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| Posted by Christian Henry

What's New in The Featherweight Shop Vintage Collection - Sept. 2020

Here at the Featherweight Shop we have quite the collection of vintage Singer items.  Due to our remote location, very few customers have had the opportunity to see the many rare Singer items we have.  This new series of blog posts will be bringing our collection out for all to see what new items we get in every month.  Some of these items may be famous and recognizable, but we are sure there are others that very few have ever seen or heard of.  For the month of September, 2020, here are our most recent finds:  A Singer Yardstick: "The teacher...


| Posted by Christian Henry

The Singer Tools of Yesterday

The improvements in tools have changed dramatically throughout history - from arm-strength, weights, and pulleys to the electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic tools of today.  How have the tools used for working on sewing machines improved?  What did they look like in the past, and what can be used today?  Below are some photos showing the screwdrivers that would have been included with the Featherweight, and some Singer wrenches that would have been used by the Singer repairmen often on more industrial machines. Screwdrivers of Yesterday: These photos show how the original Featherweight screwdrivers have small handles - allowing them to...


| Posted by Christian Henry

A Peek into The Featherweight Shop's Singer Collection

The entryway to our little Shop has become a display area for our collection of Singer items, and we are always happy to share it with those who stop by.  We don't get many visitors as we are out of town and miles from any big city, so we have decided to bring some of the collection to you!  Below are some of our Singer postcards and signs that we have hung around the shop.   Post Cards:  Singer's Cabinet Factory in South Bend, IN Singer Factory in France Singer Factory in Elizabeth, NJ Singer Quebec Factory  Singer French Post Card...


| Posted by Christian Henry

The Design of (and how to use) the Featherweight Foot Controller

The Singer foot controller used with most all Featherweights have quite the peculiar design! With most every other sewing machine in the world having a lever or wide pedal to be pressed by one's foot, Singer does seem to go against the grain, and many are unsure why.  Singer's thought with this style of controller is that the sewer could keep his or her foot on the stationary button while at rest and then rock their foot to the side to initiate power to the machine.  Many find this uncomfortable, and it is a surprise that Singer used this design for so long.  Here is...


| Posted by Christian Henry

What part did Singer play in the success of D-Day?

During WWII, when order L-98 was issued by the government in June of 1942, all production of family sewing machines came to a halt.  This order deemed production of items like sewing machines as unnecessary or non-essential.  As a result, Singer shifted very quickly into making much-needed parts and supplies to help America win the war.  The enormous and well-equipped Singer factories across the globe were able to rise to the call, not only in production but research as well!  Below are a few accounts from Singer archives of how they, directly and indirectly, contributed to the success of D-Day, 76 years ago....


| Posted by Christian Henry

Working for Singer

Looking back at books, magazines, and historical records it appears that Singer was a great company to work for.  They provided many benefits and great facilities for their workforce.  Singer wanted their employees to be able to state proudly, "I work for the Singer Manufacturing Company."  So little is known about what it was like working for this industrial giant 60+ years ago, but we have obtained several records from Singer with awards for years of service, promotions, and testimonies from their employees that may reveal a glimpse of a chapter of history that seems so veiled. Most of these records are...


| Posted by Christian Henry

How to Store the Featherweight

One of our most popular questions is, "How should I store my Featherweight?"  We do know that the Featherweight is a very hearty machine, as many owners have retrieved them from the attic, basement, or closet where they have been kept for many years - to pull them out and use them without complications.  However, to ensure that the machines maintain their beautiful cosmetic appearance and perfect function, the following steps can be taken.1. Make sure that all the accessories are in their proper place. The original Featherweight accessories do have their proper place and keeping them there will save attachments from...


| Posted by Christian Henry

What Shank is The Featherweight?

All 221 and 222 Featherweights are Low-Shank.  It was Singer's most common configuration for their household sewing machines.  The term Shank refers to the position and height of the needle bar and presser bar.  Below is a comparison of the four common machine shanks used by Singer. The Low-Shank: Singer's most common shank and the one that was used exclusively for the Featherweight was the Low-Shank configuration.  The low shank attachments mount on the presser bar 1/2" up.     The Back-Clamping Shank: The Back-Clamping shank appears to have been used primarily on the earlier 66 model Singer machines.  The attachments are taller than a...


| Posted by Christian Henry

Are Some Featherweights Harder to Find Than Others?

Some Featherweights are certainly harder to find than others, but how much harder?  In certain areas all Featherweights may be "scarce", but internet sales have made standard Featherweights much more available.  This post will address not only how many Featherweights were made each year, but also, what is considered a "Rare" Featherweight and how difficult some are to find. Below is a chart showing when Featherweight production was at its highs and lows.   This chart displays Singer's production output of the black Featherweight. Manufacturing greatly slowed down and even came to a halt during WW2, but it soon rose to its height in the early...


| Posted by Christian Henry

A Closer Look at Featherweight Drip Pans

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...


| Posted by Christian Henry

A Look at The Differences Between The "Flat Prong" and "Round Pin" Plugs

For the black Featherweights, Singer had two different connection types.  They aren't interchangeable, so this article can be a reference when checking the compatibility of the machine and cord.   Round Pin Plug and Terminal: The round pin terminals and plugs were used exclusively in the USA, but they can also be seen on most Featherweights sold in Canada, and Featherweights marketed to Europe prior to about 1951.   The photos above show how the cords come out of the top of the plug, and the two halves of the plug are held together by two screws and nuts. A look inside...


