Is it a Singer or is it a Janome? Well, if you guess either one, you are half right! In fact, it is a Singer made by Janome… Weird huh!
The Singer model 191U was made in Japan in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s. It uses a class 15 side loading bobbin, uses an oscillating hook mechanism, uses standard 15×1 needles, has a drop feed dog mechanism controlled by a knob located on the bed in front of the pillar. It is driven by an external belt drive motor.
Here’s the history…
Pine Sewing Machine Company was established in 1921 by Yosaku Ose and Shigeru Kamematsu. They quickly began using the trade-name of Janome which was registered by them in 1935. In 1954 Pine’s founding partners split, and the exiting partner took the name “Pine” to form his own company, while the remaining partner changed the name of the existing business to ‘Janome Sewing Machine Company.’
The Singer operations located in Utsunomiya northwest of Tokyo, Japan was established in 1954 when Singer bought a 50% stake in the struggling Pine Sewing Machine Company. The remaining 50% was owned by The Japan Steel Works.
From November 1956 onwards all export production at the factory was badged as Singer machines and sold through the Singer organisation. Singer financed the retooling of the Pine factory in Utsunomiya. Initally, machines made at the new plant were badged as ‘Merritt’ but a year or so later once they were satisfied about the product quality, they changed to producing machines under the Singer brand name.
By 1959 the Pine Sewing Machine Company was producing over 70,000 Singer machines a year. Although these were mainly for domestic sale within Japan, about 15% of the production was exported to other countries. Singer machines produced at the Utsunomiya factory were identified by a suffix U added to their model numbers. Their serial numbers took the form of ‘TA, TB, TC etc. followed by 6 digit numbers which were allocated sequentially.