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New Home

New Home Light Running

Also known as the Montgomery Ward open arm by Portman a free arm model.

I rescued a group of machines that had been left out in the rain at one point. Prior to that they appear to have been in very good condition. This is one of them.

It came with its original extension table which appears to be some sort of timber covered in thick paper. The case is badly damaged, but being timber I am hopeful that I can get it looking good again. The machine itself is only 110v so I needed to invest in a step up inverter to see if it was able to run, as we have 240v here and I was in luck, she ran straight away, even her light works, she just needed a clean up.

This is the machine the day I brought it home. The case under the machine belongs to a Fridor. The case for this machine is under the extension table.

From what I can find this machine was made from about 1936 to 1952.

Other names Montgomery Ward, Compac, Free Westinghouse, Portman, Seamstress, Viking and National N50

Update May 2022, I finished cleaning this machine a month ago, the case actually came up real nice, but I forgot to take pictures of it, I will one day, but rest assured it could be salvaged. The updated pictures for this machine are below. If it was a 240v I would be very happy with this machine as it stitches beautifully and it is light and portable. However I need to use a step up converter which is bulky, so for now this lovely machine will just remain in my collection as a pretty oddity. Maybe one day, when I retire, I will replace the motor with a Wernard motor and that should fix her up to be practical here in Australia. It is also missing the bobbin safety cover, but this does not affect its operation.

The manual which I found on the internet is here. Page 5 and page 6 are partly missing and these can be seen below.

The clean up.

The finished machine.

New Home Model J (Elna Grasshopper clone)

Original sales price $179 in 1949, manufactured by the Portman Sewing Machine Co., of New Rochelle, NY “The foot control was available at extra cost. These machines were also sold under the names of Free Westinghouse, New Home, Montgomery Ward, Compac and Seamstress. When new, the style of these machines would have been sleek and ultra modern with the added advantage of a free arm. The high price was to represent a ‘quality’ product. The machine was manufactured by Portman Manufacturing Company, from New Rochelle, New York. Portman didn’t have an easy time. He had trouble getting distribution, because imports were cheaper and had more appeal. The machine was marketed for a short time by “New Home”, until their demise. The pitch to new distributors was quite transparent. The distributor paid $200.00 for a franchise, and Portman sent a machine for inspection, which became the dealer’s property. He sold many machines using this simple ploy.” This is a very small sewing machine called a New Home Light Running machine…marked as a Model J, it only has one function, and that is to straight stitch, which it does VERY WELL!

Montgomery Wards Catalogue 1954