Sunday, June 05, 2011

Another vintage Singer

Yesterday I spent the day with hubby's family for the public auction of his grandfather's estate. The 2 hour drive was lovely once we got past Harrisburg. None of us are city drivers so the heavy traffic and numerous lane merges were a bit nerve-racking. But once we got out of the city, the minor highway was smooth and uncongested and the scenery was stunning. The day was absolutely fabulous, mid 70's and sunny with a gentle breeze. We did get a downpour that lasted an hour or so right at the end of the sale, but by then there wasn't much left so it wasn't too much of an issue.

The sale was just outside of Belleville, a largely Amish community nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains. The home was his grandparents "getaway" place for years then after Blanche passed away, Buck made it his permanent home. The sale had a fair attendance, maybe 70 or so at it's height. Better than half were local Amish folk who seemed to be there more for entertainment than to buy. C was mostly interested in visiting with his family but I was paid attention to the sale in the hopes of taking home a few family keepsakes.

I picked up a large lot of Blanche's doilies and table runners. There are a lot of beautiful pieces in the lot and I'm hoping they clean up well since many are musty and stained from years of use then storage. I also got a box of her hand cut quilting templates and quilt patterns which I haven't had a chance to go through yet. Blanche loved to sew and the few times I got to spend time chatting with her we loved to talk about sewing.

C got some of Buck's old radios which he was thrilled to discover all work and have great sound. We will enjoy using one of the portables to listen to the baseball games this summer out on the deck.

But the absolute topper to the day was getting one of Blanche's old Singer sewing machines. It is my understanding she had a lot of sewing machines. There were 5 at yesterday's sale alone. The 3 electric portable machines actually went unsold (I won't get on my soapbox about how poorly the auctioneers handled the sale, but there was no reason that should have happened.) Unfortuneately, we were in my mother-in-law's vehicle and did not have room to transport them or I would certainly have taken them as well. There was another vintage Singer in cabinet that sold as part of the furniture auction, but again, it would not fit in the vehicle so I had no option but to let it go.

The machine I got was sitting off to the side of the auctioneers stand when we arrived, among the pile of unsold items actually. The minute I saw it and pointed it out to C he insisted I had to get it. I was thrilled when I asked one of the staff if it has been sold, since we arrived about an hour in to the sale. She said no she thought it would be part of the furniture sale. Turns out, they did not sell it as part of the furniture. In fact, while the furniture in the home was being sold by the auctioneer, his wife continued the household goods sale outside. As luck would have it, she put the machine up during this time I and got it for the starting bid of $5. Insanity. I thought for sure one of the Mennonite would have tried for it, or even the Amish since this machine is convertible (can be used as a treadle machine or electric). C's family all agreed Blanche would be thrilled I got it and I agree.

So here she is, my "new" Singer 99
She cleaned up fabulously. The cabinet is worn and the varnish is crackled under the surface, but not peeling. The support arm is present and there is a hidden drawer where we found a box containing all the attachments and a ton of old cardboard bobbins.


 The machine runs very well. The drive belt is worn, dried out and cracked with age. But it works. The light is even working.

There is an issue with the bobbin though. When the bobbin cover is on, the bobbin won't turn. Looking at the underside of the cover it appears the case is not properly adjusted and is rubbing the cover. Fortunately we have a gentleman here in town who works on old sewing machines. I'm hoping he can replace the worn belt and figure out what's going on with the bobbin.
All in all, I am thrilled. I love old Singers to begin with. Having one with family history is priceless.

A few facts I've found about the Singer 99...
My model was manufactured 1956 at the Elizabethport factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
There were 25,000 made
The 99 is a 3/4 head size machine
It is NOT a Featherweight
It is a convertible machine, can be used as a treadle machine or electric.

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