October 30, 2011

Morse 4400 Fotomatic IV

1967 Morse 4400 Fotomatic IV. This one has been on my list for a while. It took 4 - 5 hours of cleanup and except for the minimal scratches it came out great and really sews well.

It's so crazy looking but is a real testament to the engineering talent / eccentricity at White. It reminds me of those Pachinko machines we heard about.

By the late 60's car styling had become very hard edged and still quite creative inside and out. Fed Reg's had not yet started to homogenize design so things like the 1966 Thunderbird were aggressive and flamboyant.

For some reason I really like the "tail fin" speed form leading up to the hand wheel. 

A little update on sewing with the Fotomatic; it is very sure footed, it starts thru most anything without help. I have no idea why this particular machine is different than the others because let's face it... it is another Japanese machine from the 60's. Regardless it just goes thru my light weight leather without a fault. A strange thing does occur occasionally, the bobbin thread jumps out of the diagonal slot , when this happens the everything goes out of whack but from the top things look OK so you need to catch this early. This may not be a 4400 problem, just a bobbin case problem?


October 19, 2011

Coronado - Brother (1950's)

The Coronado has been a delight, seems to be vary rare on the net; can't find another one like it out there.
It is very likely an early 50's machine. It has the same set-up (mechanisms) as the Singer 15-91 that is the thread take up and thread tension are on the front cover as apposed to facing the operator.

Do you need a color justification?

What a beautiful, simple little machine; a break away from the old styling and into the two-tone world. This little gem is in near new condition; the chrome is perfect, not a single spec of rust. It was used at least once but it is so pristine I found it hard to believe.

Yes I am a fan of the post war Japanese machines. I wonder if there is a following in Japan of vintage machine devotees? So if anyone out there can tell me more I am interested. MSD under a strange logo and model numbers 45-4123 * SM-4123A

And again it has a 1.5 amp motor. It's a straight stitch only machine.

So I have discovered the origin of the Coronado, it's a name badged Brother! There are  also others badged as Wizard.

Now I'm looking for one like this; it has a retro-fit dial and push button; very modern!


October 15, 2011

Brother Select-O-Matic (1950's)

I got a second one because I like this model and its a different color scheme. I have seen three different color schemes out there, including a all metallic blue.

This particular machine does not have right and left of center like the other one. That said they are still some of the smoothest running machines I have ever used. This one may have been later in the product cycle because it doesn't have the enameled logo in the center but it has an improved decorative stitch selector on it.

55 Bel Air... oh-ye

Also: found this interesting little historical tidbit about BIC

This quote from Solomon Adler sums up my personal feelings regarding invention and art perfectly:

 "When an idea is conceived by an inventor, it never leaves him in peace, it possesses him day and night until it is expressed, after which he enjoys a sense of relief and accomplishment."


October 3, 2011

Morse MZZ (1957)

The MZZ is quite a machine. It has many castings in it clearly labeled "Toyota." Found on CL it was in a terrible state... from on abused home and with a few miles on it, but it came back to life and cleaned up really well. The 1.5 amp motor looks original and is date stamped OCT 57.
Stitch length is controlled by the lower right dial, reverse is a push button in the center of the dial. ZZ is up top with the enameled M in the center. I like the dial type stitch length controls much better than the lever type; it is just more intuitive.

A little clunky in the styling department but in person its very appealing. There is a very "Japanese" or at least 50's element in the styling that I would like to highlight, that is in the molding of the off-white, partially translucent control knobs. They have a very subtle milky white swirl to the plastic moldings that to some may look like a mistake but to others makes each machine unique. I think it counters some of the doughy 50's forms and adds an organic element to the final work.

To my surprise during the tear-down & cleaning I discovered an additional light bulb inside the main casting under the top cover! The design team made a tremendous but unfortunatly futile effort to back-light the stitch width indicator :-) It would be so cool if it worked I may try to improve the light path if I can do so without permanently modifying the original machine. 

I am starting to make simple wood frames for my in use machines and I have a secrete way of attaching them to the machine without those ridiculous looking plastic swing nuts that are on every portable case.