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January 2018

Singer 15K – The Longest Manufactured Machine

singer 15k sewing machine

singer 15k sewing machine

Love vintage sewing machines? The Singer 15K is an exceptional example of a second-hand sewing machine that’s super-durable and as veritable workhorse of a machine!

The Singer 15K was made for the longest part of Singer’s history, and it’s still made in some parts of India and China today. What made it so special?

According to Singer Sewing Info, the company first started production of an oscillating shuttle, high-arm improved sewing machine in 1879. It was for domestic and light industrial tasks and was mainly fitted with treadle tables or cabinets, though some were supplied as hand crank machines. A few of the earlier models had a fiddle-shaped base.

In 1895, the company mechanically altered the machine and its appearance changed – voila, the Singer 15K, which became the most successful sewing machine design ever. It remained in production for more than 100 years. The original models were the common treadle or cabinet versions, or hand crank. Later Singer 15Ks were either electric or hand crank.

The tension assembly was built into the faceplate above the presser, instead of at the front of the machine, making them distinctive. They also heralded a new needle design which was flat on one side, and this became the standard needle that most future Singer machines (and other makes) used.

Another feature was that the new Singer 15K machines were faster and quieter than the models that had gone before. But their power shouldn’t be underestimated. In this YouTube video, the sewing enthusiast and expert Alex Askaroff shows how the machine can sew through a tin can.

The Singer 15K also included a walking foot attachment, which made it ideal for tough to sew materials. There was a separate removable bobbin case to house flat-sided bobbins, which could also be adjusted to lower thread tension.

In the 1930s, Singer 15K machines built at the factory in Clydebank were usually finished with RAF decals (stickers), designed by a William Hopper of Dumbarton who worked there. The design was a bird with its wings out full-span within a diamond pattern, which was placed on the base of the machine. RAF decals were also used in its corners.

If you’d like a fully functional Singer 15K sewing machine, why not check out what we offer here at Sewing4Everyone? Our fully refurbished models can sew fine to extra-heavy materials, and the machines will give you years of steady service.

 

 

Singer 201K – An Iconic Machine

Do you love vintage sewing machines – the Singer 201K is one of those iconic models that sewing enthusiasts rave about.

The 201 series comprised of full-size sewing machines mainly made in the USA and UK. They were first introduced in the 1930s and production continued until 1961. Experts often view the Singer 201K as the finest domestic sewing machine ever made, and the models that exist today still work perfectly well – sewing and hemming in the same way they did all those years ago.

The 201 was the most expensive model – according to singersewinginfo.co.uk, the electric model cost £28-11s-6d in 1947. In 1950, for example, the average salary in the UK was just over £100, so the sewing machine cost most than your average worker would earn in three months.

However, Singer was famous for something other than sewing machines, and that was hire purchase. Tailors or seamstresses could buy the machine and pay for it over some years while they made their living from the sewing they did.

The Singer 201K would have been used as a hand machine or treadle for domestic work, but professionals could use it with a motor attached so that the machine could produce more than 1,100 stitches per minute.

Singer produced lots of attachments too – buttonholers, blind stitchers, zig-zag attachments. Professionals liked the large ‘harp’ space, as this made it easy to work with bulky fabrics. It was also an easy machine to use. Needle insertion and threading differed from other models. With the 201K, you had to insert the needle with the flat side facing to the left and then threaded from right to left.

Some of the 201 models (201D) were made in Germany, but the factory was closed at the end of the Second World War, while the 201P models were assembled in Australia from parts made in Singer’s Clydebank factory and bases and cases produced locally.

One of the fascinating facts about the 201K, as noted by sewing enthusiast Alex Askaroff, is that Singer presented the model to the then Princess Elizabeth to mark her wedding in 1947. A Pathe newsreel of the time shows the presents for the royal event, and there is a Singer 201K displayed next to the jewellery and other gifts given to the couple.

As Alex says, a smart piece of marketing on the part of the Singer, as the folks watching at the time must have thought to themselves the Singer 201K was a machine fit for a princess!

We love the Singer 201K, and if you want one for yourself, why not check out one of our fully refurbished models here?

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