Today we'll be looking at a Kenmore 148.531. The 148 designation indicates that this machine was manufactured in the Soryu Plant in Japan, circa 1967.
On the surface, the 531 is quite unremarkable. Like most class 15 clones, it is a single needle, side-loading, oscillating hook machine machine capable of straight, zigzag and blind stitches. Like most low-shank Kenmores, this machine features a convenient, extra high foot lift and standard marked needle plate.
As a mail order supplier, Sears Roebuck had a seemingly endless number of Kenmore sewing machines. With myriad model numbers, it can get quite confusing to keep things straight. A couple weeks ago, I reviewed a Kenmore 117.720 made by the White Sewing Machine Company circa 1957. Today, we'll fast forward 15 years and take a look at a more modern Kenmore 158.1316, a zigzag and stretch capable machine.
As North American sewing machine suppliers go, Sears Roebuck & Co. was second only to the Singer Manufacturing Company. Unlike Singer, Sears Roebuck was a mail order supplier and relied on contracts with various sewing machine manufacturers to supply and rebadge their machines. The White Sewing Machine Company was one such manufacturer. Over the years, White grew in prominence and eventually became the sole sewing machine supplier for Sears Roebuck. Early Kenmore branded machines were in essence, White Rotarys in disguise. White machines were highly regarded and often considered comparable in quality to Singers.
The 158.1060 is the last incarnation of the series 1040 Kenmores, closely resembling the 1050 in both function and appearance. While strictly part of the 1040 series, it mixes things up by ditching the iconic extension bed and rolling accessories tray. And while it shares the same footprint as it's earlier brethren, the 1060 is quite a bit taller which excludes it from fitting in the rose embossed carrying case.
Meet the Kenmore 158.1040. This is a Japanese-made 3/4 size ortable machine that weights in at about 17 lbs--just slightly heavier than a Featherweight plus its case. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the machine is its removable accessory case and extension tray. It's almost like a transformer!