The Singer #40a CabinetWhat I've been able to find out so far:
The Singer #40a cabinet folded up. Note the 3/4 and 1/4 leaf sizes.
Leaves opened to reveal the machine.
Ready to sew on one of my skirts.
Mods to fit the White 690 into the cabinet.
Lip on folding leaf in front of the machine was cut down narrower. The
boss on the black metal filler piece to the right of the machine was
also ground down to be shorter; and as seen better in the next photo...
The folding leaf in front of the machine was re-sized so the head
would fit as it folded down. You can see the new cut, as well as
the old edge where the two pieces are now rabbeted together.
Singer made (at least) two versions of the #40 cabinet, the older one having a 50/50 split on the leaves. The #40a (which may not have been the official Singer nomenclature) has the nicer 1/4 and 3/4 split leaves. Both the #40 and the #40a were also available with Queen Anne legs, and they both had a knee lever operated by the sewer's right thigh/knee. Part of the knee mechanism was still present when I obtained the table from Craig's list.
Its serial number T161805. I'd love to know when it was made, but an inquiry with the Singer company revealed that they have no records of cabinet serial numbers.
Although the table and the White machine share the same sizing standard, some modifications still had to be made to the table. The old Singer machine evidently didn't have under-bed protrusions as close to the edge as the White - as a result the edge of the folding leaf that allows the machine to tilt down had to be trimmed, as did a boss on the black metal filler piece to the right of the machine as both prevented it from closing properly into sewing position. In addition, the folding leaf itself had to be modified (with the help of a woodworker friend) in order for the machine to be able to fold completely down - a close look at the pictures will reveal a new cut and a spliced leaf at the left area in front of the machine.
A kind contributer emailed me:
Hello, I was searching the web to see if anyone had a sewing machine cabinet like mine and your page came up. I'm not sure if anyone has responded yet with regard to when the Singer 40a cabinet was made. I've inherited my late Mother's cabinet and it was made in the mid to late 50's. She and my Dad were married in 1956 and she purchased it not long after that for $500 [with a Singer 401 head] (a lot of money back then!) It's still in very good shape and has the knee lever in place.
Now its been refinished!
Took the whole thing apart...
Stripped, re-stained, and several coats of high gloss lacquer.
The old wood gleams like the paneling on the Queen Mary!
Even re-stained the opening edges and underside brown as original.
Check out the adhesive backed ruler I applied to the top - handy!
Reassembled it looks great! Cool sewing box is an eBay find.
Several years later: Drawer enhancement
This section of the little tilt-out "Drawer" originally had a clip that looked like it
was intended to hold a can of oil. No back meant things didn't stay in it very well.
The piece on the left was band sawed and belt sanded from a small piece of (used) Redwood bender-board (right)!
Glued and clamped in place.
Now it has a back similar to the rest of the drawer.
New felt in the bottom, it now can hold stuff without it falling out!
Next time I have the varnish out, I'll slap some onto the new wood.
Now varnished, as seen from the top with the White 690 folded down inside.