Thursday, February 5, 2015

1916 Singer Hand Crank Sewing Machine

Side Board in the Red Dining Room

On the dining room side board is a stack of neutral fabrics and a 1916 Singer Hand Crank and Case that I purchased from First Street Antiques in Ishpeming, Michigan, owner Bill Carter.  

I first became interested in hand crank machines when my friend Jerry Johnson demonstrated his 1932 Singer model 99 at summer/fall events.  Everyone who stopped in at Jerry's booth watched him sew, joining strips of fabric  to form 2 lb. balls to loom his great rugs.  Jerry's rugs are fabulous.

1916 Singer Hand Crank Model identification:  
The serial number plate G4595778 is located on the right hand side of the machine bed.

There are no model numbers on these early Singer machines.  However, by answering  a series of questions, it is possible to identify the model quickly and accurately.  

Question 1: Electric or people powered?  - Answer: people power by hand crank

Flywheel and Hand Crank

Question 2: Drop in Bobbin, or Vibrating Shuttle?  - Answer: Vibrating Shuttle.
Vibrating Shuttle (bullet shaped shuttle) holds bar-bell shaped wound bobbin
Look at the beautiful gold decals.  Antique and Vintage Singer sewing machines and other brands featured beautiful painted and decal designs.  My 1916 machine decal pattern is "Victorian."

Question 3: Location of  bobbin winding mechanism: top right.

Bobbin Winder

Engraved End Plate is Flat with Rounded Edges

Question 4 - Comparing style of end plate - mine is a decorative engraved flat end plate with rounded edges. 

Question 5 - what is the machine bed width?  Answer:  12-5/32" wide.  

From these answers--my 1916 Singer Hand Crank Sewing Machine is a Model 128.  It is a 3/4 size machine.  

Note: Model 127 machines have a bigger machine bed width, 14-15" wide.

Singer Manufacturing Co. Logo on the case
1916 Singer Model 128, Hand Crank Sewing Machine

For fun, I put some quilt blocks on the machine--to photograph.
(a quilt I'm working on today)

First Street Antiques owner Bill Carter included an extra vibrating shuttle, and this little container of  Boye Needles.

Rolling the container- more information

Thanks for taking  look at my new machine.  
I plan to take it with me when I do shows this summer to demonstrate.


  1. You are brave to tackle one of those old sewing machines. They always look unbelievably complicated to me. The one you bought looks like it was always kept in nice condition. I am sure your demonstration will draw a lot of interest--I love to see old tools and equipment in use.

    I once bought three antique sewing machines (not nearly as nice as yours) for $1. I had no idea how to thread or operate them, but one had the thread already on, and we got it actually to sew a few stitches! I had to give them away during one of my moves, but it was interesting to see how intricate and well made they were.

  2. Loved seeing your sewing machine today. It is beautiful and so is the case. I have one the same age but the pedal kind. Luckily mine came with all the parts to. I have never used it but I can remember my Mom using one just like it...AND throwing it on the garbage heap when she got a new Kenmore!

  3. Hi, Mrs. D. - Your hand crank Singer and its great wooden cover reminded me of the machine that belonged to my grandmother. Her's was also a hand crank, but she had it electrified and could work it either way. I remember watching her when I was a child, and see her switch back and forth within the same job. Thanks for a fond memory!

  4. Hmmm...wonder where the computer is in that machine? Have fun demonstrating at your shows. I'm sure many will enjoy seeing it.

  5. Hello Jim,

    It is always fun to hear from you. What an incredible day to find 3 sewing machines for $1. Just to do research sbout them would have been a hoot! Were they hand crank, treadle, or electric?

  6. Hi Ann,
    Glad to hear from you. Regarding your treadle machine, tell me more . . .

  7. Hi Mark,

    I sewed on it yesterday, and adjusted the tension just slightly. It took some experimenting to find correct direction of thread coming off of bobbin to thread the shuttle.

    Thanks for sharing the memories of your mother's machine. Do you remember what the brand name was?

  8. Hi Gearhart,

    My best friend Gearhart---oh how I miss the old days when we laughed and laughed and laughed. You have the gift of delivering one punch line after another. Keeps us all in stitches (pun intended). And that is just one of your many talents. When are you going to start your website and show off your beautiful hand painted china, and show steps how you create it? Get on it, dude. You can't ride on your good looks for ever.