Monday, 20 March 2023

Wolseley spring run to Agm 2023


Four Landcrabs a the agm today and several Austin Morris Wolseley and Riley related cars too. 

Friday, 10 March 2023

A little snow for the Wagoneer


Just when we thought winter weather was done, winter struck again.
Starbuck doesn't mind though. 

Friday, 3 March 2023

Bell portable sewing machine by Mabel France

So what's in this small white plastic case? Could it be one of these small recordplayers for "singles", popular in the sixties? 
But there's a very special little sewing machine neatly packed in here.
It is called "Bell". Though the Bell Micro MB was produced in the USA in the fifties, this one was manufactured in France, according to the printing on the base plate: "Machine a Coudre Bell production MABEL France".  
This is not a toy, but a fully functional sewing machine. The design is very pretty, with hints of streamlining in a lovely shade of green. The little metal table can be removed to convert to a free arm.   
All the writing on the machine is in French. This dial selects reverse and forward stitching. 
The manual is also in French. Maintenance? This page tells you to never use grease anywhere on this machine. 
Is it a ring for your lady? No this is the tiny bobbin case. The plastic bobbin is even smaller. I read the Singer 29 bobbin is about the same size. Very strange as the 29 is a huge machine.  
The pedal is a sturdy device, the actual pedal is a roller. Interesting. 
The American origins of the Bell show in this adaptor from 220 v. to 120v. 
Maybe this is a later addition as I also read that mains power was normalised from around 127v. to 220v. in 1956. 
This is on the base of the machine. "Machine a Coudre Bell production MABEL France".  

Sadly this Bell does not work at the moment. This is the main cog that transfers drive from the motor to the mechanism. 
It will be a little project to get this cute little machine sewing again. 


Friday, 17 February 2023

Singer 221k featherweight Centennial Badge sewing machine. 1950/1951

In the second, slightly smaller black box we carried home in the MG last week, was nothing less than a Singer 221k featherweight.  This is a very special machine.

It is different from the other Singers. Very small and very capable. I think I'm very lucky to be the custodian of such an Iconic sewing machine. 
When you open the box, the first thing you see are the accessories neatly packed in a tray. It is all there!
Even a (French) user manual. 
Under the tray the sewing machine is safely ensconced between four pillars supporting the tray.
Next to the machine there is a pretty oilcan neatly clipped to a plinth.  
This machine looks to be in good condition. The black paint is shiny and the decorations and script are all still very nice. Also the mechanism turns freely. According to the serial number, this machine was manufactured in 1950, but there is a very nice badge celebrating a century of sewing service from 1851 to 1951. This is known as a Centennial Badge. Reading about this I found this badge celebrates 50 years of sewing machine production by Singer, but the badges were sometimes mounted on slightly earlier machines, but oddly not all 1951 machines received the badge. 

I gave the machine a first clean and put some new oil in the oiling holes. Everything seems to be moving freely, so now we can connect the power cord and pedal.  With the power on and the light came on. It' s alive!
The motor works well and we'll clean and oil some more later. I expect we'll be sewing with this machine soon!  
Here you can compare the General Electric Sewhandy and the Singer Featherweight.  
As you can see, these two machines look very similar. I admit I'll need to read more about the Featherweight, but it seems they are related.
According to Wikipedia there is a reason for the similarity of the Singer Featherweight and the General Electric Sewhandy:  
"The first sewing machine designed for portability, with a completely enclosed movement, was invented in 1928 by Raymond Plumley and Richard Hohmann, engineers for the Frederick Osann Company, who took advantage of then-recent advances in alloy technology to create a machine housed in a lightweight cast aluminum body. Osann subcontracted manufacture and assembly to the Standard Sewing Machine Company of Cleveland, Ohio, which marketed the machine under a number of brands, including Osann, Standard, and General Electric.
Both companies encountered financial difficulties as the Great Depression worsened; Osann was acquired by Standard, which was in turn acquired by the Singer Manufacturing Company. Singer continued production of the Sewhandy under the Standard brand through the early 30s while working on an improved design, which would be introduced as the Model 221 during the 1934 World's Fair. Like the Sewhandy, the 221 featured aluminum construction and small size, weighing only 11 pounds (5.0 kg), as well as an improved self-fastening bobbin case which simplified the design of the machine's bobbin driver." (full article here)

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Mini rod change seal modification

Another day at the little car garage. 
Leaking rod change seal on the Mini 1000. Fitted one of the new fangled modified kits with an additional shiny alloy bush and o-ring.
Rod change disconnected by removing the roll pin.

Seal removed. The old alloy bush is still in place. Came out easily by moving and wiggling the rod in and out. 
Old and new bushes side by side. Just replacing the seal and o-ring would have probably worked too. But the kit comes complete with bush. Some older cars don't have the bush. 
My theory is that when there is a bush already in place and it won't come out like it did here, the o-ring is still there and you might as well leave it and just change the seal. 

It's all fixed in place. Not sure how effective the bellows type cover is though. 

Saturday, 11 February 2023

Frister & Rossmann Saxonia type sewing machine 1907-1914

Last week a very generous friend gave me three interesting sewing machines. Here you can see them being transported home in the MGB. I'm  sure you are curious to see what is in these three boxes.  Here's the first one:  a high body Saxonia type sewing machine by Frister & Rossmann in a coffin type case.  I have been looking for this type of machine for a while now, so what a pleasant surprise! Very different from the Singer type machines. There are obvious similarities,  but interesting differences.  See how the drive is picked up by two cogs inside the big wheel and there's a small cog that engages when you insert a bobbin to wind. The machine is in very good condition. Even the decorations are still in place, though te lettering has faded. Not surprising as this machine was manufactured between 1907 and 1914

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Elna Supermatic Elna2 zigzag sewing machine 1958

Surprise gifts are some of the best. Our neighbours at Vintageflathead found this hefty box at a second hand shop and donated it to our collection.  What a great find! What a wonderful present!   
Opening the heavy metal case shows a complete Supermatic Elna2 zigzag sewing machine manufactured in 1958. This two tone green machine is the second version of the Supermatic Elna2. Much larger than the earlier Grasshopper and huge compare to the little Lotus! This is a full zigzag machine. Drive is supplied by a rubber wheel that develops a flat spot. This machine does have the flat spot, but is is not too bad, so this machine stitches well enough, although a little noisier than intended. 

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Jeep CJ5 dashboard, leaky filler pipe fix and service


The CJ had an ugly spot on the dashboard left by an old factory sticker, so I decided to remove and  repaint the dashboard. Usually I don't fancy taking out dashboards, but this one seemed easy enough. 
The patch sanded and filled with primer. Of course you can't just paint the patch. 
No surprise I was left with some spaghetti wiring. I tried to tidy it up, but as everything was working fine decided not to tear it all out, but generally remove some unused wires and tuck it in a bit. 
The dashboard sanded, primed and painted. I like this shade of blue. The easy part is done, now the dashboard needs to be refitted and the controls and dials reconnected. 
The dashboard refitted. I'd seen this 4 wheel drive script on the back of some earlier Jeeps and decided to put one on the dashboard. I used a template to paint the correct image. 
To my surprise all the switches worked after I reconnected the wiring. I replaced a few connectors at the back of the wiper switch, but the rest were fine. 
After this I changed the oil and checked the brakes. 
It is always useful to check a car regularly. I found the fuel filler hose had deteriorated and was leaking fuel. Here I've cut the bad part off to be able to measure the attachment to the fuel tank.  
There's a ventilation hose connected to the filler hose. The filler hose actually has a hole to connect the ventilation hose.   
Of course things were rusted and I had some trouble getting this connector free, but I succeeded and ordered a replacement.   
The new hose arrived after a few days. I managed to fit the connector for the ventilation hose, but the filler hose was very tight, so I could not fit it to the tank and filler. I used a pipe expander to stretch the hose a little and left it overnight.  
The next day I could fit the new hose. It was a snug fit, but that means there' s less risk of leakage. So the repair is a success!

Officially the 4 wheel drive script was intended to be used on the tailgate, so it seemed logical to add it to the tail gate of our Jeep.  A test drive showed that the choke and carburetor did not work as intended. The Jeep had not been used for a while and some linkages were stuck. After freeing these everything worked well and there were no electrical problems behind the dashboard and no leak from the tank. I think I need to get this Jeep out more!