Singer 48K Instruction Manual

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48K Manual
Figure 2


for using

The Singer Manufacturing Company's

48K (Reciprocating Shuttle)

Sewing Machines

Figure 3

To Oil the Machine

The places where the machine should be oiled are indicated in Figs. 3 and 4.

To oil the bearing of the balance-wheel, first loosen the wheel by holding it with the left hand while with the right you turn the stop-motion friction screw (see Fig. 3) towards you. Then turn the balance -wheel to bring the small hole in the hub at the right of the wheel uppermost, and put a drop of oil in this hole. The wheel should then be worked slightly forward and backward to allow the oil to work into the bearing.

Apply an occasional drop of oil to the needle-bar cam and roller through the oil hole near the top, at the back of the head, and to the oil hole just back of the shuttle slide.

Figure 4
Put a drop of oil on the thread take-up bearing at the slot in the back of the head, also at the needle-bar bearing on the top of the head, and remember that a single drop of oil is sufficient at any point. The bobbin-winder spindle bearing and worm must be oiled occasionally; also

the cam wheel which operates the thread guide. The point of the bobbin placed in the left centre of the winder should be slightly moistened with oil.

To reach the parts to be oiled under the bed of the machine, turn the machine over backward. To effect this, the belt must be first thrown off the band-wheel, which is done (the machine being in motion) but turning the belt-shifter handle (shown in Fig. 2) to the left. After oiling, turn the machine up again, and operate the treadle as in sewing (with the wheel turning towards you), which will automatically replace the belt on the band-wheel.

The points requiring oil in the stand are the bearings at each end of the band-wheel crank, treadle and treadle pitman. After oiling, run the machine rapidly for a few moments (with the presser-foot up) to work the oil into the bearings. Then carefully wipe off the surplus oil. All places where one part of the machine rubs against another, producing friction, require oiling, and if, after oiling, the machine runs hard, it is certain that some place has been overlooked.

If he machine runs hard after standing for some time, use a little paraffin or benzine in the usual way, run rapidly, wipe clean, and then oil with our extra quality machine oil, which should always be used. The machine should be oiled once a day if in constant use, and after standing for some time should always be cleaned and oiled before using.

To make sure of good oil, always buy it at any of the Company's offices from their authorised agents. The genuine oil is put up in bottles, with "The Singer Manufacturing Company" moulded in relief upon the bottle, and each cork sealed with the Company's trade mark.

The Stop Motion

The object of the stop motion is to enable the operator to wind a bobbin by running the balance-wheel without running the machine, which not only saves labour but permits the rewinding of a bobbin when a seam is partially sewn, without removing the goods from the machine or interfering with the upper or needle thread.

To operate the stop-motion, turn the stop motion friction-screw outside the balance-wheel over towards you to release the balance-wheel, and in the opposite direction to clamp it. (See Fig. 3).

To Operate the Treadle and Machine

First loosen the balance-wheel by turning the stop motion friction screw (see Fig. 3) towards you, then place your feet upon the treadle with the instep directly over the centre; turn the balance-wheel towards you with the right hand, allowing the feet to move freely with the motion thus commenced, and continue this motion by an alternate pressure of the wheel and toe until a regular and easy motion is acquired.

Do not attempt to learn anything else until you are proficient in the use of the treadle, so that you can start and stop the machine without turning the balance wheel in the wrong direction.

After becoming familiar with the treadle movement, connect the balance-wheel with the machine by turning the stop motion friction-screw from you. Raise the presser foot by the presser-bar lifter, start the balance-wheel towards you and continue the motion with the feet as above described. After becoming proficient in this motion, place a piece of cloth between the feed and presser-foot, let the foot down upon it, and operate the machine in this way until you have become accustomed to guiding the material.


