This is a full size vibrating shuttle machine based on New Home design. Mundlos serial number is 1816620, and according to fiddlebase.com it puts it right into the middle of World War II in 1942-43.
The machine was branded “Empire” – I refreshed the lettering and added “Mundlos” because I like to see the maker’s name on a machine. The correct model name is Mundlos 100. I also improvised with the border on the front edge where the decals got rubbed off. 🙂 I cleaned the metal bits and varnished the machine. It is still a little dull at the moment because the polyurethane varnish is still curing – I shall polish it up in a few weeks time. Other than a bit of a clean, there was nothing to do here! 😀
Compared to the Singer and White vibrating shuttle designs, the New Home design sits in the middle – the swinging arm is not as short as on Singer and not as long as on White but in-between, with the centre of rotation about half way on the machine bed.
Another important difference in this design is the use of gears in the “rump” of the machine instead of a universal joint to transfer rotation from the balance wheel to the needle and the mechanism under the bed.
Old transverse shuttle machines had gears, but Singer 15, 27 and 66 had a universal joint, as well as White VS and Rotary. New Home however kept the gears. Singer returned to the use of gears in model 201.
Compared to the actual New Home VS machines, this version by Mundlos has several Singer-style features that have become pretty much standard in Europe in early 1900s: the 15×1 needle, the low shank foot fitting and the bed size of the machine with standardised hinges. The shuttle is of course proprietary as it matches the shape of the race, but the bobbin is standard – the same size that all the other VS machines use. The bobbin winder has a positioning pin, so make sure to buy bobbins with a little hole in the cap.
Mundlos re-designed the take-up lever mechanism and filed a patent in 1903.
Their machines no longer have a cover plate on the front characteristic to many other machines of the time. According to the patent text, the change was not only cosmetic – it actually improved take-up action. I cannot confirm or deny that the action is improved – both mechanisms work fine, based on my experience. No problems with take-up. 🙂
Finally, the feed mechanism is a bit different. The feed is rocking on two axes both running along the length of the bed of the machine (the front axis is a little shorter than the full length). The feed dogs are mounted on a bar that is fixed between the two axes with pivot joints.
The vertical movement of the feed is driven from the central joint that also moves the shuttle. The movement is transmitted by the front axis into the bar with the feed dogs. The horizontal movement of the feed is driven from the main column and transmitted by the back axis into the bar with the feed dogs. The resulting elliptical path of the feed dogs is completely axis-driven – there is no spring that would keep the feed dogs submerged on the way back as in many other feed mechanism designs. This mechanism gives a very consistent feed.
But now for the most important bit of all: how does it sew? Very well. I really like the feel of this machine. Although the gears in the “rump” require a bit more power to get going, they feel smoother than a universal joint during longer stretches of work. Overall, this appears to be a very capable machine. It has a good feed which is both delicate and effective – it managed to get a flexible stitch on the finest jersey with 45% stretch, which is slightly above the other VS machines. This is because it was able to make slightly shorter stitches than the other machines and to pack more thread into them, all without stretching out the jersey. Of course, Singer 48K still outperforms it on stretch, but that was to be expected.
I tried all sorts of fabrics with Mundlos 100, and it made a good stitch on all of them, with remarkably little knob twiddling. This is the one big advantage of this machine over the other VS machines in my sewing room: it appears to require less adjustment than most. May be that patented take-up mechanism actually does make a difference? Or may be it’s the different feed mechanism and a better adjusted foot pressure spring that form the defining factor? Or the “middle of the road” swinging arm in the underbelly? Or the gears in the “rump”? Or may be simply, just like in Singer 48K, it’s all of these things put together, with a sprinkling of fairy dust.