| Posted by Christian Henry

A Concise History and Timeline of The Featherweight Light Housings

Many Featherweight light housings have the same shape, but they often vary cosmetically, and they can be a quick reference to when a machine was made.  There were a total of nine different decals used to mark the Singer Featherweight light housings, and there were four different light housing configurations.   Let's begin with the Light Housings made in the USA. 1933 - 1940: The first light housing had the thinner "Singer" decal higher on the housing.   1940-1947: The second light housing had the noticeably thicker "Singer" decal.   1947-1953: The third US Featherweight light housing had a near-identical decal as the first design, but it...


| Posted by Christian Henry

Featherweight Marketing Through The Eyes of Singer

  Take a step back in time and view this trove of original Singer advertisements featuring the Featherweight!  See ads from all over the world marketing the Black, Tan and White Featherweights as well as the 222K.   The Black Featherweight 221:   This is possibly the most concise advertising pamphlet for the Featherweight.  Singer shows all the benefits - from portability to a cabinet or table.   A Canadian B&W magazine clipping from 1950.   This 1950 ad in the Ladies Home Journal shows a unique lifestyle illustration with the Featherweight.   I wonder if anyone still has a Singer Featherweight they won in the...


| Posted by Christian Henry

What to look for when buying a Featherweight

"Is this a good price?", "How do I know if anything is wrong with the machine?", "Are some Singer Featherweights better than others?", and "What do I look for when purchasing a Singer Featherweight?" - these are all common questions we receive from those on the hunt for their first Singer Featherweight.  Buying a Singer 221 or 222 can certainly be intimidating, but we do have some tips and cautions that can help you make the right decision when searching for a machine. What is a good price? When gauging the price of a machine or comparing prices of machines that have already...


| Posted by Christian Henry

A Timeline of The Featherweight Motor

The Motor is one of the most vital parts on the Singer Featherweight.  It is likely to be the first part to display signs of age on almost any machine, so it is important that the motors are properly cared for.  When a motor does wear out, it can be replaced by any original Featherweight motor.  (It can also be rewound, maintaining originality, but we will address that later.)  Of course, there would be exceptions but having the original motor on a Featherweight does not necessarily increase monetary value, but it can add to the appeal and sentimentality of the machine. ...


| Posted by Christian Henry

How Does The Featherweight Compare to Other Singer Machines?

  When Singer introduced the Featherweight in 1933 it was vastly different from most all sewing machines on the market.  This article will compare the Featherweight to the other common Singer machines of its era.   First, to be considered an actual Singer "Featherweight", the sewing machine must be a 221 or 222 model (more information about subsequent number or letter suffixes here), and to learn about the differences of a 221 compared to 222 model, click here.  So, while there were millions and millions of black sewing machine models made by Singer, the 221 and 222 models are the only...


| Posted by Christian Henry

Original Featherweight Tables and Cabinets

Singer tables were what any 1940s homemaker would have wanted to accompany her machine: an adaptable table for sewing or hosting!  Below is a cute ad from Singer, marketing the different ways one of their tables could be used... Pinochle anyone?  Today, some of the most collectible sewing machine tables and cabinets are the ones for the Featherweight.  Below are the various options that can still be found at antique shops, flea markets or even the occasional yard sale -- don't forget to look at what the garage sale goods are "sitting upon", or take a peek under the tablecloth of the...


| Posted by Christian Henry

A Complete Guide to the Variations of Featherweight Hook Assemblies

The hook assembly can be considered the heart of your machine, crucial for timing and stitch formation. Singer did update the design of the hook assembly a few times over the years, and the precision engineering involved means these parts are not interchangeable. This guide is not only a historically interesting look at the inner workings of your machine, but a useful parts identification guide should you need to repair the hook assembly on your Singer Featherweight. The diagram below shows the disassembled parts with the corresponding part numbers as well as the complete unit part #45924. The above photo...


| Posted by Christian Henry

A Concise History of the Featherweight Case

For Singer, the number one selling point for the Featherweight was its portability with the lightweight design of the machine unique and desirable.  For the Singer Featherweight to truly be portable, however, it also had to have a lightweight and compact case - one that would hold the machine, controller and all the accessories.  The Singer Featherweight case is distinctive, and a component that unquestionably sets the machine apart from others Singer made.  In this article, we will analyze the different Featherweight case styles and the various components throughout their years of manufacture.  Type I 1933: Some of the most...


| Posted by Christian Henry

Original Featherweight Foot Controllers

Singer made a variety of foot controllers over the years, and a few different styles for the Featherweight.  All vintage original Featherweight foot controllers are universal and can work with 110 or 220 voltage and with any Featherweight model whether 221 or 222 (the actual plug to the machine may differ, however).  In this post you will be able to see the different foot controller variations that were produced for the Featherweight.   I. 1933 This was the first controller issued for the Featherweights, and they were issued with approximately the first 200 Featherweight machines ever produced.  Not only was it made...