogs has a small metal strap holding it on in the later one, and the bar it connects to on the underside has little screwed tabs holding the ball joints in,not just pressure fit. and the frames themselves have completely different layouts for bolting to the table.  Its a bit hard to describe so pics will come whenever i can lay everything out.

As a side note I found out a singer model 12 winder will hold a florence bobbin and there arent a lot of differences with it and the florence winder, the belt driven version that is (There seems to be a belt driven, and two different kinds of wheel driven ones) You said you used these machines? is there a manual online somewhere, or is it just trial and error?

SteveH, im still really impressed with that slide plate! do you think soldering them would also work? i try to limit the epoxy in my old machines to only in the paint and primer lol!
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #5 
should work better, I was being lazy.
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Reply with quote  #6 
RelicStitcher,

Yes, please post some photos when you can and I can probably narrow down the age on the one without the plate based on the machine characteristics. They changed the presser foot arm/needlebar arm in 1870 and have the presser foot facing in the opposite direction. They also offered a 'back feed' model about that time that was just mounted sideways on the table. Thus the transverse flywheel.

Here is the manual courtesy of the SIL: http://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/Trade-Literature/Sewing-Machines/NMAHTEX/0822/

Here is a quick video I made on one of mine while I was piecing a quilt top. It sewed up the entire full size top without issue and is really fun to sew with.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/98957834@N06/15763865153/in/album-72157640789620803/

Steve H,

That is interesting about the bobbin winder riding on the band wheel. I have not seen the underneath of that winder set up and didn't realize it wasn't belt driven. Good to know!

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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #7 
That manual is a godsend, and ill probably be fully restoring the older of the two as im left handed, and so a side feed is preferable to the abysmally low clearance under the arms of one of thise "backfeed" models. Probably will clean it up nicely and maybe see about trading her for something else or parts. As a side note i see on the manual that there was a distributor in Greensboro NC a century and a half ago, which is only an hour from my hometown, and where I found the newer machine. Now to find a barn where the treadles ended up, in case the set of fancy legs ive been desperately trying to get doesn't work out. Im excited though, thanks to the info gleaned here and especially the slide plate reconstruction idea, plus if I can just figure out a jig maybe some of the first florence-intended curved needles to be produced in decades!
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #8 
With my apologies for the dust....  This machine is due for its clean and de-neglect.

20160914_073356-640x480.jpg 

the underside
20160914_073443-640x480.jpg 

The tension disk
20160914_073504-640x480.jpg 

the anti-backroll device
20160914_073452-480x640.jpg 


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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #9 
The anti-backroll device seems interesting, did it bind on the wheel like the ball in a Willcox and Gibbs? I thought i had seen or read somewhere this machine would sew either direction it was turned
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RelicStitcher
... I thought i had seen or read somewhere this machine would sew either direction it was turned



Perhaps you were thinking about the Royal St. John Treadle that could run in either direction?

Image result



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Reply with quote  #11 
The Florence will sew in reverse, but not by reversing the direction of the wheel (always turns over away), but with the knob on the edge of the bed.

That ad for the Royal St John is curious (off to do some research). I know that the Weed was supposed to have the option of reverse during the same time frame (1870) but I have yet to see one that will sew in reverse.

Love these old machines!

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SewMachines
... (off to do some research)....Love these old machines!



Muhaha


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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #13 
I was thinking of the side knob, forgot if its brought one way far enough it reverses. Question, and its got me a bit scared.... is the shuttle meant to be 100% flush with the side of the shuttle race? my shuttle the area along the upper aspect of the tip is a bit smooth and has a bit of a gap between it and the shuttle race. I wish i had a camera good enough to take a photo of it with... the lower half of the shuttle fits flush just about the front third of the top side of the shuttle has an arch of space where it curves out from pressed against the side of the shuttle race. Is this normal and to do with thread pickup or is this shuttle toast? Ill try and post pics this afternoon with somebodys camera, is there any way to restore a transverse shuttle? ive fixed vibrating ones before but they dont press up against anything with great precision usually
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RelicStitcher
... but they don't press up against anything with great precision usually


Neither do these...  That is shuttle wear.  They "can" be filed flat and polished, but I doubt you will need to unless it is a bad gap at the tip. I believe the Florence shuttle holder can be adjusted for position to accommodate for shuttle wear.

