Thursday, May 30, 2013

More Cloning Around

The title is More Cloning around.

It could also be "Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery".

After I purchased my Bel Air Imperial in January, I have been intrigued by Singer Clones like it.  There are always Clones for sale on Ebay at outrageous prices.  I decided to watch Ebay for a particular model I wanted, because I was pretty sure one wouldn't show up at my local thrift store.   I was shocked when I won one on Ebay for $30, which I  think is a good price.  I guess bidders had better things to do on a Sunny Sunday afternoon than surfing the net.

Now I have two clones.

My Imperial is a Singer 15 Clone.  It was made in Occupied Japan so I can date it between 1945 and 1952.  It is a close copy of a Singer 15 which is a full size machine.  The base of it measures 7" by 14" and weighs about 29 pounds.  It uses the vertically loaded class 15 bobbin. The 15 Clones were made in tremendous numbers in Japan during the 50s.
Bel Air Imperial

Singer 15-91

Many Singer models were copied, but not in such large numbers as the 15.  Other Singers copied in lower numbers were the 66 and 99.    The 66 weighs about 28 pounds and has a base 14.5" by 7".  It was made from about 1900 through 1960.
Singer 66 (full sized machine)
Bel Air Deluxe  

The Singer 99 is a 3/4 size machine made from 1911 through 1962.  It is a smaller version of the 66.  It had some updates during that time. Like a stitch-length indicator and reverse.  It has all the power of the full sized 66 machines, just in a smaller package.  The base on a 99 is 12" by 6 1/2" and weighs about 22 pounds.   The Singer 66 and 99 use a drop-in bobbin.(class 66 bobbin)

Grandma's Singer 99-13.  (3/4 size machine) Well loved.

Watch it sew.

If you haven't guessed yet, what I won on Ebay is a Singer 99 clone.  But not an ordinary 99 clone.  This one is even more lightweight because the head is made of aluminum.

The box it came in when I picked it up at the Post Office was so small and light, I thought for sure I was sent the wrong item.  But to my relief and surprise my new sewing machine was indeed in the box.

Singer 99 Case

I removed from the box a Singer Case. Then opened it up to find the cutest little machine.  How or when my new Bel Air Bantam Model 33 started living in a Singer case, I don't know
Bel Air Bantam Model 33

Bantam Length 12"

Bantam Width 6 1/2"

Watch it Sew.

Wow!  Is all I can say.  This little machine is the same size as a Singer 99, but only weighs 12 pounds. A Singer 99 Plus!  In my research it seems there was an Aluminum Singer 99 made, it was the 99-10.  However it was made in low numbers and quite rare.  I think my Bantam is a copy of the Singer 99-28 because the stitch-length control looks exactly like the 99-28.

I will also guess my Bantam was made in the mid to late 50s.  It was made in Japan and "Badged" with the name Bel Air.  Numerous types of sewing machines were made in just a few Japanese factories in the 50s   They were named whatever the importer wanted them to be.  Dressmaker, Good Housekeeper, Sewmor, Wizard, and Bel Air, just to name a few.  Some were made in fabulous colors, not just black.
Singer 99-28

Singer 99-31. Has pointer for stitch length.
The other manufacturers built what was already a great success and well liked, a Singer.   I think I helped prove "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".

I learned quite a bit of information researching this blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.

For in depth information on the Singers mentioned here, please see:

My little Bantam will be added to my collection and used for my next project.

Thanks for stopping.


  1. Congratulations on finding a Belair Bantam! And I can tell you've been doing your homework to have known to search one out...... not many people know about it's lighter weight aluminum body. It makes for a great traveling machine - not much heavier than a Featherweight, but with the durability of the Singer 66/99 models.

    You've reminded me that I need to get my Bantams out and take them for a test drive.

    Enjoy - I can't wait to see what your next one will be!

  2. "Bel Air Bantam" has to be one of the cutest names ever given to a sewing machine. From 1936-1939 Singer Motors Ltd of Coventry, England built a car named Bantam so there were once Singer Bantams too.

    1. Thank you for telling me about the Singer Bantam. It is a cute car.

  3. I just recently got a Bantam from a Goodwill Auction. Very cute and light! Now to get her up and running again! Needs some re-wiring to be safe as there were a couple of cracks in the cord

  4. I grew up learning to sew on a BelAir Bantam. I made all of my clothes from 4th grade to high school on the machine. My sister just returned it to me after it has been in her barn for almost 40 years. I no longer trust the wiring because I can see rust in the foot pedal and motor. The machine is fine. I located the exact same set on eBay for $32. I order the replacement and I am waiting for it to get here.

  5. BTW, I saw the Goodwill auction in Colorado and they would not ship. Otherwise I would have purchased the machine. It was in very good condition.