Vintage Singer 66 STEAL!

I just have to share this with you because I’m so excited! My mom came up from Orlando today because she’s staying the weekend with us.  We usually run out with the kids to see what goodies she’s brought for them. But she opens up her car to tell me what she got ME.  She tells me to close my eyes and when I open them… BAM!

My new baby! A vintage 1938 electric Singer 66.

AH!!!! Can you imagine how exciting that was for me!? I’m so in love!  Then she tells me she got it at a thrift store where they were asking $65 for it {in the original cabinet and all!} Being the hustler that she is my mom was able to walk out the door with this baby for a measly $25! I couldn’t believe it! WOW! Thanks, mom!

Stitch length selector- the numbers correspond to how many stitches per inch you can get.

We almost immediately called the only semi-local guy I know that works specifically on vintage machines and drove the 45 miles to take it right to him. If you are in the North Central FL area he is great! His name is Johnny Johnston, The Old Sewing Machine Man and you can click HERE for his website. He sells parts, machines and services any non-computerized machine and is waaaaaay more affordable than any other place I’ve researched. He is located between Gainesville and Ocala.

I love that I can take him this machine and he knows exactly what it is, when it was made, and what it needs.  From the looks of it she only needs a new belt, the front slide cover for the bobbin area, a thread spool, etc.  Some really inexpensive things. The motor runs great! So, we’ll see!

I did a little research and here’s what I found out:

-Based on the serial number beginning with the letters AE873756 the Singer website says this machine was made in 1938! (75 years old)

– It’s a Singer 66-18. The “18” signifies that it is the electrical version of the Singer 66 which was also made as a treadle machine.

– It has a black crinkle finish which is an industrial type finish. It is very hard and is baked on the machine. This black crinkle finish is also referred to as the Godzilla finish.

– This machine does NOT have a back tack (back stitching) feature and definitely no zig-zag.  Just a straight stitch. From the looks of it the Singer 66s made in 1940 and beyond had the back stitching functionality.

– The foot pedal as shown in the picture below looks like it’s just hanging and the cord is not long enough to reach the floor. The reason is that the foot pedal was set up on the right side inside the cabinet and was used by pushing the foot pedal knob in with your knee.

Singer 66-18 in what seems to be the original cabinet with pedal hanging.

I can’t wait to get her back and try sewing on her.  I looked up some YouTube videos and this guy Vince has a bunch on this exact model (his is from 1940) and shows how it sews right through 10 layers of denim like nothing! Check him out HERE.

I know I’m not the only one who collects sewing machines! How about you? Do you have a vintage machine in your collection?

29 replies on “Vintage Singer 66 STEAL!

  • michelle

    Congratulations! It is beautiful. I have a vintage sewing machine and have learned sew 🙂 much over the last year….I dont have a 66 yet, but I am on the look out. Most of my machines with cabinets are under $20. I have them all up and running – the best straight stitch ever! Even the treadle, so I am able to sew when the power goes….here is my collection… Best, love your site!!!!

    • Alfonso garcia

      Hi I’m Alfonso GARCIA out of Carson California I just picked up a 66-18 last night from what I’m reading I hit I still need it professionally checked out but I’m not jumping for joy just yet………

    • Dean Henthorn

      I love your comment! I was given a Singer 66-18 from a lady at my church. It’s a October 25, 1946 model with the reverse feature. The motor was sparking a little so I ordered a brush set, installed them easily and now it has its strength back. I lubricated it and now it purrs! Those vintage machines are the best! My cabinet matches your too. She said she kept it in the closet for several years after her kids grew up and moved away and now not using it much. I’m so happy to own this!

  • Stella Nemeth

    I learned to sew on a White machine of that era. Back then it wasn’t a vintage machine, just a little bit old. That “foot pedal” should be a knee lever. It is possible that the foot pedal is not original to the machine. Or the machine is not original to that cabinet. Ask the repairman.

  • Regina Honey

    I have a beautiful green Singer 185J. It is gorgeous! I need to get a new slide plate for it. I heard it is common to find old Singers with the plate missing because many of them slide on a little different than usual and many cannot get them back on. There is a Yahoo group for vintage Singer owners that has a lot of info on troubleshooting problems and refurbishing. Congratulations on your new machine. I love it! Awesome deal!

  • Anonymous

    My great grandmother used to be a seamstress for a living and she worked on a treadle machine. My grandmother would push the mechanism for her mother so she would not tire. What a joy for you to have this machine. Please demo with a video when you get it back-what a steal.

  • deelish10

    OK, I had an old NEC all metal blue machine and sold it for $25. I had forwards, backwards, and I think that was it. I traded on a Viking Lily 535. WOW…I am still learning about that machine! I can sew thru anything, and even I have sewn thru clover plastic pins, so be aware of fingers! Please explain the enthusiasm over these relics? Maybe I will understand?? I remember the treadles and these machines and in the 40’s newer machines came out with options and these oddities were dropped like hot cakes! Good Luck, and I am glad you are so pleased with your find! I too live in your area, so I can appreciate a good repair shop. Thanks

    • Danita Cronkhite

      Hey Deelish 10,

      I know its been awhile since you asked the question but I want to explain my own enthusiasm over these “relics”. I actually have a couple of reasons that I love them so much, first, they are just absolutely B E A Utiful machines. It’s like an old car, the design is just so attractive, I get weak in the knees when I see one. Second, it’s the history. Singer machine in particular, although I love most of the old sewing machines there are, Singer’s had such a fantastic design that it barely changed for nearly 100 years. Third, they, especially Singer, but also White and Kenmore made some really wonderful engineering marvels, and although they make wonderful machines now, you would be hard pressed to find one of them in 100 years that still works or that can be brought back from the brink of oblivion the way the “relics” can.

