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Singer 99

Domestic Electric Sewing Machine

Note: This machine is no longer in our collection.

To start off, when we purchased it for $15.00 in October 2007 near Batavia, New York. Jim failed to notice that it was missing a significant part of the bobbin winder. We generally like to get machines that are complete and have a reasonable chance of working.

Also, the reason the machine was priced low was because it obviously was missing the foot controller. We could find a foot controller as they are readily available at most sewing machine sales/repair shops. The problem worsens somewhat as the motor connector uses an odd 2-pin plug which we don't have. After a bit of creative wiring and a sparse oiling, the motor works fine. The motor appears original having the same color paint as the machine and bearing the Domestic name.

Serial number of this machine is FR 2538042. It was manufactured by the Domestic Sewing Machine Co., Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rear View of Domestic Sewing Machine

A door behind the motor is removed for lubrication.

According to Gavin, who sends us bits of informatrion periodically, he states that our Domestic was a lower priced model made by White. Same bobbins, same backward bandwheel motion, same threading of the White 77.

Also, according to Bruce who sent us the following paragraphs, this Domestic sewing machine is basically a White Sewing Machine. When Domestic was sold in the early 1890s or so, White bought them out and sold their designs under the old Domestic logo.

In their time, the 1860s to 1880s, Domestic was a leader in the field and it was not until their patents expired that Singer could go into the same style machines, ie, Vibrating shuttle machines like the Singer VS2/27. Domestic was way ahead of the pack on this type of machine.

Parts that will fit many White Rotary machines will also fit the Domestic. Check online and there are several sites that offer threading guides, parts, bobbins, etc. Check for White machines of the WW1 to 1930s vintage.

Domestic Sewing Machine Motor

The above image shows the attractive motor on the machine. Note that the motor has its own serial number.

There does not appear a way to adjust the conical rubber motor-drive wheel. After loosening a small retaining screw, the wheel can be slid back and forth until it contacts the handwheel. With this setup, when the smaller part of the cone contacts the wheel, the motor turns more revolutions for one rotation of the handwheel than would be required if the cone were in contact on its larger side.

The motor has lubricating cups on either side. To speed up the restoration process, we removed the cups and applied small amount of oil directly into the hole. The cups contain a fiber which apparently allows only a slow amount of oil to enter the motor bearing surface. This is probably done to prevent the motor from slinging oil over electrical components. Seen on top and bottom right-hand side of the motor are caps for removing the brushes.

Gavin in Massachusetts sent us an e-mail saying our Domestic Sewing Machine was made by White and threads the same as a White Rotary. He also recommends not filling the motor cups with oil-but with lubricant or even petroleum jelly.

We have not learned how to thread this machine. Not only is the threading pattern a mystery, but the tension adjustment has us baffled. We only hope we are not missing any more parts.

Lubricating this machine is something else. To lubricate the needle bar and pressure foot, the entire faceplates is removed. When it is removed, along comes the presser foot and needle bar--they don't stay in place like our other machines. Reassembly is tricky as a bearing must be engaged blind. Also, after the faceplate is reattached, the needle must be checked to ensure its travel has not been disturbed.

The spoke handwheel is a nice touch. it can be disconnected from the machine gears by flipping a small lever on the outside. On the inside is a groove if it is desired to use the machine as a treadle.

Our machine came without a foot controller. A problem is that most adapters available nowadays are of the typical 2-prong 110-volt house receptacle. What we have to do is convert this plug to that configuration. We would like to preserve this connector so we will be trying to come up with a way to connect our new controller to this plug.