Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Two Times the Trouble!

And I WAS doing SO WELL at staying on the wagon!

But maybe that is only because I’ve been out of town without a car to get me into too much trouble!

And in nothing flat, just like that, I ended up with a case in each hand, heading for the van, putting them in my car and driving away ---

With a big fat smile on my face!

“Rescuing sewing machines is much like rescuing cats!”  I often tell people. 

How many sewing machines I *NEED* isn’t in question.

How many sewing machines I can restore, keep running,  and preserve is the goal!

One of these is in really rough shape, and I nearly left it behind…but the message  written in red crayon on the case tugged at my heart:


Love is in a sowing (Sewing) pach (patch) of frinds (friends) and family.

Signed Brooklyn.

(Probably gave Grandmol a Grand Mal when she saw her case like this!)
and Grandpaw.


The machine inside really needs some help.


Years of tar and nicotine in the sewing room of a smoker.


It’s nasty and yellow and I can scrape it off with my finger nail.

Presser foot and bobbin case case missing.


Bobbin tire needs replacing, and look at all that gunk!




Poor thing!

See what I mean?  Some elbow grease and a few replacement parts and a good going through should get Brooklyn’s machine back up and running.  And I guess this one already has a name, it belongs to Brooklyn!


301 A badge

Her serial number is NA432350 with a manufacture date of 1951.  The A simply means she MAY HAVE made in Anderson, South Carolina.  If it doesn’t have the A, It could have come from the Elizabeth, NJ facility, but there is NO DIFFERENCE in the machine.

I gleaned the following info HERE.

What is the difference between a 301 and 301A?
The short answer is, “The A”! This is probably THE most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) about 301s. All sorts of false rumors have circulated, citing everything from color to bed length to motor lube and plug design as the difference between the two. The “A” here signifies the manufacturing plant in Anderson, SC. 
But it gets puzzling.....The 301s all have earlier serial numbers than 301As, and lack the “A” on the model badge. Yet, ALL of the 301 and 301A badged machines have serial numbers beginning with NA or NB, prefixes assigned to the Anderson plant.
Why the “A” began to appear mid-production is still under investigation, but for now my theory is that Singer simply decided to start badging the Anderson plant machines the same way they did for their foreign plants, to distinguish them from the main plant in Elizabeth, NJ.
The results of two surveys of 301 machines have not yielded any distinguishable, consistent difference after the “A” was added, so I will simply refer to them as 301s (inclusive).

2nd machine’s badge – No A!
Fact or Fallacy?
All of that said, I have recently learned from a retired Singer plant manager that ALL sewing machine manufacture was moved from the Anderson plant back to Elizabeth in 1958, including the last of 301 production (they were making only the two-tone 301 by that time).
It is easy to understand why the model and serial numbers for the last of the 301 run would have just continued as they were in Anderson, but it is a bit puzzling why 400 and 500 series machines, now made in Elizabeth, continued with the “A” following the model number. More questions!
The second machine is also a mocha long bed, and not near as disgustingly dirty.
This one does have some of the “freckling” going on with the paint job on the bed, the same as my Spotty Dotty which won’t affect how she runs – it’s under the clear coat!  She should clean up nicely.
Her bobbin case is present as is the presser foot.
Serial number is also NA111865 which makes her just a bit older than her dirty sister above! 
Why this one does NOT have an A, and the other one does remains a mystery!
Both machines run freely. Both need a bit of a spa treatment both in how they look, and with some lubing and oiling and adjusting. The wiring on both are good, no problems there.
Oh, and the quilt back you see them posed on, well that was SUPPOSED to be my job today.  Applying binding!
I got this far:
Binding ready to apply!

I still may be able to get to this tonight…I need a label and a hanging sleeve as well!

But what I’m really longing to do is get out the cleaning supplies and see if I can give Brooklyn a bath and see how she shines up!

Don't forget!  Quilt Cam tomorrow evening at 9pm EST!

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  1. Hi Bonnie,

    Where did you find your new additions to "the family"? I am sure you will work wonders on cleaning them up and getting them in as good a working order as possible. Must say I admire your stamina and absolutely love your blog.

  2. Good luck, Bonnie, with cleaning those gems! What a great find. The older machines have so much character. I was given an old Bernina 830 Record that had been used by a smoker. I still cannot get rid of the smoke smell despite many, many hours of cleaning it. How are you going to get rid of the smell of your Singer machines?

  3. Bonnie, if you have the time, would you be so kind as to take pictures as you clean and oil your new machines (the spa treatment)? I would love to see how you do it!

  4. Anonymous4:57 PM EDT

    Lucky you with your double find! That is the model & year I hope to find sometime (with any luck). :)

    Happy cleaning & rehabbing,
    Deborah Tell

  5. Once I got my 301A longbedmachine cleaned and running she has become my favourite ! Enjoy !

  6. Congrats on the newest additions to the family!
    Would love to hear more about what products you use to clean the babies during Quiltcam tomorrow...

