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Sewing Machine

The Story :

During WW II we know that Pampanito had a small, portable sewing machine aboard. We started with only the veteran's memories of a "Singer". During 2001-2002 our best guess was a Singer Model 66 in the luggage-style case. We acquired and restored a 1947 built Model 66.

We were wrong. We later found a photo of a Singer sewing machine in use on USS Parche during the war. We gave the photo to a professional photo-interpreter and he determined the key dimensions of the machine in the photo. It became clear that the machine in the photo was a Model 99. We updated our wish list to include a WW II built model 99.

A machine collector looked at the same photo and its proportions noting the the 99 is a 3/4-sized version of the 66. The only other 3/4 machine was a 128, but that machine used a knob instead of lever for the stitch length.

Next we found the Navy stores number (Navy part number) in an allocation list from another WW II submarine, USS Manta. She had a Type "M", General Store Stock No, 66M977 sewing machine.

When we scanned and indexed the microfilmed drawings for Pampanito we found a locker the size of a Singer bent wood case in the control room.
This locker is gone from the boat, probably removed during the extensive refit in the summer of 1945.

In 2016, Singer sewing machine historian Jerry Coble contacted the museum and confirmed what we had discovered. He also filled us in on the background of the model 99-24.

He sent us photos from two Navy manuals for sewing machine. One showed stock number 66M6 (0333-010-9000) was a Singer model 99-24 with 195 foot control, BY 15-7 motor, and #195 case, from 1943. The other a model 99-24 with 201 knee control, BY 14-7 motor, and #201 case from 1942.

He explained that Singer started painting machines with the black wrinkle in 1935, but these were Singer/Osann Standard Hybrid machines. The first Singer built machines in black wrinkle were the model 99-24s, serial numbers AF289406 to AF292405 starting in 1939. He noted that the BY 15-7 motor and the 99-24s light were their first bakelite (plastic) motor and light housings. His Navy manuals showed that these machines were used on smaller ships, some with a foot pedal, some with a knee switch.

Jerry Coble and Leo Kujat then searched for, found, and donated a beautiful, accurate, and complete WW II built Singer model 99-24. Serial Number AG105870, part of production AG103101 to AG113100 that started 9 Sep 1941.
   Foot pedal part no. 195182
   Motor part no. BY 15-7
   Bent wood case part no. #195, with key
   Commercial (not Navy) instruction manual form 19753 (3.6 MB PDF)
   Commercial parts manual form 19884 (3.3 MB PDF)
   Large 25537, and small 120378 screw drivers
   Needle threader, small oil can, needles in period packaging
   Foot hemmer accessory
   Adjustable hemmer accessory
   Binder accessory
   Edge-Stitcher accessory
   Gatherer accessory
   Ruffler accessory
   Accessory mounting thumb screw.

Sewing Parts Online donated a .pdf copy of "Service Manual for Singer Sewing Machines, Classes 66, 99, and 185", Form 18034.
Aceman4000 from eBay is donating a copy of "Singer Sewing Machines Class 99 Timing & Adjusting Manual for Service". We are waiting for this to arrive to see how it differs from Form 18034.

Thank You:

Jerry Coble and Leo Kujat,
Sewing Parts Online,
Rich Pekelney
Ed Zajkowski
Lou Shwetzer
Michael Kimball
Jim Slaten
Catherine Eith

Photos :

hands operating a sewing machine
WW II photo taken on the USS Parch. Note the photo must have been staged, the machine is not threaded.

machine on table in crews mess
2016 photo in the crew's mess on Pampanito

accessories on table in crews mess

front view
Front view. Note black-oxide stitch length indicator, black balance wheel, chrome face plate.

Serial Number AG105870
Serial Number AG105870

rear of machine
Rear view showing the Bakelite light.

Motor BY 15-7

drive side view
Drive side view.

material side view
Material side view.

foot pedal
Foot pedal.

front case view
Case front.

side case view
Case side, note the hole for the key.

Instructions for Singer Electric Sewing Machines 99-23 and 99-24 for 180 Minesweepers, Submarine Chasers
Cover of the first Navy manual.

one of the drawings title block.  Shows portable mach. no. 99-24 with 201 knee control and by14-7 motor, case 201, 1942
From first manual. Note this was a knee operated version.

Navy dept specs 66m6 int.
From first manual. Note parts number 66M6 Int. from 1941.

Instructions for Singer Electric Sweing Machine 99-2
Cover of the second Navy manual. BAM is a minesweeper.

title plate from one of the drawings. Portable Mach. No. 99-24 with 195 Foot Control and BY 15-7 Motor and Case 195, 1943.
From the second Navy manual. Note the foot control and 1943 date.


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