It goes by many nicknames. There is ‘touch and throw’, ‘touchy and sew’ as well as ‘touch and swear’ and these nicknames are all well earned over the 50+ years this sewing machine has been in active service. What you call it will be up to you.
The most frequently reported problem that just about every owner has is trouble with the bobbin. For some reason, Singer could not make the bobbin work well in this model of sewing machine. As for its value, on its own it is worth about $100.
To learn more about this vintage sewing machine, just continue to read our article. It gives you the information you want to know about before you decide to buy one that is on sale. Old machines can be a treasure to own.
There is one more name that the Singer 600 went by before it became famous as the Touch and Sew. That name was auto reel and it was the original name for the company’s 600 Slant-o-Matic sewing machine. The only difference between this version and the touch and sew series are a few rivets and a name plate.
The 600E was supposed to be the last all metal part machine Singer made in this series and it came with a wind in place bobbin. that was one of the improvements Singer made over the top-mounted rocketeer bobbin winder on previous models.
If you do not mind fewer stitch settings than the 401 or 500 models then you might like this sewing machine. It does have the important stitch patterns you use the most. For a vintage machine, it may be worth the few dollars you will have to pay for it as it can still sew like it was new.
Older machines still work well when they were built with all metal parts. Just be careful of the ones that have plastic bobbins as those can break very easily. Basically, this is still a good machine to use when you have nothing else to turn to
While some sewers give it colorful nicknames, like the ones mentioned above, there are others who treasure this machine as it sewed flawlessly and did not give them any trouble throughout the years they owned one.
If you know or have used an Auto Reel made by Singer, then you will have a very good idea of how this model will perform. It is a solid sewing machine that sometimes can have a few bugs in some of the units. But then lemons happen in just about every product line that has ever been made.
There have been many renditions of this model of sewing machine. The 600 was made between 1962 to 64 and then the 600E version came out in 1963 and lasted until 1965. A 600A and a 600W1 were made but there is no real information on those versions.
Also, during those same years, the 603 & 603E were produced and they seem to be an upgraded version of the Auto Reel model just like the 600 and 600E were. The same holds true for the 604 and 604E.
There were other 600 series models made but they were not numbered in order. For example, the 611G was made between 1965 to 67 while the 606 and 609 sewing machines were made after that in 69 to 72.
The 620 was called the Golden Touch and Sew and it was produced between 1969 and 1972. Most of the 600 Touch and Sew models were made in the 60s with a few lasting to 1970 or 1972.
The 700 series sewing machine had at least one Touch and Sew sewing machine and this series was produced mainly in the 70s. There was a 900 Touch and Sew model made in the mid-70s but for some reason, Singer changed the name and called them Flip & Sew after the 900 was created.
These are basically the same machine. The 600 was the original Auto Reel with a name change only. It came with a slant needle, horizontal rotary hook, top hat cams, built-in stitches, and the zig-zag stitch.
The only difference between these two models was that this option had a single thread chain stitch feature, 2 needle stitching, and a push-button bobbin. other than that the two machines had all metal parts and could sew like any other sewing machine made by Singer.
The steel gears made sure the 600E performed to its fullest potential and did not break down the moment there was a sign of a problem. The bobbin winder button was placed on the front right corner of the new model but the company put it inside the bobbin compartment.
Both machines are very good when they are well maintained and kept in top running condition. A good repairman should be able to fix what is wrong with them if you come across one in need of minor repairs. If not, they always make a good parts machine.
Older machines tend to lose their value. The reason for that loss is not because they do not work well, there were just too many made at the time for them to be of any value. There are special circumstances that will make the 600 or 600E more valuable than it should be.
Normal, 600E sewing machines are not that valuable. There are a lot of them on the market and in existence still which means you can find one if you look hard enough. Generally, you are looking at $100 without the cabinet for your Touch and Sew 600E and the possibility of $200 if it comes in a cabinet.
The condition of both will set the price. But there is an exception to that assessment. Most 600Es were sold through fairs, expositions, and other important events. They were given a specific badge, say the 1962 Seattle’s World fair as one example, and that badge makes all the difference.
When you see a 600E with a non-generic Singer badge and one mentioning a specific fair, exposition and so on, then you can expect to have your machine worth about $700 or $800 depending on the person doing the assessing.
As with any other type of sewing machine, the value of your 600E will depend on how much a buyer is willing to pay for it. if you are not motivated nor need to sell it then you have time to hold out for the higher price.
Also, you may make more if you simply strip the sewing machine of all good and usable parts and sell it that way. Selling bits and pieces always earn you more than trying to sell a complete unit.
There are numerous places where you can download a PDF version of the owner’s manual. The trick is finding one that is actually complete and cheap enough to do that. One location is found at this link. it is one of the go-to manual websites that usually comes through for us.
Then you can always check directly with Singer. Their manual web page is at this link and if they do not have any. Hopefully, they can recommend someone who does. Then there is the company found at this link. Its manuals are download only so you save on shipping costs.
They also do repairs so you may be able to find spare parts when you need them through that company. Another location will be found at this link. It looks like they only have 1.
If by chance you are not lucky enough to find the style and price you want, a quick internet search will produce more options. Far too numerous to place them all in this little section.
You can also try eBay and see if anyone has listed one for sale on its website but that won’t be a PDF version but a hardcover original. The same will go for sewing machine repair shops, antique stores, flea markets, and so on.
No machine is perfect and even the 600E comes with its share of problems. You may find that as the upgraded models were given plastic parts, they tended to have more problems than those with all metal parts.
Here are some of the problems that come with the 600E and its subsequent updated models:
Unusual sounds - it happens to the best of machines and for the 600E that sound tells you that lint or a piece of thread got stuck somewhere.
Loose bobbin case - you may have taken it out when cleaning or it just worked itself loose. It just needs tightening to solve but be careful, it could also be a loose bottom plate that needs to be re-tightened as well.
Looping bobbin thread - the source for this issue is the thread tension is set at the wrong level. Just make an adjustment to fix it.
Bobbin thread not coming up - check the bobbin winding spindle to make sure it was installed correctly, then check to see if the bobbin was wound properly. Check your presser foot as well to make sure it is in the right position
Bobbin winder problem - if you see the needle going up and down continuously then the needle winder did not disengage properly. The fix for this issue is to remove any old oil in your machine and re-oil it.
Other issues relate to having the correct bobbin in place when you start sewing. Sewing machines can be picky and if you have the wrong bobbin in your 600E then you are going to have problems.
Even if you know you have the correct bobbin in place, double-check to make sure. Simple mistakes happen even to the best sewers.
The first step in cleaning your 600E is to clean out any lint, pieces of thread, or fabric stuck in all the easy to see or exposed places. Then using a soft cloth wipe the tension disks, take up lever, thread guides, machine arm, presser bar, and needle bar.
The 600E was supposed to come with a lint brush and if you have it or have a similar one, use it to clean out the feed dog and rotary hook. General cleanings do not require you to take the machine apart all the time.
Once you are done, the owner’s manual says to use 1 drop of Singer oil and only 1 drop. After placing that drop in your machine at the right locations, get a scrap piece of fabric and sew a straight line to remove any excess oil.
Your experience with this machine may be good or bad. it will depend on how well it was taken care of or if you got one that was too touchy to work with. The 600E is still sewing after 50 years so you know it can be a good machine to own and use.