Friday, January 13, 2012

The "New Wheeler" Vibrating Shuttle


I don't know what to do with this sewing machine, help me! I got this "New Wheeler" as a wedding gift about 4 and a half years ago, and it has literally been sitting on a shelf since then, collecting dust. I need to decide weather it is worth spending the time and money to get it running, or if I should let it go, and I'm in agony trying to make a decision!


This "New Wheeler" is a bit of a mystery, I can't find any definitive information about it. The style most closely matches the White Vibrating Shuttle III C.1900 model, but there seem to be quite a few differences, too. The back shuttle access plate is stamped with a manufacturer from Cleveland, OH which also seems to point to it being a White sewing machine. Except that White's are supposed to run backwards, and this machine stitches in the same direction as a Singer - turning the handwheel over the top TOWARDS you as you sew.


Although it is a pretty little thing, it doesn't sew very well. I worked for hours yesterday trying to get a good stitch. The tension is a tricky bitch, the screw has no numbers or marks and seems to move too easily. There are also no thread guide between the take-up lever and the needle, and there seems to be a lot of movement in the thread on the side as it sews. Plus, instead of a hook system using bobbins like modern sewing machines, this baby employs a bullet shaped vibrating shuttle to create a stitch. Not as reliable as the modern system, and who knows if I can even find a new shuttle or bobbins?


My plan for this machine (if I decide to keep her) would be to convert it to a hand crank and take it along for crafting events where just a little sewing is needed. However, to get this thing ship-shape, I'd need to do a lot more work and invest in more parts (if I can even find them). So far I only have about 5 hours into this machine and a $10 pack of needles.

So there is my conundrom - do I spend more money and time on a machine that may not sew that great just to have an extra to sew on occasionally at events? Or do I save my money and time to move on to my next sewing machine project? (Because there ARE more sewing machine projects on my shelf waiting for me!) What would you do?

12 comments:

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

If you have other projects to work on, then let this one sit and be a nice to look at thing in the corner. Spend y our time and money on a machine you will be able to use.

justthreadtwiddling said...

I found belts,shuttles and bobbins for my treadle on eBay. The tensioner might need a new spring. That said, it is too pretty to just get rid of it. It will never be able to do anything well but a straight stitch, but it will always look nice.

Donna said...

I'm all about reduce, reuse, recycle. But that must be tempered with efficiency. In my humble opinion, spending time and resources getting this machine into working order is not the best use of time or money. Donate this and move on!

Michelle said...

Do NOT donate this machine. It is beautiful! If you can't get it going now, just hang onto it and set it somewhere that you can admire it. One day, you will know just what to do to fix it, or maybe someone will be able to help you. If it is in a cabinet and you don't want the cabinet, take the head out and set it on a shelf, putting some fat quarters on the bed, and make it 'pretty'. Just decorate with it, but please DO NOT donate it.

LSS said...

The fact that it was a gift would weigh heavily in my decision making if it were mine. And it is beautiful. I say keep it even if you don't use it. What's one more machine, right?

Exuberant Color said...

I would use this machine as a decorative item to honor the beginnings of our modern machines and to be a conversation piece. On to the next project......

Juliette Sewing And Style said...

This one is a keeper! Even if you never ever use it. It is a stunner, a piece of art! Do not give it away

a good yarn said...

I have the White Vibrating Shuttle which needs some restoration but I keep putting it as it looks really difficult to thread/set up. Yours is much prettier than mine too.

makeitsew07 said...

Google ISMAACS and ask one of the collectors on there about it. Those machines don't take much to fix. The needle may be in wring or it may have the wrong needle. It's a gorgeous machine, and worth taking an hour or so to check it out.

makeitsew07 said...

Oops sorry, make that ISMACS. The international sewing machine collectors. www.ismacs.net

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Thank you everyone for your comments! makeitsew07, I did indeed send an inquiry to ISMACS, but did not get any information about the machine. I decided to keep the New Wheeler as a bit of decor and move on to the next sewing machine project!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been away and just saw this on ISMACS when I got home. If you still have got no response, then try Treadleon - www.treadleon.net . Info on joining is at http://www.treadleon.net/subscribing/subscribing.html .
Katie or someone will have the answer - I think it was made by Mason, and I know there was a white/Mason connection. There may even be someone researching Mason, I think.
Good luck,
Dorothy in Oz