November 23, 2012

Remington Automatic Zig-Zag (1950s)

Our neighbors Mel & Marline put her old machine out in  front on Tuesday for the sheeny man and so I asked if I could have it; can't pass up an interesting free machine.  Typical of this vintage it was covered with the oil grime and could not make it around a full turn. But with oil can in hand (the most fun part) I coaxed it back to life.

The light parts aren't white they are a very light beige... beige on beige. 

This one required the full 4 hour treatment; take everything on the front and back off and soak all of the chrome pieces over night in Super Clean. You have to be careful with Super Clean because overnight it will remove any but baked on paints.

I have found a distinct pattern to the older machines; the 50's - 60's machines are without question the smoothest running machines I have. 
I think this is so for several reasons:  
  1. They were built to an extremely high standard of precision. 
  2. They have the bobbin hook rotating on a parallel axis as the flywheel. 
In addition to the smooth characteristics is the ZZ stitch quality; when the bobbin hook rotates parallel to the flywheel axis the machine "does not know" weather it is making a straight stitch or ZZ stitch since the entire hook rotating mechanism moves in exact unison with the needle.

A little about the "name badged" Japanese machines of that era:
In the late 50s to early 60s, there were numerous instances of distributors marketing the Japanese machines with names that were the same or almost the same as US companies who sold appliances, cars, etc. I specifically remember Cadillac, Ford, Mercury, Remington, and Sunbeam. As I recall, the appliance mfgrs were more upset by this than the car companies, probably because they thought there could be a legitimate confusion over whether the machines were theirs. If memory serves, Remington successfully sued and stopped the use of their name, and I believe that the same distributor then started using Sunbeam. I even recall that at one time, they tried to get away with it by spelling the name "Sunbeem."                  - Bill Holman
Although very much the same machine as my other Remington stylistically it is much more together; the "dashboard" is designed in a more pleasing and organized fashion. Unlike the other machine it has a strange button hole making knob together with the ZZ lever in the satin silver painted dashboard.

For my design reference I decided to dig into this Beige thing!

Its harder to find a picture of Jackie in beige than you might think... lots of B&W photo in those days. Here she is rocking that facial symmetry.

Jackie Kennedy 1961  Oleg Cassini Ivory Double faced Silk Satin Twill  The Rosette at the waist a "cockade"  and ode to her affinty for 18th century fashion  And French Bouvier Ancestry

Jackie Kennedy 1961 Oleg Cassini 

Now I'm just spinning out of control; Jackie is captivating on the level of Audry and Grace!


  1. What a beautiful machine. My friend Elizabeth at My Sewing Machine Obsession, calls them 'end loaders'.

    I agree with you. Those are the quietest, smoothest machines....and beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes it is a gorgeous machine. Your Remington looks fantastic now, I would love to have seen the before photo.

  3. I have a badged Japanese machine also. My "Electro Grand" is blue & white & takes cams. Haven't been able to find cams that fit though. I thought the reason it ran so smoothly was because it was made of such heavy metal

    Your beige Remington is very nice! Does it make nice buttonholes?

  4. Very nice and helpful information has been given in this article. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks!
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  5. I think you should visit nähmaschine and get your machine!