Rambling around the Alameda Point Antiques Faire this winter, I found this lovely Singer standing front and center of an antiques booth. She was a bit raggedy, but the dealer insisted that she would run just fine. I took a gamble that he was an honest man, especially after I noticed the throat plate was missing and he said he’d mail it to me. For $50 and a little extra for the guy who helped me haul her to the car, I had acquired yet another old Singer.
But really, is there such a thing as too many old Singers?
It was a sunny, windy day as I pulled her from my tiny car and onto the sidewalk in front of our house. She looked pretty in the sunshine, so I took a few pictures. Oh look, lots of numbers! And one I didn’t recognize… a number with a letter. She’s a 99K. The K denotes that she was made in Great Britain (which it also says quite clearly in several places but I’d missed in my initial excitement), specifically at the Kilarney factory in Scotland. From the Singer UK site:
The Singer 99k sewing machine is small in size measuring only 12-1/2″ wide, this image shows an early version the 99K (99K21 – 26) made between 1924 to 1954. Originally it may have been hand operated.
The stitch length was adjusted via a screw and the machine did not stitch backwards.
Later versions 99K31 had a stitch length up-down lever with reverse stitch and numbered tension dial – Year 1955
My machine is dated 1954 by her serial number, and she does stitch backwards and does not have the screw, but a lever that goes up and down, which I prefer.
Once I had plugged her in and discovered that she ran just fine, I immediately unplugged her and inspected the cord. Yes, I know I did that backwards, but I was too excited to play it safe. The cord had several nicks in it, which told me that it was due for replacement. The bulb had also burned out and the plastic casing on the lamp was cracked, so I figured that would need replacing as well. A quick search found me a site that offered replacement parts to fit my machine. I placed an order and threw in an extra set of metal bobbins. I also noticed at this point that she was missing her bobbin case. Replacements for those are not so easily found, although I have seen one or two on eBay.
Her faceplate is straight, not decorated with lovely scrollwork, and her gold decals are of the prism style, not anything curly-whirly. But that means she matches my other machine, the Old Girl, a 15-, and that’s fine by me.
The antiques dealer, true to his word, did send the missing throat plate, but it was the wrong one. For now the newest addition to my growing collection will have to sit and wait in the office, looking prim and orderly, and behave like a nice table. I’ll post again once we start in on the restoration project, which may be later this winter or spring. Living in an old house, there’s always something to repair, update, maintain, or fix, and another sewing machine (when I have half a dozen that already work) is low on the list.
Have you ever repaired a machine on your own? I’d like to hear about it!