How to Disassemble a Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

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Turn-of-the-century treadle sewing machines are still working hard today.
Turn-of-the-century treadle sewing machines are still working hard today. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The treadle sewing machine was introduced at the turn of the century by the Singer Corporation. Rather than running on electricity, the treadle is powered by the back-and-forth pumping motion of the operator's foot applied to a metal panel, or treadle, beneath the machine. The treadle machines were so well made that many are still in use today. Learn to disassemble your Singer treadle to properly oil machine parts and perform basic maintenance.

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Camcorder

Remove the machine from the cabinet by sliding the belt off and tilting back the machine head. Remove the screws located under the machine that connect the machine head to the hinge pins. Use a Philips head or flat-head screwdriver as appropriate for your treadle, as, over years of maintenance, original screws may be replaced. Once the screws are removed, lift the machine off of the hinge pins.

Separate the treadle legs from the cabinet by unfastening the four large screws beneath the machine with either a Philips head or flat-head screwdriver, as appropriate. Lift the treadle off of the legs and set it right-side-up on your work surface.

Remove the retaining pin holding the pitman rod in place. If your machine employs a cotter pin within the pitman rod system, simply bend the pin straight and pull it toward you with your fingers until it slides free from the machine. Should your machine use a metal pin, tap one end of the pin with a hammer to shift it to one side and pull it toward you with your fingers until it slides free from the machine.

Disassemble the metal pitman rod assembly at the crank end, using two wrenches to dislocate the ball from its socket nut. Hold the nut at the top of the ball and socket with one wrench, while slowly turning the lock nut beneath the pedal with the second wrench. Work in this manner only until the assembly is loosened. Once loosened, remove the center screw with a screwdriver and allow the unit to come apart.

Separate the pedal from the machine unit by loosening the lock nuts on either side of the pedal with a wrench and removing them with your fingers. Remove the hinge screws with a screwdriver and lift the pedal away from the machine unit.

Disconnect the dress guard from the machine by loosening and removing the bolt beneath the machine that connects it to the unit. Use a wrench to loosen the bolt and remove it with your fingers.

Extract the drive wheel by loosening the lock nut that connects it to the machine unit, using a wrench. Remove the connected cone-bearing screw with a screwdriver. Pull the wheel toward you and slide it off of the axle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pay close attention as you disassemble your treadle so you can reassemble the unit correctly. Consider filming yourself as you disassemble the machine for added insurance.

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