Vintage Pfaff History: When Was My Pfaff Sewing Machine Made?

Not all companies originate from other businesses looking for tax breaks or diversification. Some start as family-owned businesses and use good business sense to expand and grow. Most sewing machine companies started in this fashion.

Knowing when your Pfaff sewing machine was made can be a difficult task. You need to know your serial number before you can find the age of your sewing machine. The only problem is not all companies kept a detailed and official list of their serial numbers or when they were issued

To learn more about when your Pfaff sewing machine was made and a little of the company’s history, just continue to read our article. Get up to speed and see if your Pfaff machine is valuable and worth some money.

Pfaff Sewing Machine History


The industrial revolution inspired many craftsmen to open their own business and seek their fortune through a variety of industries. In Kaiserslautern, Germany one man saw his chance in 1862 at the start of the industrial revolution.

Georg Michael Pfaff was a musical instrument maker and he saw his big opportunity to make it big by making and selling sewing machines. His first sewing machine can still be seen at the Munich Museum of Science and Technology.

He only made 1 that year but as time went on he was able to produce more as in 1863 he made 6 and in 1864 he was able to up production to 46. In 1876 after discovering that the German sewing machine industry got their equipment from America he sent his son to study manufacturing plants, tool factories and ordered tools, drilling machines, and universal lathes.

It wasn’t long before Mr. Pfaff modernized his production and factory and began producing thousands of machines. It was in 1910 that the company made its 1,000,000 sewing machine.

Unfortunately, Mr. Pfaff did not live to see that milestone. He died in 1893 and his second son, also named Georg took over the company helping it to expand and be one of the finer sewing machine makers in the world.

Who Owns Pfaff Sewing Machine Company?

In the beginning, Pfaff was strictly a German manufacturing company and it remained a German company. Somewhere between 1862 and 2006 the Swedish firm VSM Group purchased Pfaff and put it under its corporate wing.

This corporation already owned Husqvarna Viking which is another company that has a very interesting history. In 1872, this company switched from making military weapons to making sewing machines

2006 saw Kohlberg & Company purchase the VSM company which by this time had added Pfaff to their stable enterprises. Since this new company already owned Singer, they thought they could corner the market on sewing machines by owning VSM.

Then in 2013, it seems that a German holding company SGSB Group Co. Ltd., ShangGong (Europe) Holding Corp bought the shares of PFAFF Industriesysteme und Maschinen AG. That seems to be the last owner of record for Pfaff sewing machines.

Who Makes Pfaff Sewing Machines?


This is a very good question. This company started as a German sewing machine company and they made a lot of top sewing machines over the years. The founder’s son took over in 1993 and in 1999 was sold to Husqvarna Viking.

This sale and other negative business issues were the results of taking Pfaff public and selling shares around 1960. Husqvarna Viking then sold Pfaff in 2006 to Kohlberg & company.

During the next 7 years, this company is rumored to have subcontracted the production of Pfaff machines to unnamed Chinese and Vietnamese manufacturers. It is said that Kohlberg & Company kept Singer as their priority building new manufacturing plants to produce that brand of sewing machines.

But they did not do the same for Pfaff or other brands under their corporate umbrella. Then in 2013 SGSB Group Co. Ltd., ShangGong (Europe) Holding Corp and took over producing the sewing machines.

Unfortunately, the Pfaff website does not mention where their machines are being made at this time.

When Was My Pfaff Sewing Machine Made?

There is a fairly good record of serial numbers posted to the internet that records most of the serial numbers used by Pfaff. Unfortunately, the list only goes up to 1975. There is a second list that covers the same ground but only goes to 1978.

You can find the first list at this link and the second at the following location. For years following 1978, you may have to contact Pfaff directly and ask them when your sewing machine was made. Make sure you have your serial number handy as that is the best way to find out when your machine was manufactured.

The Pfaff English website is at this link. They do have a FAQ page but it does not cover the serial number issue or provide dates for certain sewing machines.

Dating a Pfaff Sewing Machine


More recent Pfaff sewing machines can easily be dated. Just look at your owner’s manual and see if it lists both the date it was made and the serial number. If you only get the former information then it is best to contact Pfaff directly and ask them when your sewing machine was made.

For more vintage models, you should be able to find the serial number listed on the machine itself. Check the back, the sides or the bottom of the machines to find the bade and see if the number is listed on it.

Once you get that number check the 2 lists linked to above to see what year your Pfaff was produced. If you have the right information it is not that hard to find a date for your sewing machine.

It may take a little legwork to get the right information but Pfaff should have it in their databases.

Pfaff Sewing Machines By Year

Thanks to Georg Michael Pfaff’s second son, the Pfaff company was able to produce a variety of sewing machine models that help the home seamstress get her sewing work completed. In the beginning, though, Georg Michael Pfaff made industrial sewing machines.

Production was limited in the early years as those machines were built by hand. It wasn’t until the late 1870s that the Pfaff company started to modernize after extensive research by Mr. Pfaff’s second son. He went to America to study the different techniques and machines for production and came back to Germany ready to expand operations.

The modernization of the plant laid the groundwork for upgrading the original sewing machines and allowed those upgrades to continue as technology allowed. Pfaff has always looked to stay competitive and continued to do research and development to make sure it did not lose its market share.

Does Pfaff Still Make Sewing Machines?


