Singer sure didn't make it easy to identify black & gold models. Model numbers are often missing or incomplete. And if you do find a model number, you won't find the common name of that model anywhere on the machine itself.
For example, we're all familiar with the Singer Featherweight, but it there's no "Featherweight" label anywhere on the machine itself. You might see a small "221" or "222" model number plate, but that is all. This can make identifying a black and gold Singer tricky.
An exeption to this rule, however is the Singer 192. At first glance you may not even realize it is a Singer, because of the big "Spartan" label across the front.
A second look, however reveals the Singer name inside the harp of the machine at the base of the column and a model number "192K" on the stitch-length lever.
Further examination reveals a class 66 drop-in bobbin and a belt-drive Simanco motor. It's a 3/4 size machine, smaller than the 15-91 but larger and heavier than the 221 Featherweight.
So why the name "Spartan?"
According to Merriam-Webster, "spartan" is defined as "marked by simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort."
This is what Singer had in mind when they introduced the Spartan. It was a stripped-down, budget version of the 99K.
Side-by-side the machines are strikingly similar. Spartan is on the left, 99K is on the right.
Almost identical in shape and size, but unlike its more expensive sister, the Spartan is devoid of gold-leaf decoration and the Singer badge. It is also missing the task light and auto-stop mechanism for the bobbin winder. It came with a bakelite box base but there was no provision for a cover or carry case. Truly "spartan" in its details.
But the Spartan holds its own in the Singer family when it comes to heavy duty sewing. If properly adjusted it will sew tough projects as well as the 99K or Featherweight.
And it's pretty darn cute, too!
So next time you see a little black and gold machine with big block letters spelling "Spartan," stop and take a look!
OldSewinGear is the collaborative effort of retired repairman Gary and daughter Barbara. We love old sewing gear and enjoy sharing what we've learned in our vintage sewing machine adventures. We are located in Roseburg, Oregon.