Singer was a global company and did some odd things, like offering the 421G free arm model in Europe and restricting it’s sale in North America. Like the later 431G (1964-65) this machine was very similar to the domestic 401A but added that wonderful detachable bed.
As such, examples of these German made Singers in North America are rare and were only brought back to this side of the pond by individuals, often those who served in the military in Germany, where Singer made the 110V model available for purchase.
The original production numbers of these machines is also very low as it was the top of the line model offered, and was an extremely expensive purchase, costing the equivalent of $4000.00 if we adjust for inflation.
Many people have said that the German made Singers are even better than their domestic counterparts, the tolerances and build quality of all the 4xx series machines is really exceptional and most of them we come across still look and run like new, even though some might be over 60 years old now.
For many years we have been using sewing machine oil (light mineral oil) as well as Tri Flow synthetic oil for it’s excellent penetrating qualities and lubrication, with the only issue being the banana smell of Tri-Flow.
In order to reduce the VOC’s, I opted to switch to Superlube synthetic oil much like we switched to using Superlube grease instead of Tri-Flow grease. The new oil is approved for food service use, is clear, a little thicker than Tri-Flow, and like the grease is safe on just about all plastics.
If you are going to be sewing long and hard and want the best protection for your machine’s moving parts; a synthetic oil is superior to petroleum based oils, lasts longer, and in tests, we have found that the Superlube performs even better than Tri-Flow.
Superlube oil and grease is widely available at many hardware stores, Walmart, and auto supply stores so you don’t have to order it online or hunt too hard to find it.
During this very difficult time we are suspending classes, and any one to one close contact in the shop in order to protect ourselves and our customers and extended family members from any possible infection.
We will continue to offer online sales of parts and accessories as well as online support if you happen to have any simple machine issues.
Machine repairs will be done on a drop off / pick up basis, maintaining adequate social distance measures and proper sterilization procedures of the machines and cases.
As we are looking at a fairly long stretch of self isolation, we know how important it is to be able to enjoy hobbies and activities, and we will support our commercial customers, especially if their work is essential to people’s health.
When Singer introduced the model 66 in 1902 it would stand as the finest machine Singer offered until 1931, when the Singer 201 was introduced. they were produced into the 1950’s and went virtually unchanged save for adding a conventional presser bar, and a reverse / back tack.
The mechanism is so smooth one might think it was a rotary like the 201, and the stitch quality is flawless. These machines were made in the millions and the decal set on this Scottish made machine are unique to the model 66 that was made in Kilbowie.
To this day you would be hard pressed to find a machine that sews any better.
This 1977 Kenmore was the second vintage machine I purchased and it’s wonderful finish and appearance belies the fact that this machine has seen thousands of hours of use and has probably sewn a million stitches.
In the mid seventies Singer had slipped and was still making good machines, but in order to cut costs they had outsourced production and were using a lot more plastic internally which we now see failing in many of their models. Kenmore machines really were the best value for the money as they could run against machines like Bernina and Pfaff, which sold for twice as much and in many cases, were actually less capable or versatile.
If one adjusts for inflation, this machine cost the equivalent of $2000.00 (in 2019) and it is one of the few vintage Kenmores that currently rates a fairly decent price on the secondary market as they are quite hard to come by. I figure that many people who bought one originally are still using their machines as there is simply no reason to upgrade when a machine is this good.
There is something to be said for all metal construction and extremely high quality standards, and I suspect a machine this this will sew for 100 years.
It has never failed in any task and I often use it as the standard by which other machines are judged.
We picked this Husqvarna 1090 up on one of our daily adventures this past week for a ridiculous sum of money, ridiculous as it was so little and the shop selling it really had no idea. To them it was just an “old” heavy sewing machine and they had a few later model plastic machines selling for twice as much.
I have been running it through it’s paces and have to say I am very impressed with the user friendly design as if you have used a sewing machine, this machine is not going to confuse you. The display tells you everything you need to know from what foot to use, and what needle is required.
It has not seen much use and was recently serviced by another local shop, it runs beautifully and makes an incredibly nice stitch, which is what one should expect from any Swedish made Husqvarna.
Dr. Ramon Casas Robert created a working example of the “Grasshopper” as early as 1934 and after being forced to move to Switzerland due to the Spanish Civil War, sold his patents to the Swiss manufacturing firm, Tavaro.
The first Elna left the factory in 1940 and estimates of their total production and sales vary widely over it’s 12 year run, it was supplanted by the Supermatic in 1952.
The design is pure genius, being made of cast aluminium it only weighs 7kg / (15 pounds) and is much lighter than the comparable Bernina 121. It is a rotary hook machine which makes it extremely smooth running, and the case converts to become a sewing table.
The machine packs up very well and is extremely secure in a case that has been likened to a military shell case.
I should note that Elna never called this machine a Grasshopper, this was a name coined by the many fans of this machine.