Restore Along Part 17: A Historical Surprise
by Ashley Fritsche
Merry Christmas from The Featherweight Shop! We hope you are enjoying spending time with loved ones, and your day is merry and bright! After an exciting holiday season, we are all very grateful for the rest and time spent with those we hold dear. Happy Holidays!
Before we dive into today's Restore Along, let's catch up on last week's installment here:
Today, Julia continues to work on Jill's varnish and investigates the unique symbol by Jill's handwheel. How exciting.
When taking the varnish off Jill today, Julia tries using blue shop towels with rubbing alcohol. Then she tries cotton knit fabric with rubbing alcohol instead of just cotton balls with alcohol. The towels and cotton fabric hold onto the varnish a little bit better than the cotton balls and pick more of it up off the machine, which saves Julia plenty of effort!
Jill's arm, column, and the motor area are now clean, and almost all the varnish is stripped off. The decals haven't budged, even through all that scrubbing.
Julia revisits the stitch length regulator unit from the previous day's work. The screws over the stitch gauge plate are too tight, which complicates things as she removes the stitch length regulator lever. This lever is held in place partially by a nut, on the inside of the stitch plate. Undeterred, Julia uses a toothpick to hold this nut in place, and after she removes the lever, the nut falls straight through and out the bottom of the machine. Julia will call in Tech Support (aka her husband, Mark) to help with the stubborn screws later.
Earlier, Julia made a note of a symbol she found on both Jill's handwheel and under the base of the machine.
She has seen this symbol on a few of her other machines and decides today is a good time for some historical sleuthing.
While the two symbols are similar, they aren't identical. The logo behind the handwheel is some part, with an intertwined D and J inside of it. There is also some alien-looking upside down B-like letter nearby. The symbol on the base has an intertwined D and J interlaced with CORP. The D & J CORP symbol over DOEHLER-JARVIS, wrapped around the oval, incorporates two angled lines coming off the oval. Interestingly, there may be an apostrophe or some other little mark to the right of the D.
Julia looks up "Doehler-Jarvis" and learns Herman Doehler started the Doehler Die Casting Company in 1907, which made various cast metal items. Doehler Die Casting also created parts for the automotive trade, including hood ornaments. In 1945, his company bought the Jarvis Company and became Doehler-Jarvis Company. Jarvis made automobile trimmings, furniture, and appliances, and did the finish work on Doehler hood ornament castings. There was no specific mention of them making sewing machine castings in her research, but the marking on Jill makes it clear they were in the sewing machine business for a least a little while!
There is more to the history of Singer and the Dohler Die Casting Company, but it will have to wait for another time.