27 March 2014

1950 Model 99K Singer Electric Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

My second antique (well, not really as it isn't anywhere near 100 years old) Singer that I acquired was a gift from my father.

In 2009 when I was heavily pregnant with my daughter, my father was in the process of closing up his sewing machine business, and had a garage full of old trade-ins and assorted other machines that needed to be stripped for parts. He had ordered a metal skip that we slowly filled up over the course of an afternoon. It was kind of fun unscrewing the machines and stripping out bits and pieces, anything that would prove useful when repairing other machines.


Metal skip bin (in front) with many sewing machine bodies!
Right at the end of the line of machines was a beautiful dome shaped timber case which I was dying to see inside, and dad made me wait right to the end to see what it was.



Inside the case a 1950 Model 99K "Portable" Electric Singer was hiding. It was in beautiful condition, but without bobbins or other accessories.



As a thank you for all my hard work (when all the non pregnant people had given up and gone back inside), dad gave it to me. How awesome is my father? As it uses different bobbins to the 1900 Singer however, when I got it home I wasn't even able to test it out.


Machine Specifications

A look on ISMACS International website shows that this machine was part of a production of 60,000, which were allotted on September 26, 1950.



The Singer centenary badge would suggest that the manufacture was not complete until 1951 however, and I can say with some certainty that it was manufactured in Great Britain! It says so on the machine!


Note the Centenary badging from 1951

It was made in Scotland to be exact. All Singer models that have a "K" came out of the factory in Scotland (the Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Glasgow).

The machine is compact, 3/4 the size of it's full size mate the 66 (but it's still really heavy, weighing in at a little over 15kg!), with an extension plate that connects in on the left hand side, and is operated by a knee controller that slots into the base on the right. It has a light attached at the back, but it gets so hot I'm not planning on using it, but now have an LED light that clips on with a magnet that I can use, and move between machines. It is housed in a domed (bentwood) lid. Inside the lid are all sorts of clips (which I hadn't noticed earlier), which keep all the bits nice and safe.


With extension plate in place
Knee Operated
The light
Inside the case. Everything clips in. Somehow.
The machine bed is decorated with filigree scroll work, which has only one place along the front where it has been rubbing off, so I'll leave it as is and just give it a bit of a clean.

Models 66 and 99 are both oscillating hook machines. Before you ask, no I don't actually know what that means in technical terms, that's more of a question for either my father, or maybe my husband.

Work done on this machine

With my recent acquisition of an additional two Singer Treadle machines, with bobbins(!!) I was finally able to get this machine going in December. My father (along with other family members) was staying with me over Christmas. We looked at one of the other treadles first (more in a later post), and after he did a clean and oil on the other one, I did the same on this machine. All up it was in pretty good condition. The bobbin case had a build up of dirt and grease, but armed with a cheap paintbrush and an old machine needle, I cleaned it all out, and then oiled the machine. All by myself! My cleaning passed inspection from my father, and after a bit of adjustments, we did a test sew it worked beautifully!

Top: before cleaning. Bottom: After cleaning - much better!

My trusty paintbrush
I love the little button to release the bobbin!


The Inner workings
"Scroll" design on faceplate

Storage space underneath the machine

Dad removed the needle plate from the machine and polished out the marks left by needles over the years so it won't catch on anything. I still need to give the exterior of the machine a good clean, but it is in great working order, and I'm sure I'll have fun trying out all the accessories from my other machines.


Keep an eye out for a detailed look at my other Singer machines:

Overview of my Singer sewing machines

1900 Model 27 Treadle

1937 Model 66K Treadle

1953 Model 201K Treadle

1943 Model 221K Featherweight

Singer Model 20 Child's Sewing Machine



Do you have a Model 99 Singer? I'd love to see more! Feel free to leave the link to your related blog post in the comments below.


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