Monday, November 21, 2011

Singer Lotus 66k

I went out on Saturday with the intention of having a good look round the charity shops (it's a hobby!) and if I saw any sewing machines, so much the better. Lad volunteers at a local very large charity shop on Saturday mornings and has strict instructions to text me if they've got any sewing machines in. No texts, no sewing machines, so I decided to go out to the local junk yard. I've bought two spinning wheels there in the past and it's always interesting there. Lots of interesting things but no sewing machines, unless you count an utterly wrecked Singer cabinet that's not even worth salvaging for spares, it's so rusty.

Then I spotted IT under a table. A Lotus!! There are so many old Singers availible round here in central Scotland that really, you've got to be selective but I've always had a hankering for a Lotus.

Anyway, no sliding bobbin cover plate, no top of case, bit worn on the base, electrics looked a bit ropey. I prepared myself to haggle a bit. I don't like haggling but I do like a bargain! However I didn't have to, the junkyard owner asked for £10 straight off. What's that...about $17? Oh yes, I'll have it, thanks.

Then he asked me if I was interested in a treadle machine that was on the lorry atm. The thought of my Hubby's face if I turned up with two sewing machines? Anyway, the car was full. I'll go back and look at it on Monday.......

So. I now have my old Lotus. it's a 66k, there is a manual with it and I did check the archive pictures to make sure. The serial no is F7629593 which gives me a date of 1917 and I'm assuming it comes from Kilbowie given we're only 30-40 miles away from it. It's 94 years old, which means it was made seven years before my late mum was born. My gran probably used a machine like this and she was born in 1890! I'm absolutely amazed that you can go out and buy a piece of living history like this for £10, honestly. You'd think it should be in a museum. But given that it came from a batch of 75,000 66ks made in 1917, it's not exactly rare. There were more 66ks made than any other sewing machine ever, though the lotus details were discontinued in the late 20's, apparently.

 The big decal on the bed is very worn and scratched which is a pity and there's some rubbing on the front edge but the rest of the decals are good. The metal end plate (no idea of name) has a matching Lotus engraving. I never knew this existed before this weekend. It's absolutely lovely.

The sliding plate to cover the bobbin race is missing but I know a UK spares shop where I can buy one from. It came with the darning plate, a old pack of Singer needles, a tube of Singer motor grease and a pile of evil plastic bobbins. No other accessories. It has a back clamp foot and I've been reading that this means it was one of the first versions of the 66k made.

It's been electrified..the motor is a BUK one,, the same as my 99k, so I'm wildly guessing at late 50's for that? I'm assuming that it was originally a hand crank because there's no slots in the wooden base for a treadle belt. The base, btw, is very, very scruffy. No top.

Oh yes. Does she work? Well, of course. Even before I excavated the half pound of lint from the base and oiled her, she worked. I plugged her at arm's length (Crocs and thick insulated gloves) and she just whirred into action like the old pro she undoubtably is, judging from all that wear. Now she's been cleand and oiled, she's smooth as silk.

  Anyway, I am thrilled. I know 66ks are extremely common and you're probably all laughing at my enthusiasm for a machine you've probably all seen hundreds of times but still, it's one I wanted and I'm happy to have it. Don't much care for peeling old electrics though so I was thinking of turning it back to hand crank or treadle. I do like treadles given that my first ever sewing machine was a treadle.


Panhandle Jane said...

How interesting! I absolutely love some of the old machines. It is obvious that so much effort was spent in making them look decorative as well as functional. I have my grandmother's Singer, the one that replaced her electrified treadle sometime in the 1950s. There are also a couple of reconditioned Featherweights around here. All three make a prettier straight stitch than my more modern computerized machine.

zippiknits...sometimes said...

That is a beautiful machine. It's fairly easy to find the parts for them, as they were shipped worldwide and, as you say, are numerous. What a great junk yard save! You will love the even stitches you will get from it.

I have my grandmother's treadle 66 but it's not nearly as pretty as this one but still sews well.

Enjoy your lovely old Singer. Hope that you get first chance at the treadle and it is in great condition, too.

Wendy said...

It's amazing to me that most of the old treadle and early electric machines have been removed from their bases for other purposes...they are cheap in the US as well. I have an old treadle Singer that belonged to my great grandmother. Great save!

Kirstie said...

I just stumbled upon your blog because I just bought a treadle Lotus on eBay...though I didn't know what it was until I got it home and started researching it. About 4X as much as you....£46...but still a bargain. All seems to work, replaced the strap. Only thing missing is, sadly, the faceplate. Will look to see if I can restore that...wonder if it got taken during the war. Anyway, love that someone else has found a Lotus!

Kirstie said...

Oh, sorry, I should say you called it the end plate. I don't know what it's called either, but end plate/face plate, either work for me.

Unknown said...

I am an amateur sewer, please how do I end a stitche on this machine so it doesn't loose.
nice blog.