Wednesday 19 December 2012

The First Machine I Cleaned Up - 1937 Frister and Rossmann Transverse Shuttle

It hadn't been used for a long time when I got it.  It was a bit grimy and stiff, and over about a fortnight I cleaned it up.  This is the machine that I learnt so much from.  Once it was oiled and running it was an absolute joy to sew with.

Eventually I made the Youtube videos to show that with very basic equipment, anyone can clean  up an old sewing machine - provided it isn't rusty or otherwise too far gone.  You don't need a workshop and fancy tools.  I do all my tinkering on the dining room table - well covered with old newspaper of course.


  1. your videos are helping so much with my old hand cranked 99K but I am having a bit of trouble with the bobbin winding mechanism... the new rubber ring went on just fine but doesn't want to engage no matter where I set the adjustment screw also pulled the winding gear apart and cleaned it as it was stuck but it still isn't working properly ... any clues?

  2. Hello Mo,

    Sometimes the tyre doesn't make sufficiently firm contact to turn properly. You can just keep it pressed in place with your finger while turning the winder. I can do a post with pictures in the next few days to show how to adjust it.


  3. That video on cleaning a vintage machine proved to be inspiring indeed. I was so fascinated by it that I bought a hand-cranked Singer at a Dutch auction site. It turned out to be a Singer 128 made in 1917.
    It needs to be cleaned and oiled yet, but I'm waiting for my order of Peek polish to arrive.

    Then I read an article on the site of Helen Howes that the long bobbins were less suitable for larger projects. So I found a younger Singer model that takes the class 15 bobbins.
    That one is a 15-88, made in 1953.

    I've made a small patchwork table cloth using the 15-88, because all it needed was a bit of oil.
    Oh, and I had to take apart the hook and race (I believe that's how they're called), because the bobbin case was jammed in in an incorrect position.
    If it hadn't been for your videos I would never even have dared to try that.

  4. Hello Marianne,

    Lovely to hear from you! Congratulations on tackling the problem with the Singer 15!

    Long bobbin machines might be considered less suitable for larger projects because the bobbins hold less, so you have to refill them more often. Another (slight) disadvantage is that most attachments that have to be screwed to the bed of the machine, for instance a seam guide or underbraider, have to be moved to open the slide plate, whereas with a round bobbin machine you can leave them in place when changing the bobbin.

    I made my wedding dress on an 1896 Singer 28K, and have made quilt tops on my 1897 Singer 28K, on the Frister and Rossmann shown above and on my Serata treadle - all long bobbin machines. Stopping now and again to refill a bobbin really doesn't bother me too much. On some machines you can refill a bobbin as you sew, but working the machine is a bit heavier.

    I hope your Singer 128 cleans up well, and I am sure you will enjoy using it as much as you have enjoyed using the Singer 15.




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