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11 Awe-Inspiring Model Names for Sewing Machines

Posted by James Wolfensberger on

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.


Admiral Sewing Machine

An admiral is the highest naval rank throughout many nations.


Aristocrat Sewing Machine

From Greek origins meaning "excellent power," an aristocrat has historically meant someone from the highest social class.


Bel-Air Sewing Machine

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.


Challenge Sewing Machine

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.

Climax 2

Climax 2 Sewing Machine

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.


Defiance Sewing Machine

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.

Quilter's Stash Box


Excelsior Sewing Machine

"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.

Excelsior - Rachel, Friends, Sewing Machine Poster


Imperial Sewing Machine

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

Monarch Sewing Machine

King Sewing Machine

Queen Sewing Machine

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.


Singer Spartan Sewing Machine

The Spartan military was a legendary force from Greek history.


Vulcan Toy Sewing Machine

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.

Now What?

There is only one feature-length documentary on the subject of vintage sewing machines. Have you seen Still Stitching?

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  • You should put a pic of the lovely pink Brother Tingler in with the Climax no2. Couldn’t resist buying it, so pretty.

    Rose W on
  • “Bel Air” was also the top of the line trim in a 57 Chevrolet car! Every collectors dream car.

    Moses on
  • I recently purchased an Elite, a Japanese clone of the Singer 15-90. Also, I have a vintage GoodHousekeeper Deluxe ZigZag. Both are in great condition and sew beautifully.

    NancyinSTL on

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