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Mechanical Rating
Cosmetic Rating Mechanical Rating Singer Machines


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Unlike the Forsdyke's Cosmetic Condition Scale, there is NO universally used and approved scale by the International Sewing Machine Collectors Society (ISMACS) to determine a sewing machine's mechanical condition. The main reason being that many people collect sewing machines as antiques and are not necessarily going to sew or make quilts.

The scale I use to determine if a machine is mechanically fit for sewing use is outlined below. This scale is independent of cosmetic condition which has it's own rating scale as mentioned above. If something is broken or missing this should be stated separately under mechanical condition. Some machines may be near perfect cosmetically and yet not run mechanically such as a jammed or broken hook assembly or burned out motor. Conversely, a machine that runs perfectly may not have been cared for cosmetically and have rusty metal parts or a severely scratched finish or missing decals.

If you intend to use a sewing machine to sew or make quilts you will want one that can stand up to the wear and tear that heavy use brings on.


bulletMechanical Condition Scale


5 EXCELLENT!! All parts working and oiled. No dried oil or dirt/threads in moving parts or bearings. NO rust on any of the mechanical/moving parts. Motor runs well and has no hum or vibrations. No broken or missing parts. All wiring is clean and safe. Electrical cords are safe to use and have no cracks or open wires.
4 VERY GOOD! Similar to 5 but may have some dust/dirt/dried oil on some parts that do not affect the operation of the machine. NO rust on any of the mechanical/moving parts. As motors age they sometimes get a bit noisy. In this category the motor noise is very slight and there may be a slight vibration. All wires and cords are safe to use but may have some age cracks that will not affect the safety of the machine. There may be small chips or scrapes on some wear parts that do not affect the use of the machine.
3 GOOD/AVERAGE. Some heavy wear parts may show signs of age and wear. Some parts may have light rust, which if oiled, will not affect use. Minor missing or bent parts that do not affect use such as thread guides or second spool pin. Noisier motor with more noticeable vibration but not to the point of being obnoxious or unsafe. Wires and cords may need to be replaced or updated but are still usable and safe. ie electrical tape was used to cover deeper cracks or exposed wires. Machine is able to be used quite safely and reliably.
2 POOR!! Many parts show signs of significant wear and rust. Oiling may free parts but machine will not work well in this condition. Some parts are bent or broken such as the main cam or the presser bar lever. Motor does not work OR gets warm or smokes. Wires are exposed and or broken. Shock hazard if plugged in. heavy dirt/dried oil in moving parts. Missing/broken parts. Machine really should not be plugged in or used.
1 DEAD!!! Machine is only good for some parts. Many missing, broken, and/or rusty parts. Most are too far gone to be of any use without a major restoration if that is even possible. Electrical parts are UNSAFE and machine should NOT BE PLUGGED IN at all.


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Last Revised: August 22, 2017