Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My new (old) 99 Singer

Hi Mary,
I just had to post pictures of the new vintage machine my boss at H&R Block gave me on Tuesday. It is a Singer 99 in a bentwood case. It has everything with it and I know he rewired it because the wiring is way too good for something that was 'born' in 1925.

A 99 is a 3/4 size machine but it is still heavy as sin. The case has a little ding on the top. That is fairly typical of the bentwood cases. That and broken locks and handles that have pulled out of the case. None of those problems beset the new little one. It locks, it's handle is intact and it even has the knee lever for running the machine instead of the foot pedal.

I was going to make it a hand crank but I am in love with the knee lever and might have to keep it as is. After all the wiring is perfect.

A little examination shows me that I might have to rebuild the tension assembly and I need to buy a new 'tire' for the bobbin winder. For some reason after 85 years the rubber tire has hardened. That again is typical and I am sure that Cindy Peters at StitchesinTime has them. I have bought them before from her for other machines.

When my boss, AKA Robert Ackerman, told me about this machine I thought it was his mother's. But after a little discussion it came out that this was his own machine. He has owned it for at least 20 years and used it for sewing repair on clothes and other fabric items.
When I asked him what he used it for he said
"nothing creative". It had been stored at his mother's apartment and now she is downsizing and this is one of the casualties. I am really excited to have it. Now I have to decide whether to name it after 'Bob' or not. It will be my second machine named after a man if I do. My featherweight is Andy.

The new little machine has all sorts of goodies hidden in the lid. I noticed the knee lever immediately because the other Singer in a bentwood case that I own is missing the lever. I made that one, a 128 from 1924 into a hand crank last September at the River Rat TOGA. Or rather Paul and Treadlin' Mary did the motorectomy for me. But I watched and it is dead easy. But I was telling you about the goodies. It also has the cutest little oil can in it's little oil can slip in holder. Also there is another slip in holder for the green cardboard Singer parts box. I should have opened that up and shown you the parts, but they are fairly standard. A few extra feet and an extra screw for the feet and a Singer screwdriver are in there. If anything wonderful turns up after I have TreadleAnnie look at it I will let you know.

I am still enjoying exploring it and am bummed that I didn't bring my tool kit down here so I could clean and polish it up without having to go out and buy everything all over again. It is sure hard to wait to get my hands all dirty cleaning it up


Shirl said...

I found an old machine-looks like yours--in a bentwood case. It does not run, has obviously a missing throat plate, no bobbin case. It will cost 12.50 to buy. Do you think I could get it rewired? Also, how does it run? Can you buy a foot pedal for it? Please reply--I am buying it in hopes that I can get it going. Also, what kind of bobbin and case does it take? Is the hole in front for a knee LIFT or is that how you are supposed to run the machine? The case has two little metal pockets up under on the inside but nothing is in them--I suppose it had a foot pedal?

Shirl said...

please email me and tell me the machine might be fixable!

Nancy said...

Dear Shirl,
12.50 is a good price. Before you pay it make sure you can move the hand wheel on the machine. It will be more work to get it up and running if that won't move. The parts are available from Her name is Cindy Peters and she also sells on ebay but deal directly with her. It's cheaper.
The hole in front is for a knee lever which runs the machine. It probably didn't have a foot pedal. The little pockets were for an oil can and an accessory box. You can see the pictures of the inside of my bentwood case on this blog post.
For help with old machines I would go to the yahoo group
They are a group that helps people with old singer sewing machines. They can give you repair instructions and good suggestions on how to get it up and running. My first suggestion is to get some good sewing machine oil and oil it up before doing anything else. If you need a link to an oiling diagram they will have it in the files section of the group.
When you go to the group tell them the serial number of your machine. That way they can tailor their instructions to your machine.
I get digests from the Singer Group so I will see you if you post. I am Abbie the Kitty on Yahoo.
Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Mom said...

Any suggestions on where to find a knee lever? I've been on eBay and Google. Maybe you have a shortcut. I have my Grandma's machine that I learned to sew on almost 50 years ago, but no lever. Grrr...

Nancy said...

Dear Mom,
I don't know where to find one. I do know that there are more than one style and you have to get the one that fit's your machine. I can give you the name of two sellers of vintage machines and parts that you can ask. One is Cindy Peters at and the other is Jenny at
By the way, there is no way to reply to a blogger comment except in the comments. If you want an email from me you have to give me your email. You can request I delete that email if you worry about security, as you should.