Singer 99K

When my friend Kaye messaged me recently and said this machine might be available and would I like it?  Well!!!  What is a girl to say?   Of course! I exclaimed, I can find a home for it. She said that someone was emptying out their house and if it was still there the next day …..then she would pick it up for me. She said she had no idea, what was inside as there was no key to open it!


Isn’t that a great shot!  So a couple of days later I went to pick it up.  There was no key so I said to Peter we need a screwdriver to open it  so he gladly obliged, and this is what we found.


It’s a very pretty little electric Singer 99K, 3/4 machine.  It was heavily adorned with cobwebs, plenty of spider excrement, leaves and dust. Unfortunately there was no knee control present.  I’m pretty sure that people would see these knee controls and wonder what on earth they are?  They probably get sent unwittingly to the tip.  I told Kaye, that’s alright, I have a contact and with any luck…….I can get one (fingers crossed).

On a positive note it did have a needle plate.  Anecdotally one of the most common problems I have noticed with these  99s is that more often than not, the needle plate is missing.  So I packed it up and took it home.

I messaged my contact and asked him if he would have a knee control for this machine… he said he would get back to me….

It’s always exciting to open the hood and see what is underneath!  This is a Singer 99K.   It was made on April 7th, 1948 and was one of 15000 as per the ISMACS data base.

From what I can ascertain, it’s quite possible that this machine has not been touched for the best part of 50 years.  I only know that because I had the privilege of seeing the evolution of the machines this lady bought after this one.  Also I noticed in the first clean that the bobbin winder was set in the engaged position.  As it turns out, it was not working, this may have contributed to the abandonment of use a long time ago?


Unfortunately it came with no accessories, books, key or leg press (knee control).


Now the obvious question…does it work?  Luckily I was able to get a leg press controller so the next thing was to plug it in and see if it works?  I  cleaned all the initial dirt off with a damp cloth with detergent.


I fitted the leg press. I I turned it on and  to my surprise the lamp still worked.  I oiled the machine well and cleaned with sewing machine oil. The motor ran but the machine did not stitch.  I turned the hand wheel a little but the machine was seized. This is the driest machine I think I’ve ever come across. It took many multiple oilings and manual persuasion to achieve minimal movement. First I  thought the belt must have perished, but it hadn’t, that was also just parched, being leather.  So I wet it and oiled that too.


She made her first stitches after 50 years or thereabouts.  It sews beautifully.

The Bentwood case was also very dry, dirty and parched. I cleaned it up with a lint free cloth doused in vinegar and linseed oil. It came up very well I think.


The faceplate is very ornate and the overall appearance of the machine is very pretty and desirable.


The 99s I believe are considered to be the 3/4  portable version of the Singer 66.  Although not as small and light as a featherweight, these machines are still portable, very attractive, make a beautiful stitch and are easier to find.

12 thoughts on “Singer 99K”

  1. So glad you saved her!!!!! I have been looking for a Singer handcrank and finally found one two weeks ago. It’s also a 99K that was made on March 15, 1935. It’s complete and it has 2 spots in the front where the paint has chipped. Everything moves, just needs a good cleaning – 82 years of lint in the feed dogs. The bottom of the case also has a very bad musty smell. I was told to look carefully underneath the head for the stamp that says made in GB, even tho Ismacs lists it made in NJ. Now I just need to find a manual.

  2. So beautiful. Mo mother had one identical to this. Before she passed away she gave it to my little sister who put it in a storage unit after moving. I recently found out she was unable to pay her storage fee and lost everything including my mothers machine. I was so sad.

    1. So sorry to hear that Pattie. Maybe one day you will find another, even though it won’t be your Mother’s machine, it would be a beautiful and sentimental reminder?

  3. I have this machine, it was my great great grandmothers. I consider myself very lucky to have gotten it. All of the accessories are still intact and it works great. I just don’t use it as I am afraid I will break something and not be able to replace it. It is a beautiful machine.

  4. Ihave been given one,that looks just like this. How do I find out about the date .,and what exactly it’s called? The lock is broken on mine. But case looks just like yours. I was so excited.

    1. Dear Kitty, go to the ISMACS data base and you will be able to date your machine and your machine model and how many were made. Thats exciting!

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