The Singer 201K


Black and brown Singer 201KMk2 sewing machines

I was going to waffle on about the Singer 201K and the difference between the Mk1 and the Mk2, and have a bit of a rant about the way these things are described on Ebay as semi-industrial sewing machines and so on while I was at it, but it’s become obvious that would have been one hell of a long post.  So I’ll do it in stages.

Before I do though, it occurred to me that I had a good opportunity to take a snap of the two different coloured 201Mk2 heads that were available in the UK side by side, so here it is.

The black one is Elsie’s, carefully removed for the purposes of the picture from the treadle cabinet in which it lives in The Sewing Room.  That one’s exactly as brought home from a house in the far east of Essex which had what must be the most awkward access off the road I’ve ever seen in a built-up area, and believe me I’ve seen some.  So you’re driving along a two-lane dual carriageway which has a 50mph limit, in heavy traffic which is averaging nearer 60.  You’re looking for number 312, and the first number you can actually read is 800-odd.  All the houses are identikit 1930’s semis, and they all have very narrow shared “drives” which are about 4 car lengths from kerbside to front door.  The posties must love it.

Naturally you miss number 312, so you drive another mile or so the the lights with the “No U-turn” sign, and do a U-turn back to the roundabout two miles back the way you came and try again.


Then having positively identified the target, there’s the small matter of trying to convey to the driver of the Belgian artic which is right on your tail that you need to stop on the double yellow lines and reverse onto a narrow bit of tarmac.  Yes, it worked in the end, but boy did that truck driver ever get cross.  What a loud horn his wagon had.  But so what.  Have you seen the way they drive in Brussels?  Or at least they did when Elsie and I went through it on a motorbike in 1984 …

Anyhow, getting back on track, the lovely black one is Elsie’s.

That scruffy brown thing is what came home with me last night and spent the night in the bike shed ‘cos it stinks, albeit not as much as the treadle cabinet which it was in does, which is why that’s been banished to the yard for scrapping once I’ve salvaged the useful bits off it.

The machine itself is all there though and will be fine once I’ve eventually fettled it and Elsie’s worked her magic on all the grot.  That’s going to be a slow job, but it’ll have been worth turning up in downtown Catford for last night, too early for the rioting but not too early to be bemused by the sight of about 20 of the Met’s finest who were gathered outside that lovely art deco cinema suddenly start running in all directions for no apparent reason.

’tis a strange world in which we live …

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