I'm sure many of you have seen the decorative scrolled Featherweight faceplates, and one very common question we get here in the Featherweight Shop is, "Can I exchange my striated faceplate for the decorative scrolled one?" The answer is: If you're not a purist and originality is not important, you most certainly can!
The faceplate on the Featherweight is really the finishing touch. Singer didn't give the option for custom configurations to their customers, but nowadays you can use other vintage Featherweight parts to make yours exactly how you want it. Some of you want that pretty scrolled faceplate on your Featherweight regardless of whether it was original. However, if any of you are like me, I'm sure there are many of you who want your Featherweight to be completely original and so you might be on the hunt to restore your Singer Featherweight back to original!
Below, are the 11 original Singer Featherweight Faceplates, from newest to oldest, beginning with the White Featherweight Faceplate (1964-1969ish) all the way back down to the first faceplate style in 1933:
This faceplate was the first faceplate on the Singer Featherweights. It can be distinguished not only by the mirror-like finish (and lack of scroll work) on the far right side but also the exclusive looped lower thread guide. It was used issued from 1933-1934. (Click here for the Singer Featherweight Historical Timeline.)
This faceplate is very similar to the first one with the right mirror finish, but with the adjustment of the lower thread guide. This plate was used from 1934-1937.
The next plate Singer used was from 1937-1947; you will notice how Singer eliminated the chromed mirror reflection and added the scrollwork to the right side.
Faceplate photo, courtesy of Marie Breaux
#4This plate is the rare Wrinkle Singer faceplate from 1939. It would have been used on the Wrinkle Featherweights from that year. It has a rough finish and three linear grooves down the center.
The fifth faceplate was also a rare one used on Blackside Featherweights in 1941 and 1945. The scrollwork looks identical to the #3 faceplate, but it has the black oxide finish and the longer thread guide.
The next and most common Featherweight faceplate, was the striated version used in the US from 1947-1957. It echos an "art deco" appearance, yet was pretty sleek and modern for the time period.
The next Featherweight faceplate was the first scrolled edition on the 221K Featherweights. It looks very similar to the #2 faceplate with the mirrored finish on the right side, but it has a longer thread guide, and the part number on the back is stamped a little bit different and in a different location.
It appears that the Singer Manufacturing plant, based in Kilbowie, Scotland, used parts with styles and designs that were already discontinued in the US. This faceplate would have been used in the UK from 1947-1948.
The one on the left is #2, and the one on the right is #7.
The next plate Singer issued was the later UK scrolled faceplate - in use from 1948-1952.
It is very close to faceplate #3 with the scrolled detailing on the right side, but the part number is stamped slightly different, and the thread guide is a bit longer.
The one on the left is #3, and the one on the right is #8.
After the two scrolled UK faceplates, Singer issued the striated faceplate in the UK from 1952-1961. It was used on both the 221 and the 222.
The difference between this striated plate and #6 is the location of the part number on the back.
The one on the left is #6, and the one on the right is #9.
The next plate was the Tan Featherweight faceplate. From about 1961, this faceplate is molded and painted rather than flat and chromed like the earlier styles. With it's upper front molding, it reminds me of the classic cars from the late 1950's and early 1960's!
The last Featherweight Faceplate was for the White Featherweight 221K.
Molded just like the tan faceplate, but painted White (although the official color was called "Pale Turquoise", it is also known as and often called a "Celery" colored Featherweight). This style is from approximately 1964-1969ish.
These are interesting face plate changes over a 36-year time period (approximately). Let us know what style you have in the comments!