Monday, August 17, 2015

Vintage Kenmore 158.10402 - Restored

Downloadable Manual

I've been collecting these incredible little machines for several years now.  The 158 series machines were made for Sears by Jaguar/Maruzen out of Japan.  I consider them to be the Singer 221 Featherweight on steroids.  I suppose, if you are a quilter, the 221 is the holy grail for quality of straight stitch and portability.  However, if you are a typical sewer needing more than a straight stitch, portability, and a compact footprint, this little Kenmore 1040 is a must have.  There were three in the 1040 series: 158.10400, 158.10401, and 158.10402.  The 10400 and the 10401 are nearly indistinguishable, but the 10402 had some differences in the indicator markings.


  • 3/4 Machine w/rose embossed clamshell case
  • 18 lbs.
  • Cast aluminum housing
  • All metal gears
  • Case measures 17" long  x 5.5" wide x 11.5" tall
  • Oscillating vertical 15 series hook/bobbin
  • Straight stitch
  • Zig-zag stitch
  • Blind hem stitch
  • Mending stitch
  • Straight stretch stitch
  • Zig-zag stretch stitch
  • Built-in 4 step buttonholer w/five guides: 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 13/16", 1 1/16"
  • Light
  • Foot controller w/case
  • Automatic bobbin winder w/five bobbins
  • Feet include: zig-zag, straight, zipper, blindstitch guide with shank 
  • Straight and zig-zag needle plates
  • Needle threader
  • Large and small screwdriver
  • Five needles
  • Two double needles
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure
  • Droppable feed dogs
  • Oiler/lint brush
  • Seam Ripper

Over the past few years I've acquired seven of these machines. From them I have restored three and gave one to each of my daughters as Christmas presents a couple of years ago.  I have a couple left to restore and sell, and then I found this very unusual 158.10402 in virtually mint condition.  I did go through and perform a full restoration; cleaning, polishing, and waxing, along with grease and lubrication.  All functions were checked and it performs flawlessly.

What I didn't expect, nor have I ever seen, was the styrofoam packing.  It was obviously used to secure the machine inside its rose embossed clamshell case during shipping.  This is the most complete, most perfect 1040 I've run across and it has found its way into my little private collection.

The inspection label is still on the side of the case and the original hang tag is on the handle.  It even came with an actual page from the 1974 Sears catalogue from which, I assume, it was ordered.

The following few pictures show the machine from all sides.

 Inside the machine is clean and untarnished.  It received a full oiling and greasing.

 Here are the markings that are changed on the 10402.  The indicator lines are black instead of orange and there is descriptive text instead of dots.

No markings on the manual and the binding is perfect.

The page from the 1974 Sears catalogue featuring the machine and the price.  $160 in 1974 is equal to $800 in 2015.

The electronic foot pedal is pristine and the green vinyl case is perfect.  I've only seen two that weren't torn at the seams.

 This machine came with all of its original accessories including the oiler/brush, the needle threader (in the original box and still sealed in plastic, and the two screwdrivers which are still in their plastic bag.

 Feed dogs work and drop perfectly.  Bobbin case present and accounted for.

 I love the way the end of the machine flips up and the accessory case flips forward for added material support.  The engineering on this machine is amazing.

 The manufacturer's tag on the bottom of the machine.

 A perfect case with hang tag and inspection sticker.

 Here are the oiler/brush (with original oil) and the seam ripper.

 All five buttonhole guides.

 The original double needles and single needles in their plastic cases.  This machine also comes with a straight stitch needle plate and foot.

 Screwdrivers still in the bag.

 Its hard to believe that all of the accessories fit in the tilt out tray.

 The original shipping styrofoam.

 The hinge knuckles are perfect; usually one or more are cracked or broken.

Everything fits into the case except the manual, which is why so often it goes missing.  Of all the machines I've collected, this is the hardest manual to find.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at the Kenmore 158.10402.  If you have any questions, let me know. The items that are problematic on these machines is that the double belt pulley and the drop feed dogs tend to freeze up after years of nonuse.  I'll be doing a tutorial on easily dealing with both.

Thanks for looking,