The Sewing Place

Singer 500a (Rs)

Roger

Singer 500a (Rs)
« on: August 23, 2017, 23:33:51 PM »
Machine Model: 500a
Machine's name (if you've named it): unnamed.. it deserves a name tho!
Manufacturer: Singer
Country of manufacture: USA
Year of creation (approx):1964
Amount of time you've owned this machine: nearly 3 years
How often do you use it? semi regularly
Source of Machine: Gumtree
Features: Slant needle (better visibility), standard needles, multi stitches, Cams, almost all metal, gear driven, mechanical
Condition you found it: dry, dusty, and with a lot of thread in the swing needle control, but generally clean.
Favourite things about it: The Awesome Looks, and fantastic easy of use. its reliable, has pretty vintage stitches, and its lovely cabinet
Things that are annoying/difficult: the stitch selector dials can be a little stiff, and sometimes you can accidentally select the wrong letter.
Is it easy to get accessories/parts? its a slant shank, and accessories are reasonably common if particular, its also a remodelled 401 so spares could come from that model if required, its also a gear driven machine so no belts, and its mostly metal except one piece between the motor and the balance wheel, but ive never heard of one of these failing.
Any additional thoughts or comments you'd like to share?
I love this machine, its so great, its the only one I know of in the UK, its in great condition, in a cabinet, and its lovely to use. Its also the first machine I bought and it got me into vintage machines.
Overall Positive or negative: Very Positive
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 08:39:13 AM by Roger »
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Efemera

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2017, 08:08:00 AM »
I WANT ONE!... I've been looking for one of these forever.

Roger

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2017, 22:11:27 PM »
I cant say I blame you, they are fab... the commonest closest is the 401g.
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

arrow

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 22:22:50 PM »
Your 500a is superb. The mechanical and ingeneering oriented people give this one and related models the best review.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 10:22:59 AM by arrow »

Barcoded

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 09:55:47 AM »
Arrow, any thoughts on the 503a.

I’d guess it would need a power transformer as we are 240 volts
I think I have joined the 201 club

Iminei

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2018, 10:43:36 AM »
WALNUT MARZIPAN BITES Roger ??????
The Imperfect Perfectionist sews again

arrow

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2018, 10:47:13 AM »
It's much the same machine as the 400 and 500s numbers in general. I don't know it personally but the 503a has less built in stitches, which only means it relies on cams to do exactly the same stitch patterns. The 503s has this extra guide just above the top tensioner, it might be there to firm up tension on the zigzag or just keep the upper thread in place. I swear the old Berninas have neater zigzag, but it might be down to fine tuning tension and Berninas tend to be more forgiving this way. The 503a is all metal geared though, no belts or plastic gears to worry about. The 500 series in general have one reported weakness; the top lid and the face plate are hinged and more prone to be broke or missing than the 400 series. You only bother about these because of the design of the exterior, the difference is mostly the look.

Some like built in stitches, some seem to prefer less built in stitch patterns since the stitch selector can need quite a bit of oiling to shift smoothly again (mostly clean-up and maintanance issue). The 503a is on the simpler side this way, and it makes stitch selection less intricate. The more built in stitches the more setting levers and combinations are involved, some find them a fuzz on these models others are fine with them. I hope Roger or some of the US members will reply to your question, I really should keep my mouth shut. Here Europe we jump for these machines when they turn up, there's very few of them and shipping them is expensive and a bit risky. The voltage converter is a mininal additon on the end of the plug. Stepdown from 220V to 110V is easy,  step up convertion can be a bit more demanding

In the 400 numbers I have mostly seen German made Singers in my area, I'm not sure why.  500 numbers have so far not turned up for sale. I once spotted a US made 15-91, and I regret a bit I didin't buy it. I still have an eye out for a 201K-2, and it's not like I'm short of sewing machines.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 20:28:31 PM by arrow »

Barcoded

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2018, 15:33:14 PM »
Thanks Arrow! Food for thought.
I think I have joined the 201 club

Barcoded

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2018, 22:01:49 PM »
I just don’t know what to do!
I think I have joined the 201 club

Roger

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2018, 22:17:32 PM »
WALNUT MARZIPAN BITES Roger ??????

they were good and the box is perfect for scissors and needles when I travel :)
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Roger

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2018, 22:24:47 PM »
I have also tried a 503a and that is a lovely machine too, very smooth and a bit less growly than my 500, I suspect the 500 need some love...
US power does generally require a step down, the 500a has a huge transformer for this... the 503a I encountered is a bit different... I think the motor had been altered at some point because it ran flawlessly on UK power straight off the wall.

if you spot either of these at any sort of an acceptable to you price I would go for it :) theyre beautiful.

The 503 has a little bit of a gotcha tho - it has a bracket inside the case that if you put the case on backwards dings the paint on the flywheel and that is nigh on impossible to avoid.

Hope that helps Barcoded
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Barcoded

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2018, 23:07:40 PM »
Thank you both.

The 503a seems to be more common. And always seems to be with a case and base box. I like the idea of the 500 but a case would be handy

I managed to hack off an owner of a 503 by asking questions about the condition, but not if all the cams were there, but obviously an important question. So now it’s a gamble if that ones complete
I think I have joined the 201 club

arrow

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2018, 23:52:07 PM »
The cams for these are still easy to find, much the same for slant shank feet. It will involve a bit of web search, calling Helen Howes, ebay,..., but usually all parts can be found.

Barcoded

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2018, 00:41:27 AM »
Thanks arrow, guess I’ve no more excuses but to go for it.

Appreciate your help
I think I have joined the 201 club

Renegade Sewist

Re: Singer 500a (Rs)
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2018, 02:01:00 AM »
I now want walnut marzipan bites. I already have a Rocketeer. I use See's Candy boxes for sewing accessories. Local California company.

I thought, how did I miss this thread? Oh. 2017...well before when I joined. They are marvelous, aren't they? I've had mine since I was 17, inherited from my maternal Grandmother. It's in a marvelous Necci cabinet from the late 40's- gorgeous grain to the wood. Has all it's accessories cept one or two and I might very well have misplaced those myself in my youth.

Question though @Roger . I can't get into the cabinet at the moment-too much piled on top  >< but are they all 500a ? Usually I see photos and the machine says 500a but the manual with it says 500. My manual of course says 500.

@Barcoded I bought some extra cams and wound up with quite a few. Push comes to shove if postage doesn't break the bank for you I have many duplicates, an extra accessory box, and a generous nature.  We can start a GoFundMe for international postage on sewing machine parts. I jest, but barely.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 02:03:20 AM by Renegade Sewist »
The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath. w.c. fields