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Nelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle) Sewing Machine - $275 (Florence)

Nelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 1 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 2 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 3 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 4 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 5 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 6 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 7 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 8 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 9 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 10 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 11 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 12 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 13 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 14 thumbnailNelco N-15 (Elna Lotus/Stella Syle)  Sewing Machine 15 thumbnail
condition: good
make / manufacturer: Nelco
model name / number: N-15
For sale is a NELCO N-15. This machine was patterned after the Elna Lotus and Stella machines. The examples that I have possessed seem to have been made between 1968 and 1970,though I have no Idea of the actual span of years they were made.
JC Penney also sold these badged as Penncrest or simply as the JC Penney brand. Three variants were produced. A simple straight stitch/zigzag machine, one that additionally had a button hole cam stack with knob, and one like the N-15 here, that in addition to the button hole feature, has three utility, and four stretch stitches. This is a great portable package for sewing school or retreats while being a rare collectible.

This machine has been gone through very extensively. Every bit of the original congealed factory grease was removed from the entire machine along with all the dried and varnished machine oil that it received over the years. This was not a case of putting three drops of oil in a few locations and calling it serviced. Hook clearance verified along with timing. Hook sharpened and polished beautifully.

The automatic mechanism was removed disassembled and cleaned completely down to the base materials. A light film of Teflon based synthetic grease was sparingly used in a few key spots while all metal pivot points and wear surfaces received a light oiling. The adjustment on the right side of the mechanism were adjusted to control the forward/reverse feed of the stretch stitches(front) and of the buttonhole stitches(rear). I snapped a picture of the assembly after partially assembling.

Like the original Lotus, these never came with removable panels like the later Stellas. I modified this so that the front and rear covers can be pushed toward the column to release them from the hinges at the nose cover. The base cover comes off with one thumbscrew to allow easy cleaning of lint along with maintenance of the hook and its race.

I sample stitched through the various stitches with material from an unwashed fat quarter with the ~40 wt thread that my local Walmart is now carrying instead of Coats And Clark. I did all of it with a size 11 needle using the same thread top and bottom. I varied the utility stitches some, The stretch stitches are dictated by the mechanism.

I have included a picture to demonstrate the comparison between this machine and its Elna counterparts. I find it to be a more fair comparison to the Stella.
he Nelco is 3/8" taller, 3/4" longer, while being 1-1/4" wider than the Stella. The Nelco's weight with/without controller is 19.5/18.2 lbs. to the Stellas 13.5/12.9 lbs. The difference in the amount of injection molded parts(Stella) versus metal along with the Stella's air pod control pedal make for this difference.

At some point the light had been replaced with a generic unit and a mount fashioned from a bobby pin. While apart I replaced it with an original unit having the correct mount.

Of the variations of this Nelco design that I have come across, this is the only monotone machine. All the others have had the white/off-white and orange scheme. Most have injection molded hand wheels. This is one of them that has a metal one.


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