Saturday, October 23, 2010

Like a Hole in the Head

While walking by a garage sale today on the way to the post office we saw an old portable Singer sewing machine in excellent condition. The lady running the sale was friendly and I remarked how nice her machine was; she proceeded to tell me a bit about it and said she was asking $20, even offering to let me plug it in and try it out. Ah, that's ok, I have one already, I was just admiring. As we walked away, Joe whispered, "would you like it?"

It took me about 2 seconds. I thought it might be nice to have a case that is in perfect condition. Even after refinishing mine, there is still a large break in the domed case that I wasn't able to repair. I could refinish this one and swap out the machines. We walked back and paid for the machine, which we would pick up on our way home from the post office. It weighs 35 lbs.

Once home I tried out the machine and was instantly enamored: the bobbin is quite different than any other machine I've owned, a tiny shuttle. Unfortunately, it wouldn't sew, something in the mechanism was sticking and wouldn't allow the needle to complete its up and down cycle. A partial dis-assembly, some 3-in-1 oil, and a bit of tinkering with the upper and lower tensions and it sews like a dream. It's not as pretty as the 1924 model, a bit more utilitarian- without the gold scroll-work and fancy embossed plates- but a good, old machine nonetheless. A quick check on the serial number tells me it was made in 1951 in Elizabethport, NJ.

I took the machine out of the case and started in on refinishing the case; after the linseed oil/turps/stain dries I'll do the 3 coats of urethane. I needed this like a I need a hole in the head, but I have to say I really love the new machine. How could I not after Joe lugged it the 3 blocks home?

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