Getting older doesn't mean getting worse or ready for the junkyard. It can mean like fine wine, it just gets better with age. That is the way it is with some sewing machines. They get better the older they get. You can’t beat that kind of deal.
How old is my Elna sewing machine? The prototype may have been made in 1934 but the first Elna sewing machines did not appear until 1940. That would give you the upper age limit on your Elna sewing machine. Check the serial number and contact the company to get an exact age.
To learn more about the Elna sewing machine and the company behind it, just continue to read our article. It comes with the information you need so you can be a proud Elna sewing machine owner
If it wasn’t for the Spanish Civil War the Elna sewing machine may never have gotten off the ground. When that war broke out Dr. Ramon Casas Robert moved to Switzerland where he met a group of businessmen who helped him put together Elctrina, the company name where Elna came from.
The men realized they were not in a position to get the business off the ground so they agreed with Tavaro SA to help produce the sewing machines. 1940 saw the first home models released to the public and Elna was on its way to success.
While there is still an Elna website, the company exists only as a brand name for the parent company, Janome. This company bought out Elna in 2006 after a 2-year partnership.
The reason for this turn of events was that Janome wanted access to European engineering and technology. This move was very beneficial to their own brand of sewing machines as well as kept the sewing machine market with different types of machines.
The first sewing machines made by Elna were made in 1940. Some sources may say that production came years earlier but the first sewing machines for the home were introduced in that year.
The good news is that Elna machines are still being made and offer the consumer an affordable option. The design for Elna’s modern machines is still mostly European but the actual machine is made in South East Asia where the labor and material costs are lower.
Right now Elna sewing machines are working on their 80th year and still going strong.
Only the design wing of the Elna sewing machine is located in Switzerland. All production facilities and manufacturing have been relocated to South East Asia. The countries where Janome now has manufacturing facilities are Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan.
Those are the countries where the Elna sewing machine is made. It was a smart business move to keep the design business in Europe. That way Janome could keep some differences between their machines and the ones that they make for Elna.
Production in Europe can be costly so the moving of their manufacturing plants to Asia was another smart business move on the part of Janome.
Yes, you could say that these two brands are the same company. Janome owns Elna and many business decisions come from the corporate head office and not just Elna’s headquarters.
Elna’s independence was lost the moment it signed a working agreement with Janome in 2004. It took the latter company just 2 years to decide to buy Elna and absorb it into their huge corporate structure.
While you may find some design differences between Janome badged and Elna badged sewing machines, those differences come from the different engineers Janome employs in Japan and Europe.
To get an exact date on a vintage Elna, all you have to do is look at the serial number. Before 1963, the first digit in the serial number was the year in which the machine was made.
For the years 1963 to 1982 just click this link to see where your machine may lie. The key is in the letter in the serial number. From 1940 to 1963 Elna produced the Elna 1, 2 & 3 with the last 2 called a supermatic sewing machine.
For the years after 1982, we suggest you contact the Elna company directly and have them check their records. They have a support page that includes a separate section for previous models. Click here to get to their website
Dating your older or vintage Elna sewing machine should not be that difficult. Just go to the first link in the previous section and check its information against your serial number. That will get you the year it was made.
In 1981 the company made a change in its serial number and now the first 2 digits indicate the week and the letter the year the machine was made. After the last year on that chart, you should check with Elna to find out how old your machine is.
If you like the brand then you are in for some good news. Elna sewing machines are still made. The only difference is they are produced under Japanese leadership and not European.
They are still made to last and you should not have to replace your Elna a few years after you buy it. You should be able to count on many years of service.
Two things happened to Elna sewing machines since 2006. The first event that took place was that Elna was bought by Janome and turned into an Asian sewing machine with a European influence.
The second event was that all manufacturing of Elna sewing machines went to Asian factories. That should reflect in your cost as the price to make these machines went down substantially.
Other than that, you still have the European design that makes Elna a top sewing machine as well as Janome’s reputation for customer support to help you when you need it.
The first Elna sewing machines were the Elna 1. This unit was produced in 1940 and stayed in production for about 12 years. In 1952, the company came out with the Supermatic Elna 2 model and kept it in production for about 11 to 12 years.
During the production of the Elna 2, the company came out with a zig-zag sewing machine and the Supermatic Elna 3. Those two machines lasted about 6 years before the company upgraded to the Star Series from 1964 to 78.
Finally from 1968 to 78 the company also made the Lotus series of sewing machines.
One of the things that made this model stand out was that it was given a reverse feed stitch feature that was automatic. This feature served to set a high standard for other sewing machines had to meet to stay competitive.
Then this machine had a double profile cam which operated two functions at the same time. One moved the needle left to right and the other controlled the feed movement front to back.
