Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Front, Perhaps made in Japan and badged in North America
Fate has voluntold me as the human caretaker of an Imperial Sewing Machine, model 535. This lovely machine was left out on the curb as trash, coincidentally as I was bicycling. Though the machine weighs a LOT, it is all metal and sews very beautifully. It even sews quieter than my Singer. The 535 has straight and zig zag stitching, and can darn. Included were about 5 different presser feet. Casting marks “J-C 27” and “304-1”, and printed marks “JA/3”. A thorough internet search has provided very little, except a couple of photos of similar machines, but images from Needlebar.org shows parts of similar looking machines were manufactured in Japan and badged in North America, circa 1950-’60s. As I did not see a Model 535 anywhere I hope that someone can see my photos and help me find its origins, and perhaps an owner’s guide.
Note: I have found a user manual for an Imperial Model 535, thanks to Gord Bestwick, and have posted it to my site for free download. If you have any other user manual I would like to see it.
The 535 has a light on the head, with a rotary switch above it. The machine is all metal and heavy. It can do zigzag and straight stitch. You can vary the width of the zig zag from 0 to 5. There are two smaller knobs used to adjust the larger zig zag knob. The larger knob varies the zig zag amount, which is locked down by the smaller left knob. The right knob locks down the setting so it will not move. There is a knob to adjust the stitch length, from 0 to 5 in half increments. There is a reverse button with a red “R”, and darn and sew buttons, which toggle. There is a bobbin winder. The thread holder on top of the machine conveniently folds down. The presser foot has 4 up lever positions.
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: back. All electrics are Canadian made and certified CSA
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Front cover light. The head swivels open, revealing the heat shield and the bulb underneath. The head does heat up when the light is on.
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Top. No casting markings
On the bottom are casting markings “J-C 27” and “304-1”. The bottom plate is marked JIS 8210.
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Bottom. Casting markings J-C 27 and 304-1
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: model number, printed number J-A/3
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Motor. 115v 1.0 amp Electrohome, Kitchener, Canada
All the electrical is made in Canada and stamped CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certified. The motor is an 115v 1.0 amp Electrohome, model 67-C5. Both the motor and light plug into a built-in “power bar”, which then gets power from the electrical outlet. The power bar is stamped “Mercury Electrical Products MFG. Co.”
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: CSA sticker
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Electrical power bar. Mercury Electric Products
The accessories box contains 6 different presser feet and attachments as well as an extra feeder plate. There are no markings on any of them. The accessories box looks identical to one I saw on Needlebar.org’s photo gallery, under a Myer zig zag.
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Pedal and accessories box
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Foot Pedal. Mercury Electric Products
Imperial sewing machine, model 535: Front. I am looking for an owner's manual and information about this machine
Addendum: September 14 2011: I found an Imperial 535 user manual.