Monday, July 11, 2011

Team Brown

Update: Michelle DID know something about this machine! It was made by Eldridge which became National which became what we know as Janome. I guess that means it's a pretty great machine! It is called Montgomery Ward Supreme Reversible Rotary and is from the 40s. If you love reading about vintage sewing machines, go visit Michelle at her blog@

I have mentioned my sister's mother-in-law(also a quilter) in my blog before.  She recently lost almost everything in the recent tornados in north Alabama.  My sister and her husband were visiting an estate sale purchasing furniture when they happened upon this beautiful sewing machine.

It was marked $75 but they gave it to them for free because of her situation.  I love how bad things bring out the generosity in others.

My sister wanted me to look at the machine and see if it worked so her mother-in-law can quilt and have something to help her get her mind off things.  She is currently living with her children in turns as they are looking for her a house.  Putting myself in her shoes, I really wanted to get this machine working for her and my husband felt the same way.  It felt good to work with my husband, especially on something that would make someone's life better. 

We plugged it in and discovered a huge short...about 4" of the cord was just a hunk of exposed copper wiring resting next to varnished wood.  Fire hazard!  My husband is a computer engineer but he still knows electricity like an electrical engineer.  He worked and worked and fixed the power cord making it safe to use.  He was so diligent and I was so proud of not just his abilities but also his kindness toward my brother-in-law's mom. 

After the machine was running and properly threaded (which was a doozy!), the feed dogs were running but the fabric was not pulling through.  I figured out the machine was stuck between reverse and we just shifted into gear and it worked!

I don't know about you, but I love seeing what other people kept with their machines.  It seems so personal.  This person had some silver scissors marked "Italy", various threads, broken needles, and razor type blades (maybe part of a cutter for thick fabrics).   I do know from the woman at the estate sale that this machine was owned by a man.  He used it for upholstery.  I guess that explains the cutters and razor blades.
Here is the knee pedal which was the culprit with the exposed wire.

The instruction manual...I have no idea how old this machine was, but I'm guessing 40s.  Maybe my friend Michelle knows.  She is the patron saint of vintage sewing machines.  She is handy and her husband has learned how to fix machines.  I am trying to convince mine to do the same.

Here are the stitches once fixed.  I am hoping this is good enough for Mrs. C to piece the rest of the 9 double wedding rings she wants to do for her grandchildren.  I think she has 3 remaining.  She has received yards and yards of fabric from quilters in her area (some know her, some do not).  Once again, the generosity of others in hard times is amazing.
Next repair project: my mother's serger.  I hope a new needle is all it needs, because it was a challenge just to thread this thing!


  1. After having driven through the destruction the week it happened, my heart goes out for her loss. Hoping that she feels at home soon with her new machine!!

  2. Oh Mary - what a wonderful gesture from you both. Sincerely hope that the new owner is comforted with this vintage beauty.

  3. What is the model number on the machine? Is it a Montgomery Ward model? I think one of our Goodwill's had this same model not long ago. So streamlined.

    What an awesome thing you two did. Bless your hearts...both of you!

  4. From what I can find on the internet, you are correct. Looks like 1940's, and the machine was made for Wards by Eldridge.

  5. Great machine. I'm sure it will get a lot more use. She'll have fun with it.

  6. Hi There:

    This Model 30 was made by National Sewing Machine Company and branded for Montgomery Wards between 1949 and 1954 when the company went out of business. From the look of the badge, it appears it is a '51 or '52. These machines had "automatic" tension and a "Tension" knob that basically doesn't do much. If you have upper thread tension problems get inside and take a look... there's a finger that slides up between the plate and the upper set of discs when you put the lever up. Sometimes it sticks and leave the disc open causing massive looping below the seam. This machine also takes size 20x1 needles which are as hard to find as hens teeth... so if you find some snap them up(even at $2 a piece) You can use 15x1s but you'll need to draw the needle down about 3/16ths of an inch from fully seated.

  7. The Montgomery Ward model 30 was made and branded for Wards by National Sewing Machine Company between 1949 and 1954 when it went out of business. From the look of the machine, this one is a 1951 or 1952. I own a 1949 and a 1951. They have an auto tension feature that can give you problems. Take of the plate where the Tension knob is, and look at the area where the needle bar resides. You'll notice a finger that slides up a groove at the top... that's the culprit if you have problems with looping below the seam. Grease the channel it rides in and tweak it if needed so it goes up to release the tension discs at the top and releases fully. This machine also takes size 20x1 needles which are pretty hard to find. However, you can use 15x1 needles if you fail to seat the needle by 3/16" to 1/4" into the needle bar.

  8. I have this machine (Wards supreme reversible rotary) and my husband is trying to rewire it for me. He took the wires apart to replace the foot peddle cord and I guess he did not keep track of which cord went where (though he swears he Any chance someone with this machine could post which wires go where on the wiring block? There is 6 wires (2 motor, 2 light, and 2 foot peddle, I believe) and 4 spots to mount the wires in the block on the back of the machine. Arg!

  9. Anyone have a simple wiring diagram for the wiring block on the back of this machine? I have this machine and am trying to rewire it after the rewire job was already started. I have 6 wires (light, motor, and foot peddle wires) and there are 4 spots on the wiring block to secure them....sigh


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