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schoolhouse | historical

Birthdate Machines

How great it would be to have a Singer Featherweight made on the very year you were born, or the year you graduated from high school or college or perhaps the year your child was born. The data below, inspired by Graham Forsdyke's original reference chart, graphs the number of machines manufactured or commissioned in any given year throughout their production.  This may help you determine the ease of finding machines to perhaps coordinate with personal milestones or significances. Some years are easy, others difficult and, of course, many are impossible. Check the following chart for the possibilities of finding...

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Centennial 1851-1951

Singer, rightfully proud of its company history, celebrated its centenary in 1951 by giving all machines commissioned for that year a special commemorative badge. It was the standard Singer emblem of the time but with the inscription "A Century of Sewing Service 1851-1951" around the outside of the oval. These "limited edition" models, commissioned for only one year, are sought after by collectors and will add slightly more value to the machine assuming the machine is in comparable condition to a standard Featherweight.   Most have the 1951 serial numbers but authenticated models with 1948 to 1952 serial numbers have...

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The Free-Arm Featherweight 222K and How It Differs

The Singer Featherweight 222K Sewing Machine (and how it differs from a 221 Model)   Inventory of our Singer Featherweight 222 Machines is constantly turning over.  Before we get a chance to put them on the site, they are often sold.  Therefore, please e-mail directly regarding our current inventory. Approximately 100,000 222K Featherweights were made worldwide and is one of the best sewing machines ever made. Sometimes referred to as the "221 Free-Arm" by those who are not familiar with the model 222K - these Featherweight Sewing Machines were manufactured identically to the original 221 but with two additional (highly...

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Chicago World's Fair

The Singer Featherweight 221 Model Sewing Machine first debuted at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1934. This Exposition was held from May to November, 1933 and May to October, 1934 with the motto “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms”. The official theme was “A Century of Progress” commemorating Chicago’s 100-year anniversary. Technological innovation with advanced aircraft, dream cars and “Homes of Tomorrow” all drew large crowds with exhibits featuring many modern conveniences.   (Click photo below for panoramic aerial view of the Chicago World’s Fair.)     By this time, foot-powered treadle machines were being replaced with electric models —...

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San Francisco 1939-1940

  Economists know there is a distinctive difference between Rare and Scarce. One is limited quantities and the other is limited available resources with which to obtain ... so in all honesty, this Singer Featherweight falls into both categories!   At the 1940 World's Fair held in San Francisco, California very few Singer Featherweight machines were promotionally badged with the Golden Gate emblem. As you'll see at first glance it looks very, very similar to the Centennial badge frequently seen but has the engraved title "Golden Gate Exposition San Francisco 1940".   A customer sent this machine to me on...

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Facts & Myths

Singer Featherweight Factsand Some Myths Exposed by Graham Forsdyke Singer Featherweight machines were produced in black, beige/tan and white/green (what the company officially called Pale Turquoise). There were no red, blue or any other colour machines although many have been repainted in later life and new decals added. Black 221 machines were produced at Elizabethport, New Jersey, and at Clydebank, Scotland. Beige/tan machines were produced at Clydebank and at St John's, Canada. White/Green machines were produced only at Clydebank. 222 Freearm Featherweights were produced only at Clydebank. Many UK-built machines were sent across the Atlantic to have motors fitted in...

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Timeline History of the Singer Featherweight

From 1933 to 1969, this timeline provides a detailed history of the Singer Featherweight 221, 222 and all the details surrounding this Singer Sewing Machine. 1933:On October 3, 1933 Singer commissioned the first batch of 10,000 model 221 sewing machines, marketing them as the Singer Featherweight. Experimenting with the design and aesthetics of this new model, some of the distinctives varied, so do not be surprised if you find some subtle changes from machine to machine within this first batch. The first 200 machines (approximately) had these distinctives:  Photo Courtesy of Rob Andre' Stevens 0.6 amp foot controllers different bobbin...

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Advertisements

There were many Singer Featherweight advertisements over the years and we hope to share quite a few of those with you here. If you happen to have a unique one that you do not see listed, please contact us, because we would like to feature it for all to enjoy in the Featherweight Community. Singer Featherweight 221 Advertising Leaflets Singer Featherweight 222K Advertising Leaflets  

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The Tan Featherweight 221J or 221K

This is one of the first "colored" Featherweights (besides "Pale Turquoise") that Singer produced besides the traditional black Featherweight.  It has a few notable differences which will be noted in the photographs below.  Mechanically, the tan Featherweight is identical to the black.  The 'J' after the model 221 simply means the machine was manufactured in St. John's, Quebec, Canada.  The 'K' means it was made in Kilbowie, Scotland (Great Britain).  Most tan Featherweights have the 221J plate.  There are far fewer tan Featherweights than any of the other model Featherweights today, making it one of the more collectible machines to...

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Singer Featherweight 221 & 222 Condition Chart

Over twenty years ago, totally frustrated with inaccurate and misleading descriptions of machine condition, Graham Forsdyke devised the Condition Chart for the International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society (ISMACS). It was quickly picked up by enthusiasts all over the world and is now the universally accepted way of describing a machine. No more "pristine", "mint", "like new", etc, but a method of honestly assessing a machine.  Graham commends its use to all and claims no copyright for this information; it may be freely copied, reposted or distributed in its original form. This scale takes no notice of mechanical condition.  If something...

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