Friday, June 15, 2012

The Morse Sewing Machine, a question of popularity?

Today while I was updating my "about me" section, it made me think about the relatively unknown Morse brand sewing machine. Who has ever heard of Morse? Who hasn't heard the name of Singer? I found this great ad  for the Morse machine from 1963:

As a way of rating popularity, I looked up the words "Morse Sewing Machine" in the google key word tool. There were only 2900 monthly searches as compared to 368,000 searches for "Singer Sewing Machine".  Though it's not a true comparison of popularity- modern sewing machines still use the name of Singer, and Morse is no more- it saddens me to see such a fine machine lost in obscurity.

I wonder about the history. How did this happen? Did they advertise to the right crowd? Was the machine too expensive? Made in Japan- were people hanging on to WWII prejudice? Was the quality in question? Was it bought out by some larger company and then shut down? In those days, purchases were not made lightly, and products were meant to last. The Morse company went to the bother of qualifying for a Good Housekeeping seal of approval which meant something to the housewife. What more could someone do to get noticed by the public?

My mother bought this now unknown used machine for something like $35 around 35 years ago (As compared to a new $800 machine I bought that lasted for only 8 years!). She bought a New Home sometime after, but hung on to the old Mr. Morse intending to give it to my little sister who is now a beginning sewist. My sister took it for a short while, but wanted a modern machine with all the standard stitches. It took me a while but I convinced mom to let me have it, and I love it. It will sew any kind of fabric from fine to thick with perfect tension and feed. The machine sews quickly (which I need!), has no problems with winding a bobbin or using different kinds of thread. Though it won't do an automatic button hole, I'm not bothered by that because I learned long ago how to set my zig zag length and width to make a button hole manually.  If this were my only machine, I admit that I would miss having a blind hem stitch, but 99% of my sewing is with a straight stitch anyway. This machine gets much use.

My mom came over not too long ago and again mentioned giving the Morse machine to my sister. Sorry mom, but she had her chance. Mr. Morse doesn't want to sit under her table waiting and waiting for a little love while my sister stitches away on her modern plastic model. Mr. Morse and I have a love affair with each other, and he belongs to me.

Thank you Ron Anderson of  A1 Sewing Machine Specialists at www.a1sewingmachine.com
for providing a copy of this letter found inside of a manual telling us more about the origination of the Morse Sewing Machine:

35 comments:

  1. If I'm not out in left field, I think Morse was part of Toyota, and still sells machines under the Toyota brand. Not terribly popular in the US, but still around.

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  2. Thank you for the enlightenment, Joe! If their sewing machines are anything like their cars, I can highly recommend!

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  3. Yes indeed Morse machines were made by Toyota. They were a popular give away for door to door Vacuum salesman and were also sold door to door way back when.
    Here is a brief History on them from the inside of a users manual
    http://www.a1sewingmachine.com/PDF/Morse.pdf
    Found you Facebook from Linked in

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    1. Thank you! Just got a Toyota badged machine just like this! Do you have a copy of the manual. Easy to use just want it "just cause".

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  4. Hi - I found this on a search. bought a Maorse Fotomatic and have sent off for the manual. I own several vintage machines including a Singer Rocketeer. I love the Morse! Thanks for this article.

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  5. I have a Morse Apollo 6500 sewing machine. It's the one with cams that drop in the top on the machine for decorative stitches. I'm the original owner so I still have all 24 cams and the user manual. Seems there are a lot of people looking for either the cams or the manual. Your machine is beautiful!

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    1. I believe the Morse Duomatic also has drop in cams at the top. I hope to be picking one up next week.

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    2. Btw...I'd love to find a source for the Duomatic cams. Do you think the Apollo cams would also fit the Duomatic?

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    3. I have a morse Apollo 6500 sewing machine, bought it new from a traveling salesman in 1977 or 1978, have everything but I lost the manual and can't find one. Can anyone help me. I can only find manuals online for the morse 6200

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  6. I have a Morse sewing machine mordel 2000ec, it's a very nice machine and still working well. Does anyone know the manual and the value?

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  7. I have a Morse Model # 4500. It was my mom's and I have not used it yet, but want to. It is in great shape as far as I can tell. I also have a Singer Slant o Matic that is currently with a friend MOdel 401. I love them both, but IF I cannot get the Singer back from the "friend" would I be as happy with the Morse? And how do they compare in "value"? Thanks!

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  8. I just got a Morse 6300 from a flea market. Needs cleaned up, will see how she sews! I actually love it so far! It had the manual, the kit, and extra bobbins and feet to it.

