This is my Singer 201 sewing machine, built in 1937 (serial number AE528394). I bought it on Craigslist to use as my home machine after several frustrating encounters with more modern, secondhand machines. Going vintage is an affordable way to get a quality machine, even if such machines lack modern—if arguably extraneous—features.
This model has a “potted” motor that drives the machine through a direct, geared connection. It looks elegant, but I think some folks are under the impression that doing away with a belt is a major improvement. In reality, this motor doesn't do anything that a belted motor can't.
After I bought this machine, I rewired the motor, cleaned out the gearcase, and replaced the wicks in the grease cups. I then packed the grease cups and the worm gear with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) before reassembling. Vaseline has a low melting point and is suitable for wicks.
For lubricating the rest of the machine, I like to use a thin layer of Super Lube synthetic grease with PTFE on the shaft gears. Everywhere else I like to use Tri-Flow oil (being sure to always shake the bottle before applying). The small “plug” of felt at the top of the presser bar shaft should be removed before applying Tri-Flow oil there—otherwise the felt will filter out the PTFE particles that make the oil work.
This LED lamp was a very worthwhile upgrade to this machine. This lamp only draws 6 watts but it is theoretically as bright as a 40-watt incandescent lamp. It stays cool, and so does the lamp-holder. The lamp is 16 mm in diameter (0.63 inches) and 63 mm in length (2.5 inches) and has a BA15D base. The color of the light is a pleasant, warm white (3000 K):
This machine has a horizontal rotary hook and makes very elegant stitches.
The machine uses readily available class 66 bobbins and generic 15 × 1 needles.