Frister & Rossmann · Transverse shuttle

Some people…

Why would you take a pretty and fully functioning old sewing machine, damage its case and remove its shuttle?

Greed. You’d hope to sell the shuttle and bobbins separately from the machine, expecting to double your profits. Triple even, if you sell the bobbins separately from the shuttle. Then you’ll sell the machine with its damaged case and without a shuttle – you ripped out the latch because you could not be bothered to look for a key or take it to a locksmith (the key is extremely simple, any locksmith would have one for you).

But of course the buyers won’t mind those little defects, after all this is only an ornament – no one is actually going to sew with it, are they?

But for months, you could not find a buyer for your lonesome shuttle and bobbins – they only fit a machine like yours, and that is not a common model. You had to drop your price really low until someone bought them hoping they’d fit their machine, which they didn’t. Then you listed your machine itself starting with a stupidly high price – it’s so pretty! But you didn’t realise that 1938 pretty is not as exciting as a fiddlebase model of fifty years before.

It didn’t sell of course, and after months of dropping your price, it got so low, I don’t think it covered your costs. But not many people want a strictly ornamental machine – it is not old enough and not a common model, and with the shuttle and bobbin gone, the new owner can pretty much forget about finding a replacement.

You had to wait until the person who bought your shuttle and bobbins had noticed your poor machine. Once they realised it was the very machine whose shuttle and bobbins were sitting in their bottom draw, they got the machine for a song, out of pity for the poor dear that did not deserve such treatment.

“Poor dear!” – my husband had to laugh.

With a few drops of oil, she was purring like a kitten, reunited with her shuttle. Such a smooth action and such a fine stitch – Frister & Rossmann at its best. And I even had the key for the case – like I said, it was very common. We’ll get it repaired.

Of course, it was not made by Frister & Rossmann of Berlin. That famous firm was bought by Gritzner & Kayser in 1925, but no matter – it is still an excellent machine.

I don’t really need another straight stitch machine, not even if it is the most updated transverse shuttle like this one – fully compatible with the modern world – needles, bobbins and feet all widely available, and easy to motorise. But I already have one of those! A 1902 Singer 48K – completely up to date already back then.

But what was I supposed to do?

12 thoughts on “Some people…

  1. People are bloody mind boggling – and infuriating! I’m glad you were able to give this poor machine a good home and fix her up after the last person damaged her so badly!


    1. Infuriating is how I feel about this seller. And although the machine was exactly as described, I cannot bring myself to leave positive feedback for them.

      I thought that even if I don’t keep this Frister & Rossmann for myself, I’ll be able to pass it on to someone in a good working condition. Got to be worth it. 🙂


      1. I don’t think I’d be able to either, I’d be too pissed off about what they’d done to machine and the nerve they had to basically break it and try and sell parts separately to make more money. I’m glad you at least got it at a reduced price! Still, UGH.

        Exactly! You’ve taken machines in some of the roughest shape I’ve seen and turned them into not only beauties, but fully functioning beauties, anyone would be lucky to get or buy a machine you had brought back to life! ❤


      2. It is particularly infuriating in this case because this machine is actually in very good condition, both mechanically and cosmetically. The only thing wrong with it is that it is missing its porcelain handle on the hand-crank – there is an old dent in the case, it seems something fell on it and broke the handle. But it is such a small thing, and you can even use the hand-crank without it just fine.

        Anyway, it doesn’t need any work other than to repair the case. I might varnish it just to preserve those pretty decals, but that’s really all! A lovely little stitcher. 🙂


      3. I’m so glad there isn’t much that needs to be done – other than repairing the case of course! It really is a beauty!


  2. We are surrounded by idjuts (i.e., idiots). I just received yet another damaged machine that could have easily arrived safely from one of them. Glad that you rescued the remains of this one so the idjut who dismembered it can’t do any more damage and that you are not leaving positive feedback!


    1. I have received machines in the past without any packaging at all – they just stuck a label directly onto the case! How do you even think up such stuff… Unbelievable. 😦


      1. That I can believe. I had several dozen plastic Easter eggs delivered to me last year in a cheap pink plastic trash bag from an eBay seller (no box, no padding of any kind, just a cheap plastic trash bag sent through the mail). Admittedly plastic Easter eggs are not nearly as valuable as vintage sewing machines, but it shows you the lack of reasoning ability of many of these sellers.


  3. Dear Elena,

    I read your post with great interest as I’ve just got the same F&R model D. I was perhaps a bit more lucky with this one as she arrived with a shuttle, lots of bobbins and even a spare needle plate!!! However I tried her today and the old needle was so blunt (still sewing but puckering). I replaced with a standard 705 and it didn’t work. There was no marking on the old needle so I’m completely in the dark. I was wondering if you could kindly give me some pointers with regards to needles for this little machine?

    Many thanks,


    1. By the way, this is not a spare needle plate – it has a differently sized hole. The one with the larger hole is for needle sizes 80 and up, and the smaller one is for fine needles thinner than size 80. It makes a big difference on delicate fabrics. 🙂


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