22 May 2014

1945 Model 221K Singer "Featherweight" Sewing Machine

When / How Acquired

I'm sure the start of this story will sound familiar. I bought this machine from eBay on February 27 this year. Funny story on this one though. My dear husband has a habit of putting machines on my Watch list that he thinks I might be interested in (should I change my password so he can't get into my eBay anymore?) I knew that there was a featherweight on my watch list that I was really interested in and wanted to try my luck at getting. So when I read an email from eBay saying that there was an auction ending soon on a featherweight, (it had one hour left when I read the email), I jumped onto eBay, and without more than 5 seconds thought, put in a bid for it. I remember thinking, "wasn't the machine I wanted in better condition than this?" Then I looked at my Watch list and found the one that I was actually wanting to buy. Ending the following day. Oopsie! I sat for the next hour hoping that someone else would bid on it. They didn't, so that's how I became the owner of a this 1945 Featherweight. I did bid on the other machine, but having just bought one featherweight, wasn't willing to spend enough to secure the second.

Machine Specifications

This is another machine from Great Britain. It was a batch of 20,000 allocated on 19 September, 1945. I don't know anything about the history of this particular machine, but I can only guess that it has spent the latter part of it's life sitting in a garage or attic somewhere collecting dust. It didn't come with any accessories, no case, not even a bobbin case or spool holder(!) Looking at the photos from eBay however, I noticed that it did have a spool holder when it was put up for sale. Not sure what happened there, but it doesn't seem to have broken off in the mail, as it would have been in the packaging materials.

The serial number is underneath the machine on featherweights
It looks like it's had a good life though, the decals are all but worn off (or it is possible that they have faded away?)

You can just see the decals around the edge
Featherweight machines are prized collectors items, especially among quilters. They were produced in the UK factory (where this one was made) between 1947 and the late 1960's, with over 300,000 produced during this time.

Work Done on This Machine

There is a lot of work do on this machine. It needs a thorough clean for a start, then I need to work out what that green wire is doing! I'm not sure if it's safe to even turn it on. Hubby is on the job having a look at it. He opened the base and thinks that the whole thing needs re-wiring. It has a grease build up on the wiring (where there shouldn't be any), and the moving parts are all dry, and they should be well-oiled. If necessary I may need to get my father involved as well. If the motor needs work, he has a guy that he sends his motors to for fixing.

There is no bobbin case or bobbins (although I do have some now, more on that later). It also needs a spool holder to be workable.

"Egyptian Scroll" faceplate
(Simanco part 45719)
After buying this, I stayed on the lookout for another featherweight, and I did manage to get one, in great condition with all accessories. For now, I'm just concentrating on getting this machine it into some kind of workable condition. If I can find cheap spares for it I might consider re-selling it when it's in better condition. Otherwise, maybe it will become a spares machine itself.

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

Overview of my Singer sewing machines

1900 Model 27 Treadle

1950 Model 99K Electric

1937 Model 66K Treadle

1953 Model 201K Treadle

Singer Model 20 Child's Sewing Machine

1953 Model 221K Featherweight

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

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered your blog post. I have a 221 with serial # in the same range as yours, one of 20,000 ordered on Sept. 19, 1945. I was interested to see you thought yours was manufactured in GB. As I reviewed information, it said all the ones with serial beginning with AG were made in the US. Did you have other indications? I’ve had mine since @1960 while I was still in high school. It has beheld up through many sewing hours and looks much like yours as far as the decals. I wonder if the decals of those produced right after the war just didn’t hold up well? Do you still have yours?