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December 2009

The Singer Model 221 “Featherweight” Sewing Machine

This week we will discuss the black cases used on the USA Featherweights. Most people think there were 3 styles of black cases supplied with the Featherweight, but there were actually 6 distinct case/tray combinations.


Type 1 Case/Tray

The very first Featherweights, in 1933, were supplied with a black outside covering and a green inside lining. They also used two small brass latch/locks and used square metal fittings to secure the handle to the case. The inside lid on the Type 1 case has a metal bracket attached to it with a rubber cushion that when the lid is closed will help secure the machine from moving. The Type 1 tray has a large opening it to allow for the bracket to pass through and secure the machine. The foot control hung from a metal tab above the machine motor.


Type 2 Case/Tray


The Type 2 case/tray was very similar to the Type 1, except that the metal bracket on the inside of the lid went away and the case tray now was fully covered. The inside of the case and the tray were still covered in green fabric and the outside still used the brass latch/locks as the Type 1.


Both the Type 1 and Type 2 cases used the same key for the locks, which is unique to these cases and very hard to find.



Type 3 Case/Tray


The Type 3 case/tray was used from about 1934 to 1946. In my opinion, this is the best case/tray combination Singer ever used. It has a straight leather handle, attached with “D” rings, and used the full size top tray. This is also the case style that Singer used for the rare Type 1 & 2 corduroy organizers attached to the inside lid.



Type 4 Case/Tray


The Type 4 case was used from about 1947 to 1950, and was the last case with the full top tray. The leather handle was “C” shaped and was held to the lid using pins to posts, or sometimes called “goal posts”.


Type 5 Case/Tray


The Type 5 case was introduced with the Centennial Featherweights and was the first case with a plastic handle. The full top tray was also eliminated and replaced with a small metal tray that attached to the left side of the case. The foot control was secured by a bracket that was screwed to the inside of the lid.


Type 6 Case/Tray


The Type 6 case was used on late AL and AM series machines. It was the last USA made Featherweight case. Notice that the foot control bracket attachment also secures the plastic handle.

One last suggestion we would like to make is to always carry your case like a box and not by the handle. These cases are made of wood and covered in fabric. Over the years the glued seams can become brittle and crack. The bottom of many boxes are old and weak and may give out. Also, the leather handles get very brittle over the years and the wooden lids loose some strength as well and there is nothing worse than having either the handle/lid or bottom of your case give out when carrying it and watch your Featherweight crash to the floor!

If you always carry the case like a box and not by the handle it will last you a lifetime!

COPYRIGHT (1209) ..............JJ & LEO


Corduroy Case Organizer


ONE of the Rare and Unusual things Singer did with their TYPE 3 Case is they built a Tool Kit in the Top of the Lid. This was called a CORDUROY ORGANIZER. There are two different styles. BEST we can document, the TYPE I Corduroy Organizer came out about 1935. They are so RARE we can Only Document a total of THREE Type I Corduroy Organizers, with the oldest being with Machine # AD938153.


Type 1 Corduroy Organizer

LIKE hunting for Rare 221 Parts? Go out and try to find one...you MIGHT have better Luck finding a Type II Corduroy Organizer. Serial Numbers show it came out in December of 1939, On the AF38XXXX machines with the SINGER Decal on the ARM, AND Only with some of these machines.


Type 2 Corduroy Organizer


Still hard to find and a Treasure to own. Even Today we have still many questions about the TYPE I an II CORDUROY ORGANIZERS.

WHY did SINGER build them and how come so FEW of Them??



COPYRIGHT  (1209)……………….JJ & Leo     

Contact me at: Leo@TheFeatherweight221Factory.com