Friday, September 23, 2011

Singer **Red Eye** Model 66-1


A few days ago, I replied to an ad on Craigslist about a sewing machine. The ad simply showed a closed up cabinet, and listed the machine as a Singer in good condition. I asked that the sellers take a few pictures of the machine itself and email them to me. I did not get a reply.

Last night, about 7pm, I got an email saying ‘I know it is short notice, but’…the couple were loading a Uhaul this morning, and did I want to come look at it last night? They were in Davenport (35 miles from me), so I said no, but we could talk about it today. At that point, I still did not know what model it was, and I really was not interested unless it was a Red Eye. I attached a picture of a Red Eye that I ‘borrowed’ off the internet, and I said I was looking for a particular model, and unless this is what they had, I probably would not be interested. She replied that it indeed WAS what she had. Oh boy….(sigh……) I’ve been wanting one of these for a very long time.

This Red Eye is a model 66-1. You can identify that, because the pressure foot attaches on the back of the pressure bar. This characteristic is exclusive to the Model 66-1. The 66 models attach from the side. See HERE for more details.


Threading diagram courtesy of ISMACs International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society
This morning, they said, they would send a picture of the machine, which they did, and the decals looked pretty good, so we started ‘talking’. They were loading their Uhaul and heading for Chicago by 1pm, so I needed to come look at it, but they were afraid that if they left it in the house, and not load it, I would not show up. I promised I would show up. I arrived at 11:45, and collected my Red Eye. By 1pm, I was back home.

From 1pm until 5pm, I cleaned the head. The pressure foot bar was STUCK. The lever went up and down, but nothing happened. I forced it to move with pressure from a screw driver. I sprayed some WD-40 on it, until it broke loose, then I wiped it off and gave it lots of oil, working it until it worked freely. I removed as many parts as I felt comfortable removing, then scrubbed and put them back on.

Here are some pictures. Take note of the nicotine on EVERYTHING…even on the underside. Also take note of my ‘weapons’ for cleaning, and the 13 filthy paper towels and 4 dirty qtips. A toothpick came in handy too.




The top half of this piece is scrubbed, but not the bottom.



The piece with the keyhole is actually a drawer! See? The top is not in good shape.






Ok, another ‘Before’ of the machine, then an ‘After’ so you can see the difference. 001

Notice the tension assembly, bobbin winder, knob, and badge are much cleaner. What the heck is that round knob for anyway?

011The round silver cover was BLACK when I started, now it is shiny. The decals are in exceptionally good shape.


The cabinet is not in the best shape. The extension table was not pretty. Someone used it for a plant stand. The veneer on the underside of the table, which would be the work surface if folded out, was cracked, water stained, and lifting. The underside, which is the top of the cabinet, when closed, was not in good shape either. Since I needed a small space to put the treadle stand, I removed the extension table. It still needs to have a belt installed, but there is no hurry for that. I have one.


I had to turn the hand wheel by hand, but she does sew a nice stitch…and that was after I even had the bobbin assembly all apart, and put back together…with no adjustments! (Forgive the dirty paper towel I sewed on).


The serial number on the machine is G5703818. According to the Singer website, she was born on September 5, 1917 in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the Elizabethport Factory, so she is officially 94 years old!


THIS website is fun! It printed out an official certificate of the year my machine was born, when I gave it the serial number! How fun is that? Only machines built before 1970 qualify.

66 document0001 - Copy

It found me….I swear!

Be blessed,



Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.    Gilda Radner


Suzan said...


Winona said...

Michelle, what a beautiful machine! I love all those decals, especially after you cleaned it up. Enjoy your new baby.

Jules said...

Oh my land! I'm just wondering if you feel like you have to have a new machine just so you can post! LOL!! This is gorgeous... now that you've cleaned it all up.

Rachel D @ Just Sew Y'all Know said...

I love reading your posts on these old machines!

Val said...

It found YOU!!! You are hilarious!!!! It is beautiful. I Love it!

Packrat said...

Very beautiful machine. Lucky you!

StitchinByTheLake said...

She is definitely gorgeous Michelle - and I already know how the machines "find" you. They know who loves them! blessings, marlene

kath001 said...

Wow. This is the very first time I've visited your blog, and I am greeted by a photo of an exact twin of my sewing machine! The cabinet, the machine, everything. You've done a beautiful job cleaning it up.

Mine belonged to my great-great aunt, and my mother brought it home when I was ten and wanting to learn to sew. I promptly ran the needle through my index fingernail. :)


kath001 said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting. An Inconvenient wife was really good. Nineteenth-century I wonder what they will think about today's medical practices in a hundred years. :)

Hazel said...

I have this machine and cabinet ,it was given to me a year ago by one of the elderly church members ,your right those decals are lovely the red is so bright .I bought a new belt for it and it works like a charm (not that I would sew on a treadle machine.It's a beautiful piece of furniture I just love it .

Deb said...

Sounds like it found you the same way that my car finds antique stores! LOL It's a beautiful machine!!

Jeanna said...

Oh Michelle! I'm so happy for you - you had mentioned that you were looking for one, and the story of how this one ended up at your house is amazing! It looks beautiful, I'm quite sure my machine is jealous, and wishes it had found it's way to you! Absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations!

Judy D in WA said...

Ooohhh, she is gorgeous! Every time I visit you here, I learn something new! Thanks for sharing....

Kathryn D. Duke said...

What a great story and I just love all of your details...
what a great home it now yours!!


Tammy said...

Hi Michelle, Your Singer 66 Red Eye is beautiful. What are you going to name her? You did a fine job cleaning her up, I so delighted that you got your Red Eye. The old treadles are so lovely. Do you like sewing with a treadle?

John'aLee said...

You are amazing!

Kate McCaul said...

Hi Michelle,
I just found this because I adopted a 1911 Singer Red Eye today and I was looking for additional information. I'm so excited!
Anyway, in case you haven't figured it out yet, the fat screw near the bobbin winder is the stitch-length adjustment. Turn right- longer stitches. Turn left- shorter stitches. Mine came with the original manual, so I've been very lucky there!

InStitches said...

I'm in the process of getting a head like this. I learned from your blog that it is a 66-1. Now let me tell you about that knob on the front right. That is your stitch length. I have a '48 singer 128 vs that has that knob too. If I remember correctly you tighten the knob to shorten the stitches, you loosen it to lengthen.

Thanks for sharing. It made me more confident on the purchase I'm about to make.


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