What is a Crinkle 221? 

Unlike the shiny japan finish on the Standard Featherweight 221, the bed of the Featherweight 221 crinkle machine has a dull textured finish and three parallel grooves cut into the perimeter. Its faceplate is either the standard plated striated faceplate that was introduced on Featherweights during the AH serial number series in 1947 or a plain black faceplate with three vertical grooves down the center.

There are at least two theories on the design of these machines; it's possible they were produced to a specific order or they may have been manufactured on marketing speculation.

We may never know the true origin of the Featherweight 221 crinkle machine, but what is known is that Singer produced other models with a crinkle finish: models 66, 99, and 128 well before the 221 crinkle machine was manufactured.

However, none of these models had grooves cut into their beds like the crinkle Featherweight 221.

At the time, the Featherweight 221 was Singer's most produced and most popular model; the grooves may have been added as a simple decoration.

Beginning in 1997 I've corresponded with the Office of the Quartermaster General, Army salvage depots, field service maintenance branch; Air Force maintenance and engineering branch; procurement division; Navy bureau of supplies and accounts, procurement division, material distribution and disposal, aviation supply depot, bureau of construction and repair, shop equipment sections, etc.

Where I could not convince clerks to dig through the documentation, I pulled in favors from friends living and visiting all over the U.S. who have generously given their time to look through mounds of military documents, maritime museum archives, the National Archives and Records historical documents, records of war production, Lend/Lease Administration archives, War Production Board archives, Office of Price Administration archives, Department of Justice Federal Prison Industries, Federal Property Utilization Branch of the Treasury Department, Purchase and Contract branch, etc.

This research encompassed the years 1930 through 1950.

Through these efforts I have documentation of military contracts for Singer models 241, 17, 97, 68, 69, 144, and class 7 (model 31) but no branch of the armed services has produced a contract or purchase order for a Singer model 221.

Proof of Crinkle 221 Original Sale by Singer Sewing Center

The goal of this website is to provide verifiable information to allow the reader to form their own conclusions. Fifteen years after beginning my research I learned of a 221 Crinkle that included an original booklet from the Cambridge, Massachusetts Singer Sewing Center with a purchase date of October 10, 1940. The current owner, Nova Montgomery, of Nova's Featherweights and Quilting, graciously granted permission to post the information and images for this machine.

Singer Crinkle 221 S/N AF388053 - production date December 5, 1939 (above)

Front cover of booklet (above)

Inside cover of booklet (above)

Close-up of serial number for AF388053 and inside booklet cover (above)

There are currently two identified production runs of Singer Featherweight 221 crinkle machines—December 5th, 1939 and August 15th, 1940. The serial numbers of crinkle 221 machines currently appear to be consecutive in the first production run and intermixed with japan-finished machines in the second production run.

The faceplates on all reported 221 crinkle machines in the first run—December 5th, 1939—are black with three parallel grooves like the grooves on the bed.

The faceplates on reported 221 crinkle machines in the second run—August 15th, 1940—are a mix of the black grooved faceplate and the plated striated faceplate that was introduced on Featherweights during the AH serial number series in 1947.

 

Standard Faceplate

Crinkle Plain Faceplate

Striated Faceplate

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