Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Hand Crank Caravan to Haiti

I recently had the chance to "rejuvenate" some old machines and convert them to hand crank units. They will be traveling to Haiti this summer and become part of a Vo-tech Mission sponsered by a local Church  here in the Lafayette, IN area. It is absolutely amazing what these old machines can do once they are cleaned up. The engineering on these old Singers is phenominal and they require minimal power to sew just about anything you can get under the foot. I have 5 machines ready to go. The first convert is an old treadle, model 115 Singer that I mentioned in an earlier post. I tend to get so envolved in working on these machines that I forget to take pictures. These machines turned out beautiful and the pictures just don't do them justice.

1918 model 115

Next came a Singer model 99 which is a 3/4 size machine that has the top load, drop in, class 66 bobbin. One of the first "Portable" machines that usually came in a bentwood, Dome case.

1922 model 99

Another Model 115 that didn't have a bobbin case. 115 bobbin cases are very hard to find. Some one out there is watching over this venture because 2 showed up out of nowhere on e-bay after hundreds of searches.
1915 Model 115

I had a couple of  old model 66 machines that I couldn't seem to find a home for. Both had motors and standard hand wheels. You must have a "Spoked" handwheel to run a hand crank.
So, I bought some and converted the model 66 to a hand crank machine and they work just perfect.

1928 Model 66

I actually sewed some heavy leather belt strips with the model 66 using the hand crank. Wow,
as long as you start with the needle down, it sews it with ease.

One of the machines didn't have a back plate. The only material I had was some plexi-glass.
I traced around another "Back Plate" and with the help of a belt sander, I made a back plate that
you can see through. I'll bet there will be at least 1 kid watching the works on the inside through that window on this 1948, model 66.

I will be posting pictures from Haiti when the Mission sponsers return in late July. I have never been so excited about being part of a project that will make a world of difference to so many people.


  1. That is just awesome. I am excited with you, and for you!

  2. Well done, this is a wonderful cause and the machines look beautiful. I am certain the recipiants in Haiti will appreciate the time you have put into these machine. I have a couple of machines I don't use so now I'll have to keep an eye out for a good place to donate them.

  3. I will be posting pictures of these machines in Haiti as I receive them from the mission sponsers. Late July I would guess. I will probably just do a whole new post.

  4. Hey Dan can you tell me where you get those plastic bases for your sewing machines? I have a 99 and a 66 that are in desperate need of new cases, if I wait till the Mister has time to build me one (he has a long 'to do' list already) Singer will be celebrating it's bicentennial.
    Thank you,

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