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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Sunbeam? Sewing machine ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Sunbeam? Sewing machine
Was there ever such a thing
pamfae
pamfae
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Date: 12/14/07 0:59 AM

I'm looking at a thrift sale machine that looks remarkably like the old singers including all the decals - except it doesn't have a singer logo, but something unreadable that looks like 'sunbeam'. Might that be true? Any ideas how I might find some means of identifying it?

Does anyone own a vintage machine that looks like a singer knockoff?

Thanks.

Peggy L
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Date: 12/14/07 6:39 AM

Well Sunbeam used to be a brand of appliances. I got a Sunbeam stand mixer when I got married and had it for 20 years or more. My sister even worked for them for awhile. I don't remember sewing machines but its probably one of the ones "branded" for Sunbeam.

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In reply to pamfae


Date: 12/14/07 6:50 AM

A brief 20th century sewing machine history lesson.

Singer had a very successful sewing machine model called the Singer 15 (this earlier 15 was slightly different than the later 15-91& 15-90 machines, one difference being the hook design/orientation). This Singer class 15 was such a good design, that many of it's principles are still in use today.

Anyhow the sewing machine industry in Japan was able to copy this design due to an expired patent or some other legal loophole. These Japanese sewing machine factories made many of these Singer 15 "clones" and they were badged with all sorts of labels and "brands".

These machines aren't quite as refined as the Singers of the era, but they tend to be sturdy and trouble free when not completely neglected or abused.

Somewhere on the machine head, it will be labeled “made in Japan”. Also, if you look on the underside of the machine, you will find a “JA”, ” JC” or similar stamping followed by a number.

Since the sewing machine industry was highly regulated and subsidized by the Japanese government, every head had a stamp on it that indicated which factory it came from. Unfortunately, we don’t have a complete referenced list available to look up these numbers, but on the vintage Japan sewing group on Yahoo, they do have some of the numbers cross referenced to some of the manufacturers. Really, the machines were all about the same, and it really doesn’t’ matter much which factory it came from.

The Japanese close machines can come in some really pretty colors ( I have a gold one), and all that I have seen have a feed dog drop. You can use the Singer or Griest buttonholers and feet on them as well.

pamfae
pamfae
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Date: 12/14/07 9:56 AM

Excellent. I'll look around for some info on this particular machine. Thanks again for your help.

Bill Holman
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In reply to pamfae


Date: 12/14/07 11:29 AM

In the late 50s to early 60s, there were numerous instances of distributors marketing the Japanese machines with names that were the same or almost the same as US companies who sold appliances, cars, etc. I specifically remember Cadillac, Ford, Mercury, Remington, and Sunbeam. As I recall, the appliance mfgrs were more upset by this than the car companies, probably because they thought there could be a legitimate confusion over whether the machines were theirs. If memory serves, Remington successfully sued and stopped the use of their name, and I believe that the same distributor then started using Sunbeam. I even recall that at one time, they tried to get away with it by spelling the name "Sunbeem."

Bill Holman



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Date: 12/14/07 11:31 AM

Wow!. Where you you keep all these tidbits of SM history?? You must where a very large hat!

Betakin
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Betakin
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In reply to Bill Holman


Date: 12/14/07 3:59 PM

Bill, put that info in your book. Just think.. if you don't write a book about all that you know, or even 1/2 of what you know about sewing machines..all this info will go down the tubes and be forgotten.
How can you not write a book? People want to know this info, yup they do. I am thinking of my 26 grand kids, they know that their Gran has a Sunbeam mixer and old Remington typewriter, drives a Ford but maybe their grt, grt, gran sewed on a Cadillac. Confused minds..want to know.
It is rather funny when thinking about Japan making these sewing machines with the American mfgrs name in the past, now the American mfgrs manufacture everything in other countries.

Bill Holman
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In reply to Betakin


Date: 12/14/07 5:48 PM

"It is rather funny when thinking about Japan making these sewing machines with the American mfgrs name in the past"

Not really. When the machines left Japan, they had no names on them. It was the US distributors who badged them.

"...if you don't write a book about all that you know, or even 1/2 of what you know about sewing machines..all this info will go down the tubes and be forgotten."

Not to worry. Jenny has been saving it all in a 100 gb flash drive. When I'm gone, she's going to compile it all into a set of SM encyclopedias, dedicate it to me, sell 3 copies, and make a fortune.

Bill Holman

Betakin
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In reply to Bill Holman


Date: 12/14/07 5:52 PM



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In reply to Bill Holman


Date: 12/14/07 6:21 PM

LOL!!!

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