A couple of weeks ago, in an article about the Singer Automatic Zigzagger, I made the comment "sewing machine attachments, especially the really old ones, can be pretty strange looking." I went on to liken some of them to torture devices, spiders, and bugs.
But yesterday I met a new one and this one is pretty cute. And it has a cute nickname too! Meet the "Penguin." Officially, it's the Singer Walking Presser Foot, Part #160741, but it's nicknamed "Penguin" because it actually looks like one, with its black and white body and waddling feet. It even has a little flipper wing lever at the side. The instruction sheet has a 1953 copyright date.
Designed to work with low-shank, straight-stitch Singer machines, the Penguin is one of the rarer vintage Singer attachments.
Because of their rarity, novelty, and practicality, Penguins are highly sought after accessories for the 221 Featherweight. After all, the Featherweight is pretty cute, but a Featherweight with a Penguin? Priceless!
Like all walking foot or even feed attachments, the Penguin functions by moving the presser foot in time with the feed dogs so that fabric layers are fed uniformly. This is a huge advantage for quilters because it insures that pieces and batting are fed evenly and line up perfectly. Walking foot attachments are sometimes called "plaid matchers" because they help ensure that plaid designs or stripes match up perfectly along a seam.
Penguins are apparently pretty rare. Dad and I happened across this one yesterday in the drawers of the cabinet of a Singer 306W Swing Needle. It's always fun discovering something we have never seen before.
A review of eBay sales revealed that only a few Penguins have been listed and sold recently and they fetch pretty high prices from folks looking to complete their Singer attachment collection.
I'd love to keep this one, just for the fun of it. But we're in the buying and selling business, not the collecting business, so this one will be finding a new home very soon.
Sure was fun to see and play with, though.
Happy Sewing! Barbara OldSewinGear...dedicated to helping you get the most out of your old sewing gear.
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.