A delightful work colleague and friend wanted to give her grandmother’s old sewing machine a good home. She had no idea what it was but offered it to me. It was in a locked case whose key was long lost. I was thrilled to take it, sight unseen. But when I managed to open the lock with a random desk key (a letter opener works even better), what a discovery! I am grateful beyond belief. This is the machine in question:
The surprise machine turned out to be a Singer 99, built in February 1924. It operates with a knee lever, has an attached light and is one of the earliest models of electric sewing machines made. Check out that bentwood cover. Gorgeous! Here’s a closer look at all the accessories it came with:
My friend had no idea what model and year it is, but it’s amazing what you can find on the Internet. Here are the resources that helped me identify my new machine.
I used this site to determine that it is a Singer 99:
You simply look at the features and styling of your machine and answer the questions until you narrow down what model it is.
Here’s the Singer resource for looking up the serial number to determine date of manufacture:
The Singer 99 sewing machine is a three-quarter-size machine that reviews say is an excellent piece of equipment. I put some Gütermann on top (the bobbin was already in place) and used the instruction book to see how to thread it.
Darn if the thing doesn’t work perfectly! It’s straight stitch only, but what a treasure! Even the light works. I’d never used a knee pedal before, but it’s convenient and easy to operate.
One of the things I love about sewing is that it is a very old craft form. The process of sewing — how a dress is made, how a mechanical stitch is made, the need for hand sewing — hasn’t changed much at all since sewing machines were invented. New machines have a number of bells and whistles for convenience (and I love my Viking for them), but a seamstress from 1924 would recognize what I do today. And I’d recognize what she did. Especially if she were doing it on a brand new (to her) Singer 99 sewing machine.
Yes, My Friend, your grandmother’s sewing machine has found a good and appreciative home. Thank you so very much for thinking of me.
Tagged: Singer 99