After months of designing and engineering and many prototypes, the first allotment of serial numbers for the new Singer model 222K Featherweight was commissioned on July 23, 1953. Production was to begin at the Singer Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland. One hundred serial numbers, beginning with EJ142734, were assigned to the first batch of 222K Featherweights to be manufactured. These one hundred sewing machines were produced shortly after their serial numbers were assigned to them. (Singer’s company records do not give the actual date of when sewing machines were manufactured. The records only give the date of when the serial numbers were assigned to machines to be produced.)
This small number of machines produced in the 222K Featherweight’s first manufacturing run was a “test” run. The purpose of the test run was to help eliminate potential production problems before larger manufacturing runs were made. On September 22, 1953, there was a second test production run of one hundred and fifty machines. There were five more small production runs of 222K Featherweights before the first large production run of five thousand machines was made on November 18, 1953. The serial numbers of the first large production run were EJ266639 to EJ271638.
At first glance, the 222K Featherweight looks very much like the original Featherweight, the model 221. The 222K model has the same width and length as the 221 Featherweight, but the 222K is slightly taller.
However, when the removable sewing bed extension is removed from the 222K machine, it becomes obvious that with its narrow freearm and two protruding support legs the design of the 222K is radically different from its 221 Featherweight predecessor.
The sewing and feed dog mechanisms, which had seven inches of width on the inside of the 221 sewing bed, were ingeniously squeezed into the two inches of width on the inside of the freearm of the 222K. Even within the confined space of the freearm, the designers and engineers somehow managed to add the ability to lower and raise the feed dogs. The radical design of the 222K Featherweight was quite a remarkable feat at the time.
Part 2 of this blog will continue to look at changes that Singer made to the 221 Featherweight in developing the 222K Featherweight.