An embarrassment of riches.

The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Table of Contents

The Adler class 8 seems to not be a very common machine. I have found maybe ten or so folks on the internet who mention owning and using one.

There are parts readily available for many old machines - old stock, spares, left overs, and even newly manufactured parts to fit popular old machines.

The situation looks a bit different for the Adler class 8 and the related machines as mentioned in the user’s guide. (I found a copy of the German user’s manual in a German sewing enthusiast forum, and collected the scans of the individual pages into a PDF. It is in German, so may be of limited use to those who don’t know the language.)

I’ve spent many an hour in the last months raking through eBay and other sources looking for spare bobbins for my Adler. It had just one with it. That’s a nuisance when it’s time to change thread color and a worry for some time in the future when it might get lost or damaged.

In all that time, I found only one person who had anything that was definitely identifiable as a spare part for the Adler class 8. Someone in Florida in the USA had a bunch of bobbins for sale - at $22 a pop. I was going to bite the bullet and buy a couple, but the seller won’t mail to Germany. Bummer.

While searching for things, I found that many of the old machines were copies of other machines. Apparently there was an absolute blizzard of industrial espionage, licensing deals, and just plain old “buy somebody else’s machine and make one just like it” going on back in the day. I also found that at least some of the newer models from Adler (from the 1950s) still used the same bobbins and some internal parts. At the very least, the Adler 187 is supposed to use the same bobbins and bobbin holder as the class 8.

There weren’t any other Adler bobbins that I could find for sale, but I found that Baer und Rempel produced a machine called the Phönix class 8 - and that they were functionally and mechanically almost identical to the Adler class 8. I’m not even going to try to guess who stole from who (or made what back room deal,) but I’m very glad I found that reference.

I found someone on eBay.de (the German eBay site) selling a pile of bits and pieces for the Phönix class 8. The photos clearly showed the distinct “bagel” bobbins used by the Adler class 8, as well as a bunch of presser feet that had the same neck shape as on my Adler. The size of the necks compared to the size of the bobbins made it clear that these were the same size bobbins as the Adler takes. There are other, larger “bagel” bobbins out there but these were definitely the ones I needed.

Strangely enough, you can get Wheeler and Wilson model 9 “bagel” bobbins (which are larger than the Adler bobbins) comparatively easily - I find them for sale all over the place. Wheeler and Wilson started the whole “rotary hook” business back in 1851. As far as I can tell, Singer produced machines based on the Wheeler and Wilson D9 - but made them by the ever lovin’ boatload. That accounts for it being relatively easy to get WW D9 bobbins. You just get some made for the Singers and you’re golden.

The photos from the eBay seller weren’t clear enough to count how many of what was in the lot. It didn’t really even detail it all that much “bunch of Phönix 8 parts and bobbins” was all it said.

For the low price of 13€, I got the whole pile. The few bobbins I could see would make that much cheaper than the bobbins from Florida.

The package got here today - ordered on Sunday, delivered on Tuesday. Pretty fast service.

Here’s the whole pile:

Phönix/Adler class 8 stuff
Phönix/Adler class 8 stuff 1
Phönix/Adler class 8 stuff 2

That’s a lot of stuff. Most of it I can identify, though not all of it.

Let’s take a closer look:

Common stuff
Common stuff

That’s a roll of leather drive belt (too thick and stiff for the Adler,) a screwdriver (I’ll clean it up, give it a coat of shellac, and keep it with the Adler,) and an oil can. I bought (and cleaned up) an oil can just a couple of weeks ago - I’ll clean this one the same way and make a cap for it just like I did for the previous one.

Pure gold
Bobbins

That’s eleven bobbins. If I’d bought them from that fella in Florida I’d have had to pay $242 - and shipping from the US to Germany besides. They need some cleaning, but that’s no biggie.

Presser feet
Presser feet

That’s twelve presser feet. There are two sets (stamped 10 and 13.) The set marked “10” doesn’t have as many as set “13.” Set “13” has all the ones in set “10” plus a few extra. I recognize some of them from the manual, but not all of them. It is likely that Phönix sold feet that Adler didn’t. It is just as likely that the Adler manual just didn’t list all the available feet. At any rate, I’ve got some to play around with and some sleuthing to do to see what they are all for.

Tires and screws
Tires and screws

The rubber tires are not in any better shape than the one on my Adler - and they don’t fit. The screws do fit though I don’t need them right now.

Pin cushion
Pin cushion

The pin cushion is made to attach to one of the spool pins. It won’t fit the Adler, and the cloth covering is coming off. I may fix it up and sell it.

Plates
Plates

The half round plate in the lower left is a throat plate that should fit the Adler. The two rectangular plates don’t seem like they’d fit the Adler or the Phönix. The round plate on the left might be part of a circle sewing attachment I’ve seen - or maybe not.

Mounting hardware
Mounting hardware

The pin with the wood screw threads and the two hinged pins look like they were part of the stuff holding a machine to the table. I’m not sure what the spring thing might be.

Needles
Needles 1
Needles 2

Somebody kept their needles in an old thumbtack box. Pretty cool. I’ve got modern needles (Orange size 16, compatible with the old System 287 needles the Adler needs) that are guaranteed straight and sharp - I’ll probably keep the old needles and box in my curio cabinet.

Total mystery
Total mystery

The two parts on the left might belong to one of the circle sewing adapters I mentioned earlier, or maybe they are for sewing hems at a particular width - or something else entirely. I have no idea what the other things there to the right are.

I’ll be scouring the internet in the coming weeks to identify the things I couldn’t recognize.

If you recognize any of the unidentified parts, drop me a line in the comments.


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The Adler class 8 sewing machine - Table of Contents