I didn’t, but now I do, and I’m a fan! 😃
ZPS is a manufacturer of precision machinery from Czech Republic, established in 1903 and still going today, see their brief history at the company website. They have always made very diverse machinery, and at some point even sewing machines! 😉 The name ZPS came into existance in 1950 when the business was nationalised. It stands for “Závody přesného strojírenství” (abbreviated ZPS) – Plants of precise engineering.
In 1953 the whole sewing machine manufacturing division of ZPS was transferred to another Czech company – Minerva (read their history here). It was mostly industrial machines, and indeed Minerva still exists today as a part of Dürkopp Adler group, making industrial sewing machines.
So what about my little beauty here? It was imported to the UK badged Chapman, but the badge was just a sticker which came off during cleaning, so I made my own logo, and I put ZPS. I know what it is because the hook and the bobbin case are clearly marked, and there are further markings inside the body.
It is a forward-facing vertical oscillator with 6mm (!) wide zig-zag, needle positioning, reverse and drop feed. The zig-zag was normally 4-5mm wide at the time, so 6mm is unusually wide. The bobbin case has a little hole in the finger which improves the quality of satin stitch as well as stitching with twin needle.
You can see here how tight and precise the hook assembly is. The machine is unusually quiet, and that is not because it has plastic gears – it doesn’t, not in the hook assembly anyway.
There is one plastic gear in the arm, and it drives zig-zag.
The forces affecting this gear are quite small, and it is still immaculate. It looks like there is also a model with cams out there – look at those mount points right by the big gear. I bet it is supposed to drive the cam. The arched arm that goes over that big gear moves the zig-zag actuator, so if you had a cam that moved this arm left and right, you’d get variations in zig-zag width that would make decorative satin stitches.
So I got myself another sewing machine… The VSM addiction is raging on! 😆