Tag Archives: long bobbin

The Singer “Vibrating Shuttle” sewing machine


We actually have two Singer sewing machines of the Vibrating Shuttle type in our little collection, and one of them’s the 1938 Model 28 hand-crank portable I got for Elsie earlier this year.  The other’s a 1900 Model 27 treadle called Cleo, of which more when I work out a way of photographing her which doesn’t involve rearranging the sewing room.

Incidentally, in case you’re not up to speed on this stuff, a 28 is to a 27 as a 99 is to a 66, that is to say it’s a three-quarter sized version intended to make it more portable for ladies who are not built like Ukrainian shot-putters, and the easy way to remember that priceless information is that the bigger number is the smaller machine.   As to the Vibrating Shuttle, I have no idea why they called it that because it doesn’t.  It swings, baby!  Here’s a snap of what we’re on about …

Picture of Vibrating Shuttle of Singer 28K sewing machine

The shiny thing with the pointy end is the shuttle carrier, which contains the “long” bobbin, from which you might be able to see a red thread emerging.  You take the carrier out to change the bobbin, and yes, it is a bit of a fiddle, but once you get the knack it’s easy and you can then allow yourself to feel rather smug about your bobbin-changing.  Actually, you can feel even more chuffed with yourself once you’ve mastered the art of getting the bobbin tension right on one of these, but I won’t go into that now.

The curly metalwork to the right of the carrier in that picture forms the business end of the carrier arm, the other end of which is attached to a pivot under the bed capped by that chromed plug, so once you start sewing, the shuttle swings backwards and forwards in an arc from around 10 o’clock to 7 o’clock and back again, and it does what shuttles do.

Vibrating Shuttle machines certainly work well enough, and incredible though it seems you can still get bobbins and even the boat-shaped shuttle carrier brand new, direct from the Singer UK online store.  So why aren’t we big on them?  No particular reason apart from the fact that the long bobbin doesn’t hold as much thread as the round ones.  Having said that, I guess we should be big fans of the 15-series machines as well as the 66/99’s and 201’s because they also use round bobbins, but we’re not, and for no good reason really …