  1. Never run the machine with the presser-foot resting on the feed and no cloth between.
  2. Do not try to help the machine by pulling the fabric, lest you bend the needle; the machine feeds without any assistance.
  3. Never run the machine, with both shuttle and needle threaded, except while you are sewing.
  4. Do not allow lint or dust to accumulate in the shuttle or under the shuttle-tension spring, as any foreign substance inside the shuttle (particularly in the inner end) will prevent the proper action of the bobbin; and under the tension spring, will render the shuttle-tension inoperative.

To Set the Needle

Hold the needle in the left hand with the flat side of the shank towards the back of the machine and the long groove towards the operator; raise the needle-bar to its highest point, put the needle up in the clamp as far as it will go, and tighten the thumb-screw.

Figure 5
To Thread the Needle

Pass the thread from the spool through the eyelet (1) at the top of the front of the face-plate, downward between the tension discs (2) from front to back, up and through the eyelet hole (3) in the end of the take-up, from the front; down into the thread guide (4) on the front of the face-plate, then under the thread guide (5) on the lower end of the needle-bar, and from front to back through the eye (6) of the needle, leaving a free end about three inches long with which to commence sewing.

To Wind the Bobbin

Loosen the balance-wheel and press back the bobbin-winder pulley until the balance-wheel bears upon it with sufficient pressure to drive the winder.

Then place the bobbin in the bobbin-winder and the spool of thread on the spool pin of the machine. Draw the thread into the eyelet in the face-plate as in sewing, thence into the eyelets of the tread-guide of the winder, first at the lower end, and then at the top, secure the free end of the thread by placing it between the head of the bobbin and the cup at the end of the bobbin-winder spindle, and operate the treadle the same as in sewing.

To Remove the Shuttle

Lower the needle-bar to its lowest point, and draw out the slide on the front of the machine and at the left of the operator, when the shuttle will be automatically raised so that it can be easily lifted out.

Avoid trying to lift the shuttle by the spring, and do not attempt to remove the shuttle while it is at the right of the needle.

To Thread the Shuttle

(see Figs. 6, 7 and 8)

Figures 6, 7 & 8

Take the shuttle between the thumb and fingers of the left hand, with its point towards you, put the bobbin in the shuttle with the thread drawing from it at the top side towards the right as shown in Fig. 6.

When the bobbin is in its place, put a slight pressure on the end of it with the forefinger of the left hand, and draw the free end of the thread into the slot in the shuttle body in the direction of the point of the shuttle as far as it will go, as shown in Fig. 7.

Then draw towards the butt again as shown in Fig. 8, until the bobbin commences to revolve, leaving a free end about three inches long.

To Replace the Shuttle and Prepare for Sewing

Lower the needle-bar to its lowest point, open the front slid and place the shuttle in the carrier with the point towards the needle and the flat side towards the operator. Always be sure that both front and back slides are CLOSED before commencing to sew.

With the left hand take hold of the needle thread (leaving it slack from the end to the needle), turn the balance-wheel towards you until the needle moves down and up again to its highest point, thus catching the shuttle thread: draw up gently the free end of the needle thread and the shuttle thread will appear; then draw the shuttle thread up through the hole in the throat-plate, lay the needle, lower the presser-foot upon it, and commence to sew, turning the wheel towards you.

Be sure that every part is clean before you commence to sew.

To Regulate the Tension

The tension of the needle thread is regulated by turning the thumb-screw at the back of the face-plate (see Fig. 3) towards the operator to diminish the tension and in the opposite direction to increase it. The tension of the shuttle thread is regulated by the small screw-driver; turn to the right to increase, or to the left to diminish, the tension. (See Caution 4) The tension of the needle thread should be a very little stiffer than that of the hole at the end of the thread take-up lever. the tensions should be regulated so as to lock the stitch in the centre of the goods.

If there are loops or a straight thread on the under side of the material, it shows that the upper or needle-tension is too loose, and should be increased, as explained above.

If loops or a straight thread appear on the upper side of the goods, it shows that the upper tension is too tight, and it should be diminished so that the lock will be in the centre of the material and the stitch alike on both sides.