The machine also came with a new feed dog design that had the teeth shaped like pyramids. This design helped feed the fabric in both directions and give you fewer issues to deal with.
Other innovations made this new model light years ahead of the original in terms of technology and ease of use.
The name came from the way this sewing machine model mimicked the actual lotus flower. Its sewing area opened up like the petals of the flower to reveal the good technology inside.
What also made this new model special was that it did not need a separate carrying case. The ‘petals’ served as the protective cover and the compact size made sure it was very portable. Its accessory box was built into the top of the machine to make sure the sewing machine did not use up too much space.
The take-up lever could be locked into its lowest position to prevent damage to the front flap and keep the lever still when moving from place to place. There was an easy to use dial that let you wind your bobbin, sew or lock the machine when not in use. You just had to spin the dial to get the action you wanted.
Finding the value of the older Elna sewing machines is not going to be that difficult. The key is to make sure you remove emotion and sentimental value from the machine. Those elements tend to push the price of an old sewing machine artificially high.
You are going to see different prices with the newer models worth more than the older ones. For example, at eBay, the supermatic Elna 2 is worth $249 while the Elna1 is selling for only $149.
One zig zag is going for only $80 while a 1956 Elna Junior sewing machine also hit $250. The Elna SU Super stitch is priced at $549 so as you can see the value is in the type of machine, the condition as well as what accessories are included.
What that means is that your sewing machine may be worth some money and then again it might not. You can check with antique dealers or sewing machine shops that deal in vintage units and get their appraisal of your machine.
It may take some searching but it is possible to find old Elna sewing machine manuals. They were not made so long ago that copies do not exist somewhere. One surprise source was Etsy. They seem to have some old manuals for Elna sewing machines on sale. Just click on this link to get to their selection.
Then you can try this website. it seemed to have one older manual for vintage sewing machines as did this website. After trying those two options you can go here and see that there are manuals for the Lotus and the Supermatic sewing machines as well as other Elna machines.
Keep in mind that we are only providing links to sources and you may have to do some searching on your part to get to the right manual that you need. You can also check with the Elna company and see what they have on hand.
Their support page seems to be pretty good and it never hurts to ask. Their link is above.
Finding parts for your vintage Elna sewing machines is also an easy task. As usual, eBay heads the list as that seems to be a popular place to list older parts for sewing machines not in production anymore. Here is a link to their Elna parts page.
Finally, you can check this online store out to see if they have what you need. We suggest you go to your local sewing machine repair shops first as that will save you time, trouble, and expense. They may have the part you want or they may know who does.
Shopping locally will also help out your town’s economy making it a win for everyone.
The easiest place to start is with your computer. A quick internet search turned up eBay as one of the places to go if you are searching for an old Elna sewing machine. That auction house has different models and photos. That makes it a bit easier to decide when you can see the condition of the machine. Prices vary though.
Then your internet search should turn up individual websites or sewing machine stores that have vintage Elna sewing machines for sale. It will take some time to go through them all and see if what they offer is what you want and not too far away.
Then you can try Craigslist, local classified ads, and other similar places to see if anyone is needing to sell their old sewing equipment. Finally, check out antique stores, junk shops, thrift stores, and even sewing repair shops.
There should be at least one place that sells old Elna sewing machines.
The problem with reviews is that the writer’s opinion is often influenced by their experience with a product. For example, we came across one glowing review of an old Elna sewing machine. The next option down held a very bad review because their model certainly did not perform as expected.
So take any review with a grain of salt. One review praised the Elna Supermatic 2 giving it high marks for durability and ability to sew through any fabric. Another review looked at the first sewing machine model made by that company.
They said it was an answer to Singer’s Featherweight. They liked the Elna for what it was, simple to use sewing machine with limited features. The reviewer also called it the Grasshopper because of the machine’s solid green color.
What tip the scale in favor of the Elna over the Singer was that the carrying case converted into a sewing table. Elna had some very good designs and strove to create a top-quality machine.
If we had a choice, we would probably take the vintage and antique machines over the modern versions. The older the machine the more character they had and the better durability. Elna’s old machines are no exception to that rule.
It is possible that the newer Elna sewing machines are very good and technologically up to date but there is just something about those older machines that make them stand out. They were also easier to use and you could depend on them.
In our opinion, Elna has made great machines and still does through its parent company Janome. The older ones were just better.
Elna sewing machines are not going to be more than 80 years old. Finding their age is not going to be that hard. The company still exists in some form and the records should not have been destroyed yet.
The best way to date your old Elna is to contact the company and see what they can tell you. It is always better to go to the horse’s mouth instead of third parties to get information.