Kenmore Sewing Machines – Zenith

Kenmore 158.1941

We had had a long standing love affair with Kenmore sewing machines, especially those models that were designed and sold in the early to mid 1970’s, and manufactured by Maruzen in Japan. I feel that this was the zenith of Sear’s production and although subsequent Kenmore machines are still very good, nobody will ever make a machine like this again, and if they did, it would cost many thousands of dollars to buy.

Charles Harrison was the chief designer for Sears and as he was dyslexic, he wanted to design machines that required very little need for reading instruction manuals, and were more intuitive to use.

We picked up a Kenmore 158.1941 the other day and it is presently in the getting our spa treatment, the 158 denotes that it was made by Maruzen and the model and variation follows.

The 1941 was an immensely successful model that was produced, and was placed just below the top models of the day, but offered nearly all the same features, and excellent performance. Consider that in 1975 this machine sold for around $250.00 and could compete against and even exceed the performance of Berninas, Pfaffs, and Elnas that cost three to four times as much.

Kenmore 158.1030 – One of Harrison’s most brilliant designs.

The 1030 in our collection was one of Harrison’s most famous designs and believe an example sits in the Smithsonian as an example of brilliant mechanical design and American engineering.

One of my longest serving machines is my 158.1931 which is a convertible free arm model, identical to the 1941 mechanically save for the added feature of being able to use pattern cams. It is a flawless machine that, despite being over 40 years old, still performs like it was a new machine… and it was a well used machine when I bought it.

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7 Replies to “Kenmore Sewing Machines – Zenith”

  1. I just recently purchased three model 158’s ,.. 1813, 1749 and 1757, really love these machines. Two out of the three work perfect, ome needs a little TLC

  2. I bought a 4184 with all the accessories at auction for $20. Works like a charm. Cleaned/oiled it and gave it to my neice. Her first machine, she was so excited.

    1. please help with my machine from my mother in law. cannot stop it from sewing zig and needle , wont go in straight stitches , also cannot get needlto go back into original position, difficult .cant get it to stay in the shaft

  3. I recently received a 158-904. I have yet to use it. Thinking of it as an investment. I own a rockateer that I use . I also have a 158-18033. Kenmore. Love these where do I search for dates?

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