Singer 15K – The Longest Manufactured 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.