A Closer Look at Featherweight Drip Pans
by Christian Henry
The drip pan wouldn't be considered a mechanical piece of the Featherweight, but it does serve a few purposes. The metal drip pans hold the felt drip pad liners, which collect excess oil and grease that drips down from the moving parts in the machine. Together the drip pan and felt drip pad serve as a noise reducer. From a historical standpoint, the drip pan gives clues to when and where the machine was made. There were a total of 5 drip pan styles for the 221 and just one for the 222.
1933 Nickel Finish, Silver-Colored:
The first Featherweight drip pan had a nickel finish, giving it a silver colored appearance. It was used on approximately the first 2,000 featherweights.
The most common drip pan was black in color and used on all US-made Featherweights (after the silver drip pan) as well as the 221K Featherweights from 1947 to about 1950. (The K letter suffix only indicates that the machine was made in Kilbowie, Scotland. Click here for further historical reading.)
The black wrinkle drip pan was used on the black 221K Featherweights from 1951 through 1961. While it does have the wrinkle paint finish, it does not have any correlation to the "Wrinkle" Featherweight from 1939 and 1940.
Wrinkle Black with Warning:
Most all Tan Featherweights were fitted with this back wrinkle finish pan with a note about making sure the machine is unplugged.
The Tan Featherweights also had a different drip pan nut with a slot in it for a large screwdriver. Compared to the basic thumb nut on the other styles.
The Masonite board is held on by just one small single screw.
222K Wrinkle Black:
The 222 Featherweight had just one pan style, and it was much smaller in size than the 221. It had the same finish as the 221K wrinkle drip pan.
Below is a picture of April's repainted jadeite 222 showing the placement of the smaller drip pan tray underneath the machine.
Note: The thumb nut for the 222K drip pan tray is smaller than the one for the black and tan 221 Featherweight and are not interchangeable. Drip pan thumb nuts for the 222 are more difficult to find, so don't lose it if your 222K has its original!
Black Circle Felt:
For all metal drip pans, a little black circle felt was placed just under the thumb nut to help absorb any possible excess oil.
Hint: They're the same size as the common red spool pin felt, and can be used interchangeably, if you prefer to have a black felt on your spool pin coverplate.
Felt Drip Pad Liner:
Inside each metal drip pan, there should be a felt pad to soak up grease and oil. If the pad on your machine's drip pan is missing or greatly saturated with oil, click here for the product and here for the replacement tutorial.