Many old all metal machines, found mostly at the Goodwill, for a few dollars, are being labeled industrial strength because they are metal, but they most certainly are NOT "industrial strength". Some sellers try to imply that every old machine is an industrial, or that because it sews denim it makes it an industrial. READ the Guides! Find out what an industrial is, and what it isn't. Find out about walking foot machines. There are honest and good sellers, who by their description content and complete explanations, are able to set you up with a good solid heavy duty machine, and who are able to supply you with a strong, reliable sewing machine. I have used, repaired, and use several different industrial machines. If you need assistance, let me know. Don't throw your money away. Find out what a real industrial is.
QUICK NOTE: I wrote this for the new sewing machine buyer that they might think about all the claims that are coming to the surface.. Just read my guide. I hope it causes you to make some investigations, and I hope you vote, or ask questions....
Here are some thoughts for you to consider when buying a sewing machine for home use upholstery, crafts, quilting, coat making, heavy re-enactment uniforms, et cetera. I have said it in a question & answer format because I keep getting these questions, and there seems to be a need to address these concerns. There has been a renewed interest in sewing, and some snake oil sellers are hopping aboard.
NOTE WELL, Do your homework, and ASK questions. I wrote this to help you make an infomed choice. Find out what you need to make the items YOU want to make. Seeing bunches of leather under a presser foot really doesn't mean a lot, only that someone stacked a bunch under it.
WHAT IS AN INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH SEWING MACHINE? PLEASE note that the term "industrial strength" is really a vague advertising term, and to imply that these home machines are industrial in strength is sad, to say the least, but it is the exaggerated claims that SOME sellers, NOT all, are including in their descriptions that has prompted me to write this, as a few sellers are giving misleading information about their machines, and that is dishonest. eBay should be a safe place to buy. Learn all you can about what you want to sew, and what kind of machine you PROPERLY need for your projects. Think about it, how can a home machine be as "strong" as a real industrial? What advantage would an industrial hook that is claimed by some sellers to be installed in their machines give you anyway? A larger hook, which will not fit in a home machine, and which a REAL leather machine uses, are used because the thread MUST form a larger loop and be pulled taut, so as to properly make a stitch in thicker leather. Note how many of the leather samples shown by the "industrial strength sellers" are poorly formed, showing loose zig zags, and uneven straight stitch lengths. Only the thinner soft leather samples are tight. The others just sit on top of the sample, and don't sink neatly into the harder leather. I would be embarrassed to put out a leather product that looks like some of the junk I have seen. Of couse these small machines can sew lighter leather. You just have to willing to accept a poor stitch appearance, unless you know how to compensate. Carefully READ the descriptions and ask lots of questions!
I KEEP HEARING ABOUT "INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH SEWING MACHINE, WHAT IS AN "INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH SEWING MACHINE"? An industrial strength sewing machine has been so named in an effort to give the impression that the machine is MORE than it really is. It is NOT an industrial sewing machine. They are HOME sewing machines, always were, always will be.. The little class 15 machines are clearly strong, but a more accurate term would be heavy duty, but NOT industrial strength. Stuffing a lot of canvas under the presser foot and coaxing some stitches in heavy material does not seem very honest, as the machine will NOT sew the multiple layers bragged about for very long, but putting a REALISTIC amount under the foot would be reasonable. These machines will NOT sew heavy trucking canvas, HEAVY leather, and other like materials well, or for long. Find out what the lies are. They WILL sew denim, lighter leather, quilting fabrics, light to medium fabric, and other lighter craft materials. Most ANY machine will sew leather with the appropriate leather needle. A real PROFESSIONAL leather shop will NOT use these machines. CHECK IT OUT. Go to a REAL leather shop, ASK what they use.
HOW DO I KNOW MY SELLER IS THE REAL THING? Every well informed collector knows which machines are industrial, and which are not . Certainly some machines like the Pfaff 30, 130, 260, 332s, the old Necchi, Ankers, 401 to 404 series Singers, are several others are great and desireable. The later Pfaffs, such as those made in West Germany, and the millions of badged Japanese sewing machines are NOT industrials, by any stretch of the imagination. These machines are good, but not industrial.
I do like the machines that have oscillating hooks, and the tension controls that face left, but that is my preference. Some Class 15s also have the tension control facing towards the operator. The all metal Brother class 15, the many older Japanese machines from the 40s to the 60s, and Necchi BF/BU are good examples. They are tough, heavy, and easy to setup, maintain, and use. And of course, there are great rotary machines also. Learn the difference. The Japanese Class 15s, and other similar machines are clones of the old Singer Class 15 series, but they are NOT industrial.
These old vintage machines are well worth buying, and using. They will probably sew forever. Look to sellers that give a sense of expertise. Check out their statements. Most have real sewing stores.
Note that there ARE several GOOD sellers are using the term "Industrial Strength" in order to get their products in front of buyers looking for heavy duty machines for mostly hobby and cottage industry applications. You can identify them by the thoroughness of their ads, and by the completeness of the descriptions, and their lengthy feedback pertaining to sewing machines.
ONLY BY PROPER MODIFICATION WILL THESE MACHINES WORK WELL FOR HEAVY DUTY WORK, AS THEY WERE DESIGNED AS DRESSMAKING MACHINES FOR LIGHT TO MEDIUM FABRICS. There are some things that can be done to these vintage sewing machines, but it still does not make them industrials.