Don’t Ignore the Kenmore

When it comes to brand name Singer is a household name. Singer is known for quality and reliability and Singer’s reputation is well deserved. Well, this is certainly true for the all metal sewing machines up to and including the 500 series. Then things started to get confusing… Singer numbered later models such as the 237, 347, 348, etc that are not in the same class of quality as the older model 221 or 201. or the 301, 327, 328, or the 401A, 403A, 404, 411, or the 500A, 503A. These machines are exceptional and top of their class. The later models are not. This is very confusing for you if you are looking for the highest quality machine. The differences are night and day. This said, the later Singers (up to about 1968… when Singer transitioned from steel gears to nylon gears) are good quality machines. So before you decide on a vintage Singer, date of manufacture is the key. The later models began to show Singers attempts to stay competitive with Japanese made machines that offered high quality manufacture and more features. That meant they began cutting costs by using more plastic and manufacturing less precise bobbin assemblies, (In my opinion because I work on these things). This is very confusing for you if you are looking for a high quality machine… the differences are night and day. Before you decide on a vintage Singer, date of manufacture is the key.

Kenmore machines were made by several manufacturers. early model straight stitchers were generally made by White. The 148 and 158 models were made in Japan and are very high quality. Kenmores’ generally feature 1.0 to 1.3 amp motors (compared to Singer .53 amp motors), have a larger selection of pattern cam choices (30 vs 24) for their machines that use cams, and features extra high lift. Kenmore offers probably the best mechanical button hole system of any all metal vintage sewing machine out there. The 148 and 158 series machines are powerful, quiet, and will last for a very long time. If you keep your choices to vintage Kenmore machines made up to 1972, you will probably find a Kenmore machine that has all of the features you want and will run neck and neck with a Singer of the same vintage. Usually for less money too!

Don’t ignore the Kenmore over Singer for a high quality vintage all metal sewing machine!

Published by pungoliving

First and foremost, I decided to share some of my experiences with vintage all metal sewing machines. It is a natural progression of my life experience exercising my hands and my mind. My background is a simple story... graduating High school, I wanted a trade. I landed an apprenticeship at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in welding. 5 years later after earning certification and working in many different environments, I decided to enroll in College and earn an Engineering. At the same time, I married a wonderful girl and started a new life. Graduating College with a degree in Structural Engineering, I began a 35 year career in the Federal Government. Along the way, we were blessed with 3 beautiful children. Earning a Masters degree in Engineering and registration as a Professional Engineer I worked for the benefit of my family and my Country. Over the years, I have pursued many different hobbies... woodworking, car mechanics, astronomy, and taking apart and putting together all sorts of things. Pretty much anything I could put my mind and my hands into. So now, many years later, I am retired and finally able to wile away my days at home with the love of my life. Her interests have always been in sync with mine, but spending so much free time with her, I realized how broad her talents are! One interest she is particularly fond of is sewing. It didn't take me long to put 2+2 together and realize that I could do something with this. So, acquiring, adjusting, servicing, and restoring sewing machines was a win-win. I have a hobby that is detailed, involves tinkering with precision engineered high quality manufactured machines, while she has an opportunity to sew on various different makes and models of sewing machines. While there are many that have information on line, and what I have to say more than likely has already been said, I wanted to contribute to that conversation and learning gleaned from my experience and research.

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