Antique Singers

Looking for metal index card filing cabinets on Craigslist (a story for another day), I found an antique Singer with the original cabinet for a great price.

Good Man and I went and picked up this beautiful machine today.

Singer 15

So this serial number shows that this came from the Wittenberge (Prussia) factory. Unfortunately, all of the records from that factory have been destroyed. I assume from the war.

From 1939, this factory produced war supplies. When this part of Germany came under Russian control at the end of the war, the Russians stripped the factory.


Worn Emblems

Centimeter Markings in the Cabinet

The coffin top locks were both crammed full of stuff. Crammed full, down to having seeds and beans in them!

Coffin Lock

Seeds and Beans

Back Plate

Face Plate

I’m not sure if this plate is the original plate, since it doesn’t match ones I saw online that are from the factory.

Singer Plate

I think this machine is supposed to have a thumbscrew to drop the feed dogs, but I don’t see it.

This machine has an oscillating shuttle. It didn’t come with a bobbin holder, but it takes my modern machine’s bobbin holder and metal bobbins. NOW I know why my bobbins are “class 15” bobbins! Because they were the Singer standard for Singer 15s!


Years ago, I bought this antique Singer at a thrift store for $35. I didn’t have a treadle for it, but look! It fit!

I was pleasantly surprised. Good Man assumed it would fit. It would be great if modern manufacturers would take a clue from this… (Apple and your chargers for i-Whatevers, I’m looking at you. Nikon and your proprietary batteries that aren’t interchangeable among models or chargers, you too.)

You can tell this one is cosmetically in really good shape, with all of those decals.

Singer 127

This indicates the machine in a Singer 127, built on August 5th, 1920 in the Elizabeth, New Jersey factory.

Born in New Jersey

127 Rear Plate

I’m missing a plate over the bobbin, but I can get a replacement online. The needle on this machine won’t move at all, but I assume (hope) a good cleaning and oiling will fix it right up.

Face Plate

The shuttle for this is very different than modern bobbin cases. There is thread stuck in there.


Singer 15 vs 127 in Size

The coffin top fits fine and is in excellent shape, only chipped in one corner.

Closed Up


One of the coolest things about this purchase, though, is that it came with the original sales paperwork and a (not entirely complete) translation!

So I know the machine was from at least 1937. Considering how far it had to travel, and that the records from the factory are destroyed, it could be a different year.

Bill of the Sale

Model 16 D 26

The cost was 395 pengo and a 12 pengo deposit was made.


Based on Google translate, this says thanks for paying the entire invoice, 20 April 1942. I guess the family paid a bit each month?


Official Dealer

The machine does work, although I might need to tighten the belt a bit, and the treadle is harder than it looks! The same site that helped me service my manual typewriter has information on antique sewing machines. My goal is to get this machine to work and to use it for simple quilting.

I am so excited to have this little machine!