Singer 127/128 models were an upgrade to Singer 27/28. Let’s see what has changed and whether it is possible to apply new features of 127 to your favourite 27.
First to recap: the 27/127 models were full size (bed size 14″), while the 28/125 were 3/4 sized versions of the same thing (bed size 12″), with the same mechanism as their respective big sisters.
The balance wheel and the bobbin winder
Left is a 1908 Singer 27K, right is a 1914 Singer 127K. Six years and one model upgrade between them.
First, for the obvious bits.
The Singer badge was moved from the bottom of the column to the middle, so it is no longer covering up that nice decal. 🙂
The balance wheel was changed from a 12-spoke plain steel one to a lighter 9-spoke nickel-plated one.
The bobbin winder also moved up, it is now mounted on the balance wheel guard, has a smaller wheel and touches the balance wheel near the treadle belt, not at the handwheel.
You could easily swap the balance wheel, the belt guard and the bobbin winder from 27 to 127, and I would do them together. I think that the rubber of the low placed bobbin winder might damage the nickel coating of the new wheel. On the other hand, the new high placed bobbin winder would not work with the old balance wheel because that wheel does not have a track for the bobbin winder next to the belt groove.
However, you cannot use the old bits from a 27 on a 127 body because it no longer has the arm for mounting the bobbin winder.
The upper tension mechanism looks different, but let’s examine it in detail.
The upper tension mechanism
The 27 has a manual release button, while the 127 releases thread tension automatically when the presser bar is raised. To do this, they’ve added a fork inside the head, with a groove and a hole in the cast iron body.
Drilling a hole is not such a problem, but I’m not so sure about that groove. So I would say it is probably not possible to upgrade the tension unit, however you can easily use the old unit from a 27 on a 127 because the 127 still has the little hole for the release disk above the unit.
The differences in the unit itself are: 1) the manual release disk with a button is replaced by an automatic release disk with a cross bar, and 2) the central pin is now hollow and supplemented by the release rod.
If you were to put a 27 unit into a 127 head, I would not bother removing that fork since it would not interfere with anything and would simply have no effect.
The shuttle carrier and the shuttle
The most important upgrade is, in my opinion, in a much improved shuttle carrier and a lighter shuttle.
The new shuttle has a dimple on its gliding surface for catching and redistributing oil – the new shuttle race allows for less frequent oiling. The body has cut-outs making the shuttle lighter and quieter. Plus, you can now see whether there’s still any thread on the bobbin! 🙂
Because the shuttles are the same size, you can swap them any way you like.
The shuttle carrier looks quite different:
Where on a 27 you were struggling to get the shuttle out of the cradle without touching the spring, on a 127 you now have a button on the carrier arm – press that, and the shuttle is pushed up, easy to remove.
The cradle itself is now lined with a spring that holds the shuttle tighter, making for quiter sewing.
The whole carrier unit is easy to swap between the machines: behold a large screw on the bottom.
The best bits
In my opinion, the best bits between the two models are the new shuttle carrier and shuttle, the old low mounted bobbin winder (personal preference) and the new lighter balance wheel (less inertia when using a motor).
Too bad I cannot easily install the old bobbin winder on my 127K. But may be I’ll think of something. ;-)