Yes, you can say that the company still makes sewing machines. They have a very informative English website we linked to above. Their name still appears on the company’s modern sewing machines and they keep up with technological advancements.

Just because the company is no longer owned by a member of the Pfaff family, does not mean that Pfaff does not exist or that it stopped making those machines. There is an opportunity to become a Pfaff dealer if you qualify.

Their website has a button you can push to get all the details in establishing a Pfaff location in your geographical region. The opportunity for investment seems solid as Pfaff remains a top solid company to partner with.

Send them a notice to shower your interest and see what they have to say in response.

Are Pfaff Sewing Machines Still Made in Germany?

This is very hard to say. The company has changed hands quite frequently since 1999 and it is not easy to determine where all their manufacturing plants are or if the original ones are still in operation.

In 1964 Pfaff worked out a deal with Janome to help the former company produce lower-priced sewing machines. In 1978 the company built a factory in Brazil and in 2002 saw a deal made with a Chinese manufacturing plant.

The company has had plants in Germany since 2009 and it is said that only the higher-end sewing machines are produced at those locations. But with the constant changeover in ownership, it is hard to keep track of which plants are where and what sewing machines are made in those plants.

The Pfaff website does not list all of its locations or plants. But you can register your machine and get support through this web page.

Are Pfaff Sewing Machines Made in China?


It seems that there is a possibility of the lower end Pfaff sewing machines are made in China or Vietnam. It is hard to say because the company has had plants in different parts of the world.

It is not known if the company closed the Brazil plant or not. After mentioning it was opened, no other word has come about its fate or operation status. The same goes for the plants in China.

While there is an unofficial word that many of the Pfaff models are made in that country, there is no official word. Also, there is no official word saying those machines are exported to other countries.

Pfaff seems to be keeping this information close to the vest and the unofficial word comes from this older blog. A lot has changed since that blog article was written. Pfaff seems to be keeping their secrets quite well.

Where are Pfaff Sewing Machines Made Today?

Most likely the upper-end Pfaff sewing machines are made in Germany. That seems to be the case once the SGSB, Shanggong (Europe) Holding Corp took over ownership by buying 100% of the Pfaff shares.

It has been said that when Kohlberg & Company created SVP Worldwide, they subcontracted Pfaff sewing machine construction to both Viet Nam and China. There is nothing official about the Viet Nam portion but for China, it is a different story.

To broaden their Chinese market the company did create its own company in Taicang and bought all the shares for Shanghai PFAFF-Zoje Machinery Industry Ltd. Whether or not the company still makes their sewing machines in those two factories is anyone’s guess.

Since that time new owners took over several times and made appropriate changes to their manufacturing. 2007 saw one new owner having a groundbreaking ceremony for a new factory in Kaiserslautern Nord.

2009 saw new facilities opened in Industriegebiet Nord but it remains to be seen which of the Pfaff sewing machine models are made in either of those plants.

Is Pfaff Sewing Machine Good?


This would depend on a lot of factors. The first factor would be if you got a lemon or not. It happens as every once in awhile an inferior machine slips through quality control and makes its way to the public market. If you bought one such machine, then your response to this question would not be very positive.

One can question the quality of the lower end Pfaff sewing machines as their construction is based usually in the third world or emerging markets. The quality of those machines would depend on the standards set by Pfaff.

If you get one of the higher-end sewing machines that were possibly made in Germany, then you are most likely buying a very good product. German engineering has always had a fine reputation for top quality and production standards.

Your experience with a Pfaff sewing machine will determine if your model is a good one or not. Pfaff has kept up with the technological changes thus there sewing machines are modern, up to date, and made from of the finest parts possible when producing higher-end sewing machines.

How Much is a Pfaff Sewing Machine Worth?

If you are buying new then you are Pfaff sewing machine is only worth what the price tag says. If you get a discount on your purchase your Pfaff should be worth the higher price and not the discounted one.

Some of the newer computerized models run around $1,000 or more but do not forget about depreciation. The value of your expensive machine drops every year and it takes a complicated equation to find out the real value.

Other Pfaff sewing machines cost around the $600 mark give or take a couple of hundred dollars and they will not be worth a lot of money in about 5 years. The same can be said about the very low-end models that cost between $100 to $300 new.

The value of the Pfaff sewing machine also depends on how many were made of each model. The more made the lower the value. You may attach some sentimental value to your Pfaff machine but no one else does. That factor only works for you when you try to place a price on the machine you are trying to sell.

Vintage Pfaff Sewing Machine Prices


Unfortunately, you will not get rich off of owning a Pfaff sewing machine if it is made before 1970. This assessment is based on the prices seen at eBay and your vintage or antique dealers may hold another value to vintage Pfaff sewing machines.

The majority of Pfaff vintage machines we looked at on eBay were listed for under $300. This is still a very good price for something that is over 60 years old but the best it will do for you is to allow you and your family to enjoy a nice meal out at a mid-level restaurant

A 1940s retro German-made machine only sold or is selling for $140. But we did find one sewing machine that defied the odds. It was a Class 15 that had been fully restored and was selling for almost $800.

Check with antique stores or vintage sewing machine shops and ask them what an old Pfaff sewing machine is worth. They have the books that define the value of old sewing machines and they may be able to give you a better idea of what your’s worth instead of relying on eBay

Some Final Words

When Karl Pfaff died unexpectedly in 1951 