shuttles old and new

Before sewing machines had round bobbins, they had a long, skinny bobbin that was housed in a shuttle, such as these.  The one on the top is from a Singer 128, the abused one I’ve been fussing with.  It will never sew again, likely.  Interestingly, the shuttles were something that was periodically replaced by the machine owner.  The new, never used one pictured closest to the ruler is one of these.  Sold in the same shops that sold needles, the housewife would pick up a new shuttle when she noticed skipped stitches or other problems.  It’s   as though we could pick up a new bobbin race and assembly at the fabric store.  I think it is one of the reasons that these machines can last for 100 years and still be used.
So, why do I have a shuttle without knowing what machine it belongs to?  Well, because it was inexpensive, and seemed worth a shot that it might fit one of my machines, or a machine I will someday get, and because its shiny!
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3 responses »

  1. As I said before, I've got a shuttle and it looks like the bottom one. I'm not going to part with it, but I am willing to send you a couple of the bobbins that go inside. Let me know.

  2. I recently picked up a half-size National treadle head and then a W&@ No. 9 head. Neither of these use the same shuttle system as my 127 and 128, but they both have shuttles and bobbins. I like your comment about just buying a new shuttle "back in the day". seems to me like the sm manufacturers tried making things easier over time, but this does not make them better!

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