This is a 1955 Singer 221 Featherweight sewing machine that I purchased on Craigslist as a lucky find. The machine only needed cleaning, lubrication, and a new belt. For good measure, I also rewired it, installed a new oil pad, and refurbished the carrying case.
According to the serial number, it was manufactured around January 1955 in Elizabethport, New Jersey.
The lower motor brush can be accessed from the bottom of the machine without removing the motor.
The wires for the light were originally clad in lead, which protected the cloth-covered wires from oil and allowed them to be routed safely through the pillar of the machine. The lead oxidizes over time, hence the yellowish powder in the pictures below.
I used some #12 copper wire (and my mad soldering skills) to make a "backbone" for the replacement wiring. It works well for keeping the wiring in place.I tried both popular kinds of replacement belts: the traditional black rubber V-belt and the newer orange plastic toothed belt. Both belts are servicable, but the orange one is more supple and less prone to deforming. After some time in storage, the black belt got bent out of shape by the motor pulley.
These 3/8″ felt circles are a good way to keep the faceplate thumbscrew from hitting the machine bed when it's folded up.
I also replaced the felt oil pad inside the bottom pan of the machine. I bought my replacement pad ready-made, but it would be easy enough to cut a new one using the template below (click the image for a printable PDF).
I refurbished the case covering by gluing down any frays with Elmer's glue and restoring the color with Fiebing's leather dye. I finished it off with a coat of wax.
The box hinges and latches cleaned up well with some polish and judicious use of high-grit sandpaper on the rivets. The plating is thin, so I tried to take it easy here. Before: