Friday, 21 June 2013

My Singer 201 Treadle Sewing Machine

Today I picked up my 201 Singer Treadle Sewing Machine. It came with a green tin that said Singer and 201 on it, with a few spare feet and a spare new belt inside, no documentation. The machine is able to fold into the table neatly. It is a bitch to get out though. There are two keyholes, one where it folds into itself and one on the drawer, no keys came with the table.

The badge says it was made at the Wittenberge factory and the serial number is C3326731; this factory produced machines from 1908 - 1943, but mostly military by the time it closed. According to information on the internet, there are no records as they were destroyed at this factory when Russian soldiers took East Germany and the factory (then emptied it for war reparations in 1943). I did however find a page on the internet that gave a date to my serial number range as 1929, but the link to the page said that those dates were several years off. There's a few telling signs that this is a 201K-1, as it has a few variations from the norm.
201K-1 = treadle, ...-2 hand crank, ...-3 electric

Picture of the D plate

The bottom view of the table by the treadle, where belt holes are.

The view of the same holes, indicated by colour, from the top, with the machine levered forwards.

I cleaned her up, she is named Calliope, and I fussed with the tension because it was hairy as anything and somewhere between finishing cleaning her and getting the tension right, I threaded the leather belt through her, ran her very nicely on treadle power, then took the belt out and completely forgot how I did it previously. I simply did it the first time and now if I try to do it, whatever way I do it results in the belt rubbing up against the wood (super thin yucky). This obviously did not happen when I was happily peddling away the first time. I literally have no idea what I did right.
I also cannot find ANYTHING, any video or images of the view I've shown above, to help me thread mine correctly again. Any site I go to for help is all about shortening the belt and that's it. For some odd reason (conversion to electricity??), my table has FOUR holes to choose from when threading. The logical choices are the pink and cyan holes as the red hole is too far away, the blue is too to the side and the green is under the folding flap and rubs more against the wood than it does when its in the cyan hole, which is where the problem is.
I know I'm putting the belt in correctly into the treadle, there's a loop at the front and back that it needs to go through, the front has a switch that I can press to the side that holds the belt and so the wheel cannot turn at all. That all seems good. It's the wood holes that are the problem.
This bugs me.
Will ask Yahoo groups that I've joined.

 Problem solved!! The folding bit of desk closest to me/the sewer can be pushed further towards me and that clears it away from the belt. It didn't budge when I was fiddling with it earlier, but I've never touched this kind of mechanism before so I put it down to ignorance. Huzzah!!

Otherwise, I feel fucking empowered. She was made in a factory with machines etc etc, I know I wouldn't have her without modernity and technology, but she is not made to be replaced, she is made to last. She has all her original parts, or at least all Simanco, she was well looked after mechanically and she is QUIET.
As winter progresses and our electricity is systematically controlled by the power companies, I will be able to sew regardless of whether we have power or not, whether it is 2.00PM or 2.00AM, whether someone is on the phone in the same room or not.
Fucking empowered.


  1. Stunning sewing machine! Singer has such beautiful machines, I actually got the Singer jubilee edition from last year

  2. What a nice find! I used to have a New Home treadle machine. The bobbin was like a small bullet. I think mine was made around 1890. Yours is wonderful!! Better technology!! joy