Many of the most notable vintage sewing machine models have names that are familiar and suggest legendary quality and features. The Singer Featherweight is a favorite among quilters, weighing in at a mere 11 lbs. The Elna 1 is known affectionately as the "Grasshopper" for it's unique posture and color. Still, many other highly favored machines have rather dull monikers, often simply model numbers. The Singer "Improved Family" is much more widely known by it's model number, the Singer 15. Other popular Singers are known just as numbers, such as the Singer 301. One coveted model, the Singer 500A, has been called the "Rocketeer" for years thanks to it's once-futuristic shape, but that retro space-age name does not appear on the machine - it's unofficial, so to speak.
So we began wondering about the toughest, perhaps edgiest, or most cavalier brand or model names that have been "official," stamped right on the machines. We were looking for names that evoked something especially powerful or awe-inspiring. Here's our list, and you're invited to comment at the end of this article if you know others.
An admiral is the highest naval rank throughout many nations.
From Greek origins meaning "excellent power," an aristocrat has historically meant someone from the highest social class.
The moniker "Bel-Air" has long been associated with prestige and an almost royal air. Bel-Air, Bel Air, and BelAir are names associated with wealthy locations and a sparkling wine.
What would a sewing machine named "Challenge" represent? Something good, something bad? Either way, it sounds tough, considering that to "challenge" someone or something might suggest a duel to the death.
There is an original Climax model sewing machine, but for our list of awe-inspiring names, we're going with the Climax 2 as we wonder if these might be considered a bit more rare in most households.
Maybe a toddler throwing a tantrum, maybe a band of rebels defying their king - either way, "defiance" suggests resolution or fortitude - and either courage or stupidity in some cases.
"Ever upward" or "still higher" from the Latin origins, "Excelsior" is the official motto of New York, a starship from Star Trek, as well as the moniker for many grand places, things, and literary references. Even Rachel from Friends gets it.
Relating to an empire and suggesting power and prestige, our favorite use of the word is associate with a delicious seafood dish, Crab Imperial.
Monarch, King & Queen
Speaking of empires, these three machine models' names are blunt with their royal attitudes. We've lumped them together as one of our top 10 since they seem a bit redundant.
The Spartan military was a legendary force from Greek history.
Earlier we mentioned that the Excelsior model shares its name with a Star Trek starship. Meanwhile, the Vulcan shares its name with a fictional race of beings in the same sci-fi universe. Vulcan was the god of fire, volcanoes, and metalworking, in Roman mythology. The Vulcan sewing machine was a toy.
There is only one feature-length documentary on the subject of vintage sewing machines. Have you seen Still Stitching?
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