  • QLT812

    Looking at this machine brought back a lot of great memories from my grandmother :-)! Love, love it. Looking for one myself and the price is a winner! Have fun :-D!

  • Margaret Hayter

    There’s a new girl at my house today. I bought a Singer 66 treadle with cabinet (obviously) this weekend at a tag sale — $50. This looks to be a beauty of a machine. It needs a really good cleaning inside and out. Boy, am I thrilled. It is in the limited edition lotus pattern. It was made in March, 1909 in Elizabeth, NJ, one of a batch of 20,000. In 1908 and 1909 they made 135,000 model 66 at the Elizabeth plant.

  • Stephanie

    Hey crafty Gemini!

    I’ve been working on this 1939 San Franssico Expo badged Sibger 66 in a Godzilla finish for months and she finally ready to sew. I sure wish I could post a picture for you! She’s a beauty! I paired her with a gorilla finish foot control and also a Godzilla finish attachments tin.

    She’s an oddity- San Francisco expo badge and at 1939- she should not have the “back tack” feature but she does. Found your post while researching her a little bit more. Closest is the 66-18 but like I said th back tack feature shouldn’t be present. Hope we can connect so I can share a pic! Thanks for your post!

  • jen

    hi i have this same machine from grandmother it has a white lever though and it back tacks any info on it would be appreciated not sure if i want to stay with it or get rid of it

    • rebecca

      the white lever just signifies that it has reverse, or so ive read. I just got one made in 1951 ad it sews perfect after sitting for 20 or so years. I have to give it a good scrubbing and a good oiling before I sew with it in earnest. My goal is to learn to free motion quilt on it soon. I hope you continue to find joy in using yours.

  • Norma

    I found a 66 last year on Craigslist… got it for $15. Took a couple of days working with her to work out the tension, and she sews like a dream! I’m using her for bag and wallet making, since my Viking Topaz is really not built for that sort of thing 🙂

  • Diane

    So nice to find people with like minds. I’ve lost count of my machines–14 at last count and 2 or 3 sergers.I have my grandmother’s treadle machine with the cabinet. And my favorite machine, Viking designer 1 Embroidery machine. I taught Home Economics (now FACS) and have purchased several machines at garage sales and given several away.

    I am impressed with the Sewing Machine project: a group that gives away sewing machines to women to maintain their clothing and teaches sewing skills. I plan on giving some sewing machines away and to do some community free mending and teaching of sewing.

    I am also impressed with your ability to teach and your videos.

    • David Fleisher

      Hello Diane,
      I have just read your reply to Vanessa Williams’ gift of the Singer Model 66 from her mother.
      It’s interesting that I have seen the replying threads going back to January 2013 and, still, the replies keep coming!
      Seems like we share the sewing machine like mindedness?
      My personal collection has grown to eight!
      Also, I have come across a number of “give away machines”, rehabbed them and found “needy and wanting” folks who have put them to work.
      As well, I work at Port Sailing School in New Rochelle, New York as a sailing instructor and the sail and canvas repair person.
      Best of luck with the “good works” you are involved with.
      Keep it up,
      David Zane Fleisher

  • T. Coffey

    Vanessa, I have loved your YouTube pieces for some time now. You are a natural! To the story: I’ve be looking at Singer Featherweights, but their prices aren’t featherweight! Today I remembered I have my mother’s Singer 66-18, Crinkle finish Centennial machine in climate controlled storage. She took such great care of it it is in wonderful shape on the outside. I does need a new belt and possibly more, so I was thrilled to see you mentioned Johnny Johnston, The Old Sewing Machine Man in Florida. Yay! I live in Florida, but over 5 hours away from his shop. Monday I plan to contact him in hopes he would be interested in getting the machine is great working order. Having my mother’s machine fixed and in use would be way more meaningful to me than purchasing a featherweight or a new plastic machine. Thank you for the wonderful information. Here is hoping it all works out. Keep up your great work on YouTube. You are amazing!

  • Theresa Coffey

    Oh my goodness! How exciting to find this post because I have my mother’s Singer 66-18, crinkle finish with a Singer Centennial badge and in the original cabinet. Once I get a new belt on it I think it is going to be priceless….at least to me. Day before yesterday I drove from Pensacola, FL to Fairhope, AL and scored a Singer 500A from the original owner!!! The machine was not only is near pristine condition the price of $75 included the machine, cabinet, chair, carrying case (not singer though : ( ) original book and the accessories in the original plastic case. I think I now have an obsession with vintage machines! Thank you Crafty Gemini for your GREAT YouTube posts. Love them all!

  • Danita Cronkhite

    Hey Crafty Gemini,
    I just found this blog post while researching the Singer model 66-4 I just picked up last weekend for free. It was in really rough shape, but it appeared to be in working order. The wheel turns the feed dogs moved the needle assembly moved up and down and the presser foot held the fabric well. Unfortunately the motor wires were completely exposed as were the foot/knee controls. Not as worried about the foot/knee controller because I can rewire it pretty easily, but the motor is completely encased and it can’t be opened up to replace the wiring, so, I will have to replace it. I’ve found a replacement for both for $30-$40, and for the belt and bobbin tire for around $10. The problem I am having is that some of the singer screws have seized up and I can seem to loosen them at all. I have tried using WD40 which has helped with some but not with the ones I really need to remove to completely clean the machine of the dust bunnies and lint (it was packed with years of lint). Do you have any suggestions, besides an impact driver, a blow torch or anything like that, I can use to help loosen and remove them.


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