We've all heard the old saying: "If it looks like a duck..."
Well, if a sewing machine looks like a 401, threads like a 500, chain-stitches like a 600 and treadles like a 328...it's a 411!
Which makes the 411 more of a Platypus than a duck.
So let's get the 4-1-1 on the 411...
The 411 features a number of unique characteristics, beginning with its manufacture history. The 411G shown above was a puzzle, because the "G" in the model number indicates Germany, but the serial number points to Canada. After some research it appears that the head was cast (and stamped with serial number) in Canada then the machine was assembled in West Germany.
At a glance the 411 resembles the 401A but on closer examination there are a number of significant differences. Let's compare the two machines: (411 appears on the lefthand side of each comparison.)
The two machines look similar but the 401A is "squarer" in styling. Stylistically the 411 more closely resembles the 403.
The 411 and 403 share a prominent pointed ridge on top and distinctively shaped light cover. However the 411 has a couple of mechanical features that mimic the 500 Rocketeer.
Note the additional thread tension regulator just above the tension knob. This was a new feature when the 500 was introduced and was also used on the 411.
The 411 and 500 also share a top-mounted bobbin-winder.
Another unique feature is that while it looks like a Slant-o-Matic, the 411 can chainstitch like a Touch & Sew!
The final twist is that the 411 can also be used as a treadle machine, making it one of the very rare zig-zag treadle models. This feature is also found on the vertical needle 328 Style-o-Matic.
Note the channel for the treadle belt in the base just directly below the handwheel.
The 411 is truly a fascinating member of Singer's Slant Needle family. It does not feel as well built as the 401. The casting feels lighter and the paint job and trims appear to be lesser quality. But the unique versatility of this machine make it a strong contender for the title of "Best All-Around Slant Needle!"
Looking to "Go Green? or "Get off the grid?" Treadle sewing machines are the ultimate in renewable energy. Like a bicycle, you pedal it yourself.
Singer treadle machines are a dime a dozen. The problem is that nearly all of them are straight-stitch only. So if you need treadle AND zigzag you don't have many options.
The 328 Style-o-Matic is the answer.
Heavy duty power, zigzag and decorative stitch capability and treadle ready. Replace the motor belt with a treadle belt and install in a treadle cabinet... Voila! The ultimate green sewing machine.
The 328 was manufactured from 1963-1965 at Singer's Scotland (328K) and Canada (328J) factories, which means they not difficult to find.
The 328 is belt-driven which requires regular adjusting for optimum performance. When properly adjusted it compares favorably to its gear-driven counterparts. All of the 328's I've tested sew lightweight leather, heavy denim, duck canvas, marine vinyl and upholstery with ease.
If you need an all-around household machine with treadly capability, look no further than the 328 Style-o-Matic.
The 328 uses Class 66 bobbin and low shank attachments.
My family and I spend a lot of time on eBay and Craigslist looking at sewing machines. Big shock, I know! It's what we do, it's our "thing." Another big thing in my family is words. We LOVE words! Whether written or spoken, we enjoy the intricacies and absurdities of words. We particularly enjoy discovering "new" words or creative spellings of familiar words.
Sewing machine ads on Craigslist and eBay have been a gold mine! Who knew there were so many weird and wonderful ways to spell "Treadle"?
For those of you who may not know, a treadle machine is the old-fashioned kind with a foot pedal that turns the wheel to make the machine sew. The word treadle comes from the Old English word 'tredan' which means 'to tread'. OK, that's your vocabulary lesson for the day, now let's have some fun!
Some of the more creative spellings & variations we've seen lately:
Trudel Truddle Trestle Trundle Treedle
That was fun! And now that I've found the perfect 'trundle' machine, I need to find a 'bake-a-light' accessory box and some sewing 'niddles' to complete the set!
Dad is starting a museum of other online oddities. So far his collection includes:
chomp saw radio alarm saw Swinger sewing machine (not sure yet if it's a trudel, trundel, or trestle)
Have you spotted any of these rare products online? We'd love to hear about them!
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.