  7. I bought a 301 A as my very first "older" machine. I was disappointed--what was I expecting I don't know. At any rate if nothing else it gave me a new respect for "Helga" my Viking machine. Mainly I think that the foot pedal just goes Waaay too fast and I cannot get it to slow down...I am not machine savvy...I guess...hugs, Julierose

  8. Hi Bonnie!
    I'm for what Terri in BC said ;)

  9. Jo Grey

  10. Hi Bonnie!
    I'm for what Terri in BC said ;)

  11. I Love, Love, Love 301s and have a "few" myself. They clean up very nicely and they are such wonderful machines - real workhorses! If it makes you feel any better about falling off the wagon, I would have fallen for the machine with the loving message on it too!

  12. Yes, tell us what you use to clean and freshen Brooklyn! Thanks for sharing your find. Double trouble is good sometimes!

  13. I just can't believe you find these so easily and I can barely find one unless it's priced in the stratosphere!!! But at least you know exactly what to do to take care of the majority of the issues that these babies have.

  14. Wish I could find a 301. Lucky you. Not many to be had in my neck of the woods (North Florida).

  15. Wow two in one day!!!! Sounds like you need a 12 step program. Wish I could find some of those old machines, I will keep looking. Have fun playing with them, and yes you did a good thing rescuing them.

  16. Good saves, Bonnie -- those machines will have renewed life because of you!

  17. I would love to know how to get that musty smell out of the case - I have tried leaving it out on the grass in the back yard (90+ degree days) - open and hanging over my clothesline - charcoal briquettes inside - baking soda inside - you name it, I have tried it and nothing seems to work - any other ideas???

  18. Yeah on the 301 finds!! I love the note!...my daughter wrote inside the cover of her dad's tool box with a crayon when she was little and we both still love it and she is now almost 30. :)
    I rescued a little black "HOME" machine today at the local thrift store...I just got home so don't know any info on it yet other than it's very clean and wiring looks good but think it has motor issues....we will see. :)
    Can't wait til quilt Cam!! YaY!!

  19. Bonnie,
    I went to an auction a couple of weeks ago, to "see" a Singer treadle. I came home with both the treadle (a LOVELY Red Eye in a very nice cabinet) and a Singer in a bentwood case, I think she is a 128-13 maybe. Long shuttle. I haven't cleaned them up yet, working too much at my "regular" job. I'm the one with the Ruby, I emailed you pics of her months ago, and you got a lot of responses. My Ruby is nothing like the New Home Ruby, my Ruby's body is more like the Rockford L. I still can't find anything about her. Long shuttle, patent of June 29, 1897 on her front slide plate. Unicorns in her scroll decals on bed and front and back of pillar. I've found a treadle base to put her on, I just have to make the table. Have any of your followers heard of a "Helping Hand" treadle? She's a 3/4 size long shuttle honey, sews like a dream. Her front plate assembly is similar to an Improved New Goodrich (I've had my "Goody" for over 37 years). Enjoy Quilt Cam, I will be working. I love the information you have available! Keep on quilting, Norma

  20. Who knew? Not me. I look at lots of boxes, totes, cases that may have hidden "treasures" in them but I never knew what maybe hiding in a case like these? No telling how many I have walked by with blinders on. I know better now.
    I bet you are sewing with one of them on Quiltcam tomorrow night!


  21. Bonnie,
    Congratulations on the great finds! I hope to find one of these someday!
    Terri in Texas

  22. You are sooo funny!And it's great fun (and learning) to read you!

  23. We dont get such a huge variety of machines in the UK,but I too am rescuing and restoring whatever I can find,and at last I have a Featherweight.I love cleaning and fixing them so they can all have a useful life.A lady at a recent sewing class thought it funny that I refer to all my machines as "she" and they all have names.My Singer 201 is my everyday machine,her stitches are beautiful,and she will just keep on going all day.My daughter is now the proud owner of two vintage Singers,I think she has caught the bug!Your blog has been a constant inspiration, grimes2010@live.com

  24. Hey Bonnie.... I'm with the other girls just maybe you could do a Quilt-cam on giving spa treatments to the machines we rescue. I recently purchased a 1922 Sphinx at a yard sale for $25and got a cabinet on craigslist for it. Great dirty find but no name for it yet...lol

  25. I have a bunch of 301s. I brought one to the Amherst museum crumb class! I love to clean them! I use TR3 polish glaze from the auto store and bags of cotton balls. I rub the TR3 in small circles with the cotton until I get no more dirt. Takes a lot of cotton. On the insides ,I use rubbing alcohol or Krud Kutter on cotton rags and wood sticks. Everything that moves gets liberal Tri-flow oil. If I was closer, I would clean them for you!

  26. Priorities.... a girl must have priorities! Lol... Congrats (I think) on the two new machines. Enjoy! Nothing like a feeling of accomplishment when a chore gets done. Hope that Brooklyn enjoys her bath!

  27. 213I really enjoy the information you come up with on your sewing machine finds. I recently found a pink sewing machine at our Goodwill for $25.38. Across the top it says Precision Sewing Machine and on the front it says Universal. I have been searching the internet but so far have not come up with any information. My neighbor helped me with the threading and it runs great. The machine is very clean. It did not have a top for the carrying case and it is VERY heavy!



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