My New (Old) Singer 99-13

As I made mention to in an older post, I got a Singer 99-13 from a thrift shop seller in an auction.  It came complete with a bentwood case but no key and no attachments.

She’s the first Singer in a bentwood case I’ve ever encountered in person.

I don’t know what it is about certain sewing machines. When I see machines in the thrift store or online most just don’t trigger that NEED. This little 99-13 did though. When I saw the first very badly taken picture I just had to bid even though there were a few machines that had their accessories and their keys. In the additional pictures the auction site provided I noticed she was vandalized.

Notice the two brass nails to the left and right of the number four. My picture is blurry, but to the right, you can see a piece of the delicate Badge metal still stuck on the top left of the nail. I don’t know what the 4 means yet, although I’d love to find out.

Seeing the Singer Badge ripped off the 99-13 machine broke my heart.

I’m guessing while the machine was in the store waiting to be sold someone had come by, seen the Badge, and figured the machine was “garbage anyway” and ripped it off. Just for kicks I decided to search for replacement Badges. I found a couple people using Etsy stores to sell the Badges that were OBVIOUSLY ripped off  vintage machines. They then put them up for sale for ridiculous prices and there is no way they can be reattached to sewing machines in the condition that leaves them in. They are being sold as “steampunk”  craft items. I have nothing against steampunk. I actually think a lot of things people make are beautiful works of art. But for GOD SAKES don’t destroy perfectly good things to steal “the cool thing” off of something vintage if it’s in otherwise perfect working order. Even though the machine was vandalized it didn’t stop me from bidding, and I was prepared to bid as high as the similar, but more accessorized machines were selling for.

I Immediately stopped searching for a replacement Badge once I saw how many people were trying to make money by ripping the Singer Badges off machines they came across. One Etsy Store has a particularly large supply of the semi-mangled Badges. I’d rather my machine not have the Badge rather then support




In the future I MIGHT find a vintage sewing machine parts dealer that is legitimate, and get a Badge from them from a “parts” machine. It makes me sick seeing the number of damaged Badges that were probably stolen off of machines being sold for STUPIDLY large amounts of money and marketed towards steampunk artists. I highly recommend people boycott Etsy stores such as these. I usually browse all the items in a sellers store before I buy something anyway. If something looks suspicious I don’t use that store owner. This is kind of important especially if the seller is from a state where looting has recently happened as well.

Don’t support thieves.

End of my rant and back to my new machine.

After scooping out thousands of packing peanuts from the newly arrived shipping box, I saw the knee lever had fallen off the case in transit! It had worked its way half out of the bentwood during shipping. Since the case had no key it was unlocked and the store had tied down the top to the base. The only damage that the knee lever caused on its wild ride to my home seems to be just a thumb screw on the base that keeps the machine from being tipped back for maintenance. The thumb screw still does its job so I’m not too worried about it being a little wonky to unscrew.

This is my new 99-13 fresh from the thrift store. I haven’t even gotten all the bits of packing peanuts off her yet!

Notice the wonky angle of the thumb screw on the base on the right. Darn you flying knee lever! The damage could have been much worse, but thankfully was minimal. Make sure any seller you buy a vintage sewing machine from is willing to secure the knee lever, or any other loose parts somehow for shipping.

Singer 99-13 born August 29th 1927. One of the 15000 made. The year is available from the official Singer website. The date and production statistics come from the ISMACS website.

The wiring is damaged so I need to replace it before it’s safe to use with electricity. Out of all the pictures I took that night, this was the only one that even remotely showed the bare copper wires where they had broken, along with the broken rope-like insulation.

This cord leads to the Singer light. I couldn’t see any damage to the actual wiring on closer examination but I’m taking a wild guess that the gook, where it goes into the light at the top of the picture, caused the damage. Oil makes electric cords dangerous. I can’t be sure this is oil, but in person it appears to be an old oily substance. Again it reinforces this machine is not safe to plug into an outlet AS-IS.

I am planning to convert this 99 into a hand crank sewing machine using reproduction parts. I also plan on restoring the motor and knee lever mechanism to working order. Converting the machine to hand crank from where it’s at now isn’t too difficult but it will no longer fit in the bentwood while the crank is on it. It will have to be used in a new base but I haven’t decided yet if I want to try building one from wood, or if I should just get a plastic case, (or something) compatible with the size of the 99 yet.

Wear on the decals here on the bed are right where your hands touch a lot. She was well used by her past owner. I can only imagine the beautiful things the prior owner produced.

The scratches here are likely caused by pins. You will often see vintage sewing machines for sale that have pincushions tied to this area. It may have been handy for the owner but wasn’t particularly kind to the Japanned finish.

I only needed to do some minor cleaning on the machine. It was pretty well oiled, and the case protected it from most of the dirt and grime that often builds up on vintage machines that sit in storage for years. As soon as I get her hand crank, I’ll post her “after” pictures.  I’ll leave you with one last “before” picture. I can only hope the prior owner wherever they may be, would be happy their machine is in my care now. I hope to carry on the machines tradition and make my own beautiful things on it now!

I just had this gut feeling that made me need THIS sewing machine rather then the others out there, in her well-used, and vandalized glory.

Take care for now!


2 thoughts on “My New (Old) Singer 99-13

  1. Karen says:

    I just converted the same Singer 99 to hand crank in a bentwood case and it can still fit in the case. The hand cranks I purchase can be “unhinged” to lie flat so then the lid fits. Of course, you need a spoked hand wheel, too, but all of it fit. what a coincidence!


    • I dealt with 4 parts dealers in the USA, one man, whom I won’t mention his name, wasted a few weeks of my time just to say he didn’t have anything after all. Lets just say he’s either lying saying he has “hundreds” of parts machines to pick things off of according to his website, or he just didn’t want to deal with my requests. The others at least quickly responded saying they couldn’t help me. I did finally find a very kind lady in the UK willing to ship to the USA with exactly what I need for the 99. I’m going to get the wheel, bobbin winder, and crank sent out sometime soon. We were both dealing with the flu in our households during the holidays so they haven’t been shipped yet. It’s great to know it will still fit in the case, but I was told removing the knee lever mechanism from the bentwood can be tricky to take out since it’s so fragile. I’ll have to see what I can do once I change everything over. Your crinkle 99 is beautiful btw, I can’t wait to sew on mine. I’m also envious of your sewing machine collection!


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