Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Elna #1~Grasshopper

This little baby has been hiding under my Christmas tree for quite awhile. In fact, I didn’t even unwrap her until today, when Louie and I took the tree down. Now she sits in my living room so I can admire her whenever I like.


I bought ‘Ellie’ and she arrived before Thanksgiving. I opened the box, checked her out, cleaned and oiled her up, then wrapped her back up, put her back in the shipping box and gift wrapped her. Then I put her under the tree. The military style case needed some scrubbing, but it didn’t look much different when I was done.


Well, maybe a little…..


The serial number’s first two digits indicate the year of manufacture, so 500970 means she was born in 1950. I also understand this model was the very first model of sewing machine ELNA ever made.

$_57 (5) 

Here is a little bit about the Elna sewing machine, taken from the Elna website:

Elna sewing machines have been around since 1940 with the launch of the Elna #1, the first compact, portable, electric sewing machine with a free arm (when unfolded, its metal carrying case formed a sewing table). The Elna #1 was green in color, breaking away from the traditional black, an innovation in itself for the time. The machine was a resounding success and so began Elna's commitment to the home sewing industry.




Here’s some more pictures of Elly after her bath.

$_57 (4)




The accessory case with the green lid tucks nicely against the back of the free arm and blends color wise into the machine.



The next few pictures showing how the case converts into an extension table were borrowed from THIS blog. Pretty cool! You lay the case flat, open side down….


The panel, which is held down by two clips, folds down on the opposite side, to reveal the cutout for the free arm….



…and the machine slides into place….that is, AFTER you pull the Grasshopper ‘leg’ out, and swing the extension of the leg down so it can be used as a knee control.


Here are some cute advertisements for the Elna. Someone also posted a neat video of a Grasshopper on youtube if you would like to see it!



2013 Elna bird

Click the photo below for more Elna History.



Kristie said...

Very nice! I'm so glad that you found another one. :) It looks like it is in very nice condition.

Jules said...

I had to come see if you had a post on this. So cute & you do amazing clean-up jobs!!

I got one of these -- it arrived here just after Tgiving after needing a courier (free) to bring it to me from Ohio.

I have a green case and it is in a HUGE need of cleaning and polish as well as who knows what else. However, it doesn't have the power bar so it will be a display piece, I'm sure.

Do you have a favorite degreaser for the outside of the machine and all the case?

kate steeper said...

I remember using one of these at school back in the 60s, you used to see a lot of Elna machines in the UK back then

Debbie said...

Interesting machine. Quite different from the old blacks. It reminds me of something 'military'. Pretty art. Isn't it wonderful that we have access to so much history and information today.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

How cute! I keep hoping that I'll come across a grasshopper one of these days.

StitchinByTheLake said...

How fun is that! I love the look of this one - it looks like a vintage machine should. :) blessings, marlene

Missy Shay said...

Thank you for sharing all of this information.

Tor Magnussen said...


I have an Elna Grasshopper and I need a manual. Ho can I get some? A copy or a pdf or pictures?

A reduction gear should also be good to have...

Som good ideas?
Iwill pay a good price.

Tor Magnussen

Mathilda-Anne said...

Actually, the manufacture date is a very VERY small imprint underneath the round black plate just above the hand wheel. By starting with a 50, only the 5 is important, it means 1945, maybe '55. But I believe they stopped making the grasshopper in '52. Several serial numbers start with 1s or 0s, so those can be a bit ambiguous. Look under the plate, on the very bottom of the unpainted aluminum circle. There should be 3 numbers...month/year of manufacture. I just happened to find one yesterday with 5 52, May, 1952. My mother's birth date!! She is going to freak when I get her cleaned up and polished. This will be her present under the tree this year.


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