Hello everyone the vintage sewing machine for discussion today will be the little known White 769 Selectronic. Even though I still prefer to do the majority of my sewing with treadle sewing machines I try very hard to be proficient with all different types of sewing machines from hand crank and treadle sewing machines to all kinds of electric machines. I would like to clarify that I am not an expert in any translation of the word. I am fascinated by all sewing machines even the ultra-modern computerized machines. Being a mechanically inclined person does lend credence to my lack of desire to reprogram electronic machines. It does not, however, interfere with my respect for those among us who do have the skills and enjoy the challenges.
Learn more about the White 769 vintage sewing machine, link for manual included
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Currently, I have not been very successful in my quest to research the White Model Number 769 sewing machine. I haven’t been able to define a positive manufacture timeline for this machine but it appears to have been manufactured sometime between 1963 and 1968. This is only a speculated guess based on the model number 764 which was introduced at the 1964 World Fair and was recognized by The House of Good Taste for its innovations and design. The bobbin door for the year 1964 was engraved with the endorsement. It was dubbed “My Fair Lady “or “Fair lady “due to its endorsements. Since that time it appears the general public has imposed the name onto all the White sewing machines of that particular body style. Very similar to the way all of the Singer 500 series are referred to as “Rocketeer “. The model number 500 was the first to be advertised as such. The White model number 769 also called “the Selectronic” appears to updated/upgraded version of the model number 764. The upgrade/update was basically the addition of an electronic controlled foot pedal to control the motor speed.
The new version as such would also sport a bobbin door with the word “Electronic” and the swirling atom symbol engraved into it.
The foot pedal still operates much like a normal resistive type controller with the exception that it doesn’t just rely on resistors to reduce power to the motor to control speed. It is also wired to a true electrical phase control which is controlled by a knob on the bed of the machine beside the feed-dog dial. The ability to change the phase or the Hertz/Cycles makes it possible to slow the motor speed/needle speed without the heat build-up associated with slow speed and benefit from the full power of the motor at slow speed. A revolutionary concept in the 60’s when all other machines could only achieve full power when sewing at full speed and any extended sewing at slow speeds would create a very hot foot pedal.
The model number 769 uses a typical class 15 bobbin case with the finger pointed in the 1 o’clock position, It also uses the standard 15X1 needle. This makes it easy to find an endless supply of needle for all types of sewing applications. Using a common 15 bobbin case means if you need to switch thread sizes or types you can also switch bobbin cases and not have to constantly adjust the tiny tension screw in order to switch from silk to heavy thread or even a metallic thread. Just pop in the bobbin case that you have pre-adjusted to match the different threads.
Threading the machine is pretty straight forward and intuitive if the user is familiar with the typical thread path of the mid 60’s sewing machines. If you are not familiar with the threading or if you might have forgotten the typical steps needed for threading because most machines made since 2000 have spoiled us and they thread themselves, except the needle eye, it’s quite alright the manuals for most of the White sewing machines can be found for free download at the Singerco.com website. As for the needle it installs with the flat to the back and it threads front to back. To wind the bobbin simply pull thread from the spool on the spool pin, under the opening of the handle, through the front guide eye and under the bobbin tensioner at the back of the bed below the bobbin winder. Thread the bobbin the same way you would any other bobbin with the thread tail facing the needle end of the machine and press the bobbin on to the winder shaft. Pushing the winder tire up against the hand wheel automatically unlocks the clutch. Press the foot pedal down to spin the bobbin full. As the bobbin fills it moves the tire further and further away from the hand wheel until the tire no longer touches the hand wheel and the bobbin is full.
The White 769 came with all the latest features of its era. It is a left needle homing machine. It has forward and reverse, Zig Zag and a four position button-hole function. It also has a blind hem stitch and a utility ZZ setting on the selector dial. Embroidery stitches can be accomplished by manually changing the size of the bight of the ZZ and the length of the stitch while the machine is running. It takes a lot of practice to master this technique but it is possible. The width or Bight is controlled by a lever on the pillar with adjustable left and right locks or stops. Stitch length is controlled by a dial on the pillar of the machine marked from 0-6 with 6 being the longest stitch. Needle speed is controlled by foot pedal, but the foot pedal is controlled by an electronic speed control dial on the bed of the machine at the base of the pillar. It is marked with the word “electronic” on top of the dial. It reduces speed allowed from the foot pedal to the needle when fully counterclockwise and increases when fully clockwise. Also mounted on the bed is a larger Knob just to the left of the speed control, is the 3 position feed-dog adjustment. It is marked “High” “Low” and “Down”. When “Down” is selected the feed-dogs do not extend above the needle plate so they have no effect on the fabric when the presser foot is down allowing for “Darning” and “Free-motion” sewing. The presser foot lift is a two position lever with the first position being the normal lift and lock so the fabric can be moved. When the lever is lifted farther than the lock position it raises the presser foot higher, making it easier deal with bulky seams.
Every time I pull this machine out and set it up for a project I am simply amazed at the smoothness and gracefulness of the operations and performance. I have sewn everything from silk to leather on this machine and it has always performed flawlessly. I ran the full gamut with the speed control and other than being a little noisy and growly at slow speed it would sew as fast or slow as I wanted it to regardless of the media being sewn. The noise doesn’t change with the work being performed. It makes the same amount of noise with an empty needle and no media as it does with several layers of denim and the needle speed doesn’t change. It is an awesome machine and it takes full advantage of it 1.3 amp motor. Although it does have a cool carry handle, It definitely is not the first choice for a portable machine. It is a very heavy beast of a machine but it is one of the best choices for an all-purpose residential based domestic machine capable of sewing fine fabric with beautiful top stitches.
Until next time, enjoy your machines your way, and remember, “A project made with love is always perfect”.
A review of the vintage sewing machine, White 769 Selectronic, link for the official manual is also included.
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