Care should be also taken to select thread suitable to the material to be sewn (see Table) for which too coarse a thread the lock of the stitch may not be hidden in the centre of the fabric.

To Remove the Work

Raise the needle-bar to its highest point. Raise the presser-bar lifter with the forefinger of the right hand, and at the same time press slightly with the thumb upon the tension thumb-nut at the back of the face-plate (see Fig. 3). Continue the pressure while with the left hand the work is drawn backwards and to the left about two inches; then cut the threads close to the goods, leaving two or three inches of thread with which to re-commence sewing.

To Alter the Length of Stitch

On the front of the bed below the trade-mark is the Feed Regulating Indicator Plate and Thumb-Screw. Loosen the thumb-screw and move it to the right to lengthen the stitch and to the left to shorten it. When the requisite length of stitch is obtained be sure to tighten the thumb-screw.

To Change the Pressure on Material

Turn the thumb-screw through which the presser-bar passes at the top of the head of the machine, to the right to increase, and to the left to decrease the pressure. For ordinary family sewing this pressure rarely needs to be changed.

General Remarks

The leather belt, which gives motion to the machine, should always be tight enough not to slip, but not so tight as to prevent the easy motion of the machine. If the belt is too long, uncouple it and cut off squarely from one end, say half and inch.

Be sure that the slides over the shuttle-race are kept closed. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

If the machine does not work well, it will be because some of the foregoing directions have not been followed; but users who cannot discover the cause should not alter the adjustments of the machine, but obtain the necessary assistance from the nearest office of the Company.

Tools and Accessories

We send with each Machine a set of Attachments, also all necessary Tools and Accessories, and a Machine Instruction Book.

Needles, Silks, Threads, and Oil

The Company keep in stock, at all their Branch offices, superior Needles of their own manufacture, the best quality of Silk Twist and Linen Thread, SUPERIOR GLACE and soft finished Cottons manufactured expressly for the Company, and highly refined extra quality machine oil.

Detailed Price List of Needles, Silk, Linen and Cotton Threads, send Post Free.


Instruction free to all.

Price Lists Gratis by Post. Printed directions in foreign languages.

Every Description of Sewing Machines Repaired or Exchanged.

Fig. 9

48K Machine, Fitted to Work by Hand

The above illustration shows the 48K Machine on wood base fitted with hand-driving attachment. Thus fitted, these machines can be worked by hand upon an ordinary table.

It is also supplied with a wood cover, which, with the base, forms a most convenient portable case.

The hand motion is communicated by the handle acting upon the balance-wheel by a radial arm and spring catch. When working by foot, turn the spring catch out of contact with the wheel.

Fig. 10

Singer's Stand Brace (with Belt thrown off). Patented.

Fig. 10 shows our Stand Brace, with dress-guard and belt-shifter.

The band-wheel and treadle have their bearings entirely independent of the stand (or legs), thereby assuring a correct adjustment and easy action. This distinctive feature of Singer's Stand is of great importance to the health and comfort of the operator. The band-wheel and treadle also work upon adjustable centres, by means of which the friction is reduced to a minimum, while lost motion can be readily taken up. These devices render Singer's Stand the lightest running of any sewing machine stand ever constructed.

Fig. 11

Singer's Belt Shifter

This invention simplifies and makes easy the often irritating task of throwing off and replacing the belt.

To throw off the belt, press the small lever at the top of the dress-guard to the left with the forefinger, keeping up the motion of the treadle meanwhile.

To put on the belt, allow the lever to spring back in its place, and operate the treadle as in sewing (with the wheel turning towards you), when a single revolution of the wheel will bring the belt back in place.

Fig. 12

Singer's Pitman

Fig. 12 shows our adjustable Pitman. The block which forms one half of the journal is adjusted to the crank or pin by means of the screw, shown at the top of the cut.

When taking up lost motion, be careful not to make the journal so close as to prevent the free motion of the band-wheel.

Attachments for 48K Machines

© Claire Sherwell & NeedleBar 2009