This is a question I am asked quite often and it is like asking, “who is your favourite child?” or “which bird is your favourite?”.
If you click on the link to our permanent collection you will see quite a range of machines, with many hand cranks and treadles as I really do like human powered sewing.
Many of the examples we have collected are machines I consider to be the best in their class, historically significant, or just all around great performers, like my Kenmore 1931… which I often liken to a Toyota Camry as it is so well made and dead reliable. That and it was made at the peak of Sear’s production and relationship with Maruzen in Japan.
I love good design and engineering and am always fascinated when I discover a new machine like the new Necchi Supernova, I have bought, sold and serviced countless Necchi machines but the Supernova was the greatest machine they ever produced.
If Ferrari made sewing machines they would have made the Necchi Supernova, but if Rolex had made sewing machines, they would have made the Elna 62C SU (Supermatic).
The machine is built like a Swiss watch with exceeding high tolerances and perfect balance and using one is something that has to be experienced, few machines run smoother, faster, or quieter.
The original Supermatic debuted in April of April 1952 and was a wonder of engineering and through constant improvements and refinements the Elna SU (Star series) machines debuted in 1971.
An old tech once told me that the 62C was the finest machine ever made, and he worked for a Bernina dealer.
These really were the pinnacle for Elna and stand as one of the finest sewing machines ever made, and perhaps the best machine you could have purchased in the early 1970’s… the Bernina 830 Record and Husqvarna 2000 series machines are and were exceptional but the Elna took sewing to the next level.
If I have one complaint about the 62C is that they are really fussy when it comes to being kept clean, the hook tolerances are so precise that they are very intolerant of lint and debris whereas most machines with oscillating hooks (ie Bernina) are much more tolerant of neglect, although they should all be kept clean and get brushed out and get a drop of oil after every project.
“And now, the Necchi push button Supernova marks the third and greatest advancement in modern sewing machines, and the third great advancement introduced by Necchi. The Supernova brings automatic sewing into a completely new era, because the skill is built right into the machine!” – Necchi Supernova manual – 1955
I wonder if the guys on the other side of the Alps might have taken issue with their Italian friend’s claims as the Swiss made Elna Supermatic was also an “automatica” although according to Necchi, these ran “like a phonograph”, as opposed to the Necchi’s ability to customize their “playlist” of cam selections.
With that being said, this is a machine we have wanted to add to the collection for many years and unlike many of the straight stitch Necchi models, they are quite uncommon, probably due to their stratospheric price tag back in 1955. When sold in a cabinet they cost the equivalent of nearly $5000.00 when you adjust for inflation, and even back then cost as much as half a year’s house payments.
Besides having fixed cams for specified patterns it also came with a rack of cams and holders that a user could customize to create their own pattern selections which is rather unique, and the machine is stretch capable like an Elna Supermatic which really set this machine apart, that and the incredible build quality.
The cam set with the long handle is for making button holes and it works rather well to select stitches and run things in reverse. the cover to the parts case has a selector wheel that shows you how to build up cam sets for specific stitches, and a good third of the manual describes many of the stitches that this machine is capable of.
She will be joining the permanent collection here as these are a notable example of 20th century machine development, and if you look at Japanese machine of the early 1960’s it is not hard to see where they got a lot of ideas.
Decided to name her “Gina” after another famous Italian… here she is after being serviced in our shop, most of which involved cleaning and oiling as there were no significant mechanical issues.