Monday, September 9, 2013

Singer 301 machines

Recently a comment was posted about, "well what about the 301 Singer Sewing Machines?"
Here is a recent myth busted by Rob Stevens, over on my facebook page, about the Singer 301 machine.

 301 Myth busted!
The factory burned down, and when they started production again, the A was added. The original 301 was built in NJ, the 301A in Anderson, NC.

September 7 at 11:20am · Edited · Like · 2
Rob Andre' Stevens Sorry Sir, that info above is wrong..
That 'fire' myth has been perpetuated for years. Time to set the record straight, here's the 'Real Story' of the added letter 'A'. Sorry for the length, but to tell a truth, the 'facts' are needed.

As most know, Singer had one United States manufacturing factory, 'Elizabethport', located in Elizabeth, New Jersey. All sewing machines manufactured there never had a prefix after the model number. Singer had several manufacturing factories overseas, and up to the year 1900, also used no prefix. After the year 1900 all models manufactured overseas then included a prefix after the model number to denote the place of its manufacture. Examples would be our beloved 221K and 222K, manufactured in Kilbowie, Scotland.

In 1950 Singer opened the Anderson, South Carolina plant to start manufacture of the all new slant model sewing machines, i.e. the 301 etc, but all the parts tooling was at Elizabethport, NJ, and the 'only' 301's ever made there, was a pilot run of 30 machines, just for testing and inspection, as it was an entirely new sewing machine, and later those 30 were then intentionally destroyed. When the Anderson factory started manufacturing the Singer 301, it did so using the 'NA' serial numbers allotted by NJ in May of 1951. In June 1951, Singer planned to release a "Limited Edition" of Singer 301's during the Centennial Year, and so the Elizabethport factory started producing the 301 parts, shipping them to the Anderson, SC factory for final assembly.

In July 1951, the original Company register number log book for the Anderson factory shows that 10,000 serial numbers, i.e. NA000001 - NA010000, were allotted to be manufactured. They were the 'only' allotted Singer 301 serial numbers during the Centennial Year 1951, and only some were badged with 1851 - 1951 Centennial emblems, the rest had the newer black bordered badges. From July - Sept was when the "Limited Edition" of the "Singer 301" were being manufactured at the Anderson factory. Then from 16-30 Sept 1951, the 100th Anniversary of the patenting of the first Singer sewing machine was observed by Singer Manufacturing Company in New York with 9,400 Singer employees. The New Singer Model 301 was displayed at the exhibition of new and old Singer sewing machines, and prior to the general public knowing its existence. During that 2 week event, the new Singer 301 was awarded to many Singer employees. From Oct to Dec '51, the remaining 301's were then shipped to selected Service Center/Stores for sale, even though no advertizement or advance notice had yet been created. In Jan 1952, manufacturing began for the Singer Model 301, serial numbers NA010001-NA186000, allotted to be solely manufactured at the Anderson, SC factory throughout 1952, and in Oct of that year, the Grand Introduction of the 301 was introduced to the public, with all its fanfare and ads.

As aforementioned, to avoid creating confusion as to where the 301 was actually being manufactured, Singer had decided, i.e. starting with serial numbers NA186001, to add the prefix "A" to denote it was manufactured at the 'Anderson', South Carolina plant, and so in Jan 1953, the 301 Model Tag became no more, and all slant models thereafter bore an "A", hence the Singer 301A, and later the 401A, 403A, 500A and the final 503A.

Now for you 'Collectors' on here, the issuance of a very 'Limited Edition' of a machine is/was a very rare occurrence in the Singer Manufacturing Company's history, as they had never released any Singer Model sewer one year prior to it's introduction date, so it makes those first 10,000 Singer 301's rare birds indeed.

One last notable item, on all 'Black' machines, there were two different gold decals used: The very early Singer 301 sewing machines had what they called a "Paperclips" gold decal with the center decal that looks like an "S". Singer 301's after serial # NA130000, and all black 301A's had what they called a "Prism" gold decal with the center decal that looks like an "8".

So there you have it, and I'll always give credit where credit is due, as a lot of this info came from '' ..And so M'Ladys and Gents, adieu.. and to all have a great new week.

Facebook group located at:  Ask to join!

Here is what I could find:
  1. On Pattern Review - several reviews of the Singer 301 machine. 
  3. 301 Vintage Sewing Machine Review
  4. April 1930's 301 Machines
  5. Glenn's Joy of 301 Singer Sewing Machines
  7. Grandmother's Sewing Machines 301
  8. Sleepy Cat's Newest Sewing Machine - the 301!
  9. A manual for the 301
  10. ISMACS info on the 301
  11. Collecting 301's
  12. Flicker of 301s
  13. Best Sewing Machine Review of the 301
  14. An Ebay Guide and Review of the 301 Singer Sewing Machine
  15. The Black 301 Singer Sewing Machine
  16. Treadle Quilt's 301 in a different cabinet!
  17. Newest edition from what the craft - the 301! 
  18. Susan's Cloches tension and 301 Singer Sewing Machine Thoughts.
  21. Tomrit 301 Singer!
  22. A wordpress blog on the 301 Singer
  23. Leah's Garden 301
  24. Penny Quilt Journal on the wonderful 301 machine.
  25. Martha Sews - back story with the 301 machine
  26. Sew Mama Sew 301 stuff!
  27. and soon some 301 Singer information from my family!  Woo!
  28. So enjoy these links!  Any more?  Please let me know!
    Table dates provided by Rob Stevens from the facebook group, Gaileee's Singer
    Featherweights 221 and 222s.


Ruby said...

Thanks, I have a 301 and enjoyed browsing these links.

Gaileee said...

I've added some more links. Enjoy!

Lindacakes said...

I appreciate so much that you took the time to create the Singer 301 link list. I was recently given a beautiful 1951 black 301A long bed machine. Your links are very helpful.
Thank you,