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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #15 
  heres some pics of the shuttle and in the position in the machine. The tip itself is sharp just the upper bit sort of curves away. theres also a bit of wear in front of the hole on the side above the bobbin, maybe where threat was being rubbed across it? should I be too worried or is it a gonner?
shuttleflorence1.jpg
 

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jpeg shuttleflorence4.jpg (169.63 KB, 8 views)

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Reply with quote  #16 
Looks like the ones I have. Does it make a stitch okay?

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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #17 
havent tried, the needle it came with it was broken right at the eye so i cant put thread through it. but I have a wertheim, frister and rossman and a singer model 12 and the shuttles of all of them have a little bit of wearing. maybe the wearing on the side is from the thread passing along the outside instead of through the hole? as long as the tip will catch the loop as it passes I guess its not a major issue. may even see trying to 3d print one in the future, my friend and i are looking into getting a printer once she gets CAD know-how under her belt
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Reply with quote  #18 
I certainly wouldn't give up on it until you give it a sew [wink]. I haven't had a machine with a too worn to sew shuttle yet, although I do like the idea of the 3D printing of missing parts.

Keep us posted! And please do share full photos of your machines when you can.

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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #19 
Will do, currently shes not much to look at, the shellac is complete garbage i think from tobacco smoke, so currently working to remove that/retouch paint if it needs it. Serial number is 62817 and the latest patent i can see is 1863 from what I can see. 
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osmgreasemonkey

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Reply with quote  #20 
I'm thrilled to have found this tread. I recently acquired a rusty Florence and I've learned from photos this thread that my bobbin winder is incomplete, missing the pull spring part. Also missing a working shuttle (just heve the shell) and needle, as well as slide plate. And the cloth plate is in very rough shape. And the irons cross bar and dress guard broke in shipping. Everything else is present and working, turns smooth as silk. I'm contemplating whether to let it become a parts machine, but if I find a working shuttle before old age overtakes me, I would like to restore it. Good to know that Singer 12 bobbin winder will wind a Florence bobbin. Has anyone here had any success crafting a needle for Florence?

Cat
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Reply with quote  #21 
Cat,

Always glad to hear of another Florence owner! I am collecting photos and data on these machines to add my research and will hopefully be able to share all my findings at some point. Can you please post a photo or two of your machine head along with its serial number? I have restored several of these and would be glad to help wherever I can. I know there are a few people that have mentioned trying to fashion a needle but have not heard of anyone having success . . .  yet.

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osmgreasemonkey

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Reply with quote  #22 
Here are a few photos of the poor thing. Forgot to mention the pitman also broke. SN 100911.

Cat

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Reply with quote  #23 
Cat, thanks for sharing the photos and serial number! I think the most challenging part will be sorting out the shuttle and locating a needle. I have a similar hollow shuttle that i am trying to get to function properly. I have a couple of machines (back feed, and orphan head) that don't have bobbin winders, so I wind on other long bobbin machines. Please don't give up on it yet!
Here is my orphan head that is now one of my favorite Flo's [wink]. It was totally frozen and a bit of a mess when I got it.
IMG_1148.JPG 


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osmgreasemonkey

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Reply with quote  #24 
Ah, I've spent hours watching your video of this machine on youtube! How is the hand crank attached?

Interestingly, my Florence came with a hand sewing needle bent correctly to sew, if only the needle eye were at the correct end, so someone evidently was able to bent a needle to follow the necessary needle arc. I thought maybe I could use that needle as "template" to try bending needles. There are youtube videos on how to bend needles. I'm still thinking about it. I wish someone with some experience and skill working with metal would take on the task. I have no metal working tools, no torch or vise, and think I would need those at a minimum. I'm going to head over to Amazon and look for a small vise.

Cat
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Reply with quote  #25 
The hand crank is just fitted over the little knob that is already on the wheel. Just a simple turned knob with a cut out the size of the metal projection.
I am still hoping someone will sort out the needles.

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RelicStitcher

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Reply with quote  #26 
I completely forgot, a few weeks after picking up a florence head with a shuttle, I picked up ANOTHER one, a transverse mounted model with a treadle. The woodwork needs to be replaced and everything metal repainted as the japaning had been worn away by mud daubers and rust, but it had a second functional shuttle, and got it for an absolute steal. I fell off the face of the earth but I really love this machine and its odd looks, its still a dream to get one in good enough shape and to make a jig for needle making to where I can use it for general work. 
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