February 5, 2012

Kenmore 117.841 (1958)

After seeing and reading about the Kenmores that were made in Germany I went for one that came up on CL; I got all the cams and the manual with it too (made in 1958). After a lot of cleaning she looks pretty good.
"The "Kenmore 84" was, according to White, a product of American and Germany ingenuity. It was a zig-zag sewing machine which sold for the rather large sum of $239.95 in 1956" ISMACS 

Kenmore machine dating can be found at SN

Note: partial quote from Bill Holman,
"You are probably aware that the first digits in the Sears model # tell you who made it, and that 117 is the Sears source # for White. That being said, White did not make yours. You are correct about the time line, and this machine was made at a time when White was realizing that they could not survive without a ZZ machine, and could not afford to develop one. They also knew that if they could not offer a ZZ machine to Sears, they were going to lose the Sears contract to Japan, which eventually happened anyway. So White contracted with Gritzner-Kayser in Germany to manufacture a machine for them, and the same machine as a Kenmore, but cosmetically different."

The Kenmore badge drops down to access the cams. Like the Selecto-Matic of the same era it has a sort of pre war Locomotive style of engineering and general approach to detail that fast went away in the following decades. I think it's quiet and starts up more smoothly than most, the motor runs well at low speed too. Like the Necchi BU it has a fine thread adjustment on the upper thread tension knob; I like it better than the course adjustment style. 

This is one serious dog of a Chrysler, got the paint scheme but the homely mushy curves are old looking even for the 50's. This is where the sewing machines got a little ahead of cars; the rectilinear styling didn't come along in cars till the 70's.