In 1954 Bernina introduced the Record series with the 530, and prior to this their sales were respectable but even then, Singer made more machines in a day than Bernina made in a year, and Singer still held 95% of the global market. Other European companies were starting to put a dent in Singer’s hegemony though,
Elna had released the Supermatic in 1951, and was seeing some massive success in the North American market, and demonstrated that people wanted to buy and own convertible, free arm machines. By comparison, the Elna used external cams, required cover plates for free motion, and by the second generation could do stretch stitches, a feature Bernina did not have until the early 1980’s.
By 1963 Bernina would sell 2 million machines and I believe that the 530 Record was most responsible for their entry into the global market, increased sales success, and establishment of their own dealer networks in North America.
The success of the 530 was such that Singer even approached Bernina, and wanted to strike a deal whereby they would distribute Bernina machines through their vast network of Singer stores. Bernina declined and for a time opted for shared North American distribution with Necchi.
The 530 Record was compact, (but a wee bit heavy) and featured 12 built in stitches, had a powerful motor and reduction drive like the 125, a drop feed, introduced Bernina’s proprietary clip on foot system, and had a semi automatic button hole feature. There were no external accessories required and all the extra feet, bobbins, and thread stored nicely in the rear mounted tray.
It was also built like a Swiss watch, and sews beautifully and quietly… a hallmark of the Bernina machines that followed.
It must have been a wonder for people to come into a shop and test drive this phenomenal machine.
Our Friend Alex Askaroff has written a wonderful article on Bernina’s History and we offered to contribute a little on the 530 Record.
The article can be found at: https://sewalot.com/bernina_sewing_machines.htmFollow us on Facebook