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  9. I just got a m- na 81156 and i can not find anu info on it

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  10. I just received a 300-F Morse. Does anyone know where I could find parts for it such as the drop-in design cams? Thanks

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  11. A Morse model 1000 has come my way. It's missing the side plate - thankfully that doesn't bother me. Runs beautifully. Wish I could find more information on it, like the year made, and a manual. Too bad they didn't make the machines with slots to put the manual in - it'd save me a lot of searching.

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    1. I would also like to know more about this machine, at least in whic year was made. I have one too and works perfect!

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  12. I have a Morse 7200, made in Japan. I lot the nut for one of the thread spool pins, and it turns out to be such a weird configuration that a gunsmith is working on it to see if he can make a nut for it. I also have the manual, and have made a pdf file for it, if anyone is interested in that. Sure would love to have one of those Fotomatics. Those machines are like a tricked out 56 Chevy.

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    1. I would be interested in a copy. Every once in a while I run into odd off brand machines and I'm leary when I know nothing about them. How do they sew and how fast?

      Steve

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    2. It looks like the link to that letter at A1 is dead. You'll have to contact Ron to get that information as I don't have a manual for my machine. Everyone I've met with a Morse loves it. They do a great job. No need to be leery about this one.

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  13. I was given a morse model 7300 by my grandmother and I am trying to find a manual on it. I am a beginner so I am unsure if it works correctly. Does anyone know where I can find a free manual or any model that is similar?

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  14. hi.. i bought morse sewing machine..
    and the machine did work... i pay the delivery to send machine back. and this have like almost 1 month , and they never return my machine.. and dont return my e-mails.. i dont have they phone #.. very desapointed whit this company..

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  15. Wondering what attachments even came with an old Morse Push Button machine

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    1. I'm not really sure. I can use all of my short shank feet and attachments so I haven't worried about it much. My mother bought this one used at the sewing machine shop and I'm sure it came with a manual, but I don't have it now.

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  16. Thank you Laura. I will check out some short shank feet.

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    1. One thing I should probably mention- my Morse has a left positioned (stationary) needle. If yours does too, then a universal short shank foot must have an oblong opening (for zig-zag).

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  17. I tried to go to your link about the article, it doesn't work. Says page not found :( was hoping to read it.

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    1. Sorry about that. A1 Sewing Machine Specialists has moved or deleted the page. I didn't keep a copy of it either. Sorry!

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  18. I have a Morse 1550 from a garage sale but will have to take to the shop to get it fixed I guess. It won't pick up the bobbin thread and I don't know how to fix that. Motor seems to still be strong so it will probably be worth what it cost to fix. I only paid $10 for it.

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  19. It's funny to read all these raves about Morse. My experience with Morse sewing machine was so unpleasant I began to hate sewing. It required a half-hour spent on adjusting tensions before each session. Eventually, it developed timing problems. I often wondered if it had been a repo, sold to me as new. After several years I traded it in for a Viking Lily and discovered what a joy a good machine could be.

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  20. Amazing, this is truly fascinating perusing. I am happy I discovered this and got the opportunity to peruse it. Awesome employment on this substance. I like it. Garage door repair

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  21. Hi,

    Love the article on this machine. I actually have a Toyota Emerald in a treadle base I bought several years ago at a thrift store. I am only just this week able to work with it. I do have a couple of questions about it. Can you tell me which way the needle is inserted on this machine? And also, would you happen to have a photo showing the threading diagram? I think I have it threaded correctly, but just want to see it as it should be.

    Thanks so much,

    Debbie in sunny NW Florida

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  22. I have a Marcel made by Toyota just Brand new i paid 10$ sew like a dream and with mamy decorative stitches

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  23. I just came into a beautiful Morse Fotomatic 4100 in a perfect cabinet. Unfortunately no manual. It has the bobbin case, bobbin and general sewing presser foot. I am looking for a manual or a copy of one and maybe a list of accessories it should have. I do have an accessories box (from a previous purchase) that is metal, gold colored with blue lettering "Zig Zag Accessories". The box has a full complement of accessories and they have the right configuration to attach to the Morse I am wondering if the box belongs to the Morse or maybe another machine...? Does anyone know where to find more information? I did see a video on UTube showing how to thread the Morse....

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  24. I inherited a Morse 6300 from my mom, and want to buy some more bobbins. Any idea what I need to buy? Are they all a standard size or should i look for something specific?

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  25. I have a Morse Model 5300 with all the cams from the early 70's. I only use the machine for straight stitches, I am not an artistic user of the machine. I also have the instruction manual. The machine came from a friend whose former husband had sold these door to door. I have been unable to find any information on this model on line. Does anyone know the value? I am the 2nd owner and have had since 1978/1979.

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