I mentioned a while back that I hadn’t been able to locate a modern alternative for the bagel bobbins for the Adler 8, but that I was still looking.
While I haven’t found an exact replacement, I have found something that can be used. It’s not perfect, but it is better than sidelining a beautiful old machine for lack of bobbins.
I found that a Chinese company makes a tatting shuttle with a removable bobbin. Because of the shape of the tatting shuttle, the bobbin has rounded shoulders - it is bagel shaped.
|Tatting shuttle with bagel bobbin|
Modern sewing machine bobbins are usually cylinder shaped and thicker than the bagel bobbins used on the Adler class 8 and other Wheeler and Wilson 9 related sewing machines - modern bobbins cannot be used in such a sewing machine.
The bobbins from the tatting shuttle are a good bit smaller than the normal bobbins for the Adler 8, but they do work. The bobbin in a Wheeler and Wilson 9 style machine doesn’t go on an axle like in modern machines. It merely “floats” inside the bobbin holder. If the bobbin is small enough in diameter and flat enough, it’ll work.
That bit of knowledge would normally only be helpful if you could find some bagel bobbins made for a machine the same size or smaller than the ones your machine needs - but such bobbins are scarce, no matter what size.
Let’s have a look at the tatting shuttle bobbins:
|Tatting shuttle bobbin|
For comparison, here’s an original Adler class 8 bobbin:
|Bobbin dimensions for the Adler class 8|
As you can see, the diameter of the tatting shuttle bobbin is a couple of millimeters smaller than the orignal Adler bobbin. It is also about one millimeter thinner.
The difference doesn’t matter. I’ve sewn some test stitches with the tatting shuttle bobbin - it works just fine, though you do hear the bobbin rattling inside the bobbin holder a bit more.
The one difference that does matter is the inner diameter of the hole. The tatting shuttle bobbin will not fit on the bobbin winder of the Adler class 8.
I made a little adapter to be able to wind the tatting shuttle bobbins on the Adler 8. It isn’t pretty, but it does work.
|Bobbin winder adapter|
You’ll have to thread the winder a bit differently so that the bobbin winds evenly - the test shown above got the thread all bunched up on one side.
Alternatively, you can wind your bobbins by hand or find a hand powered bobbin winder. Hand winding takes a while, but it can be done. Hand cranked bobbin winders are a thing. You can find them on eBay (vintage ones) or on Amazon. There are even electrically powered bobbin winders.
It turns out that the tatting shuttle bobbins are a near perfect replacement for a Phoenix A sewing machine. The difference is only a fraction of a millimeter - except, of course, for the diameter of the axle hole.
I’ve posted this same information on that same German sewing machine forum a few days ago.
I have written an email to the company that makes the tatting shuttles, asking if they make the bobbins or purchase them. Maybe I can get a lead on a company that can manufacture bagel bobbins in various sizes. Stay tuned for further updates.
Edit: 2022-08-12 - The company that makes the tatting shuttles wrote back. They purchase the bobbins from another company. That other company doesn’t produce bobbins in other sizes, and doesn’t want to make custom sizes. Oh, well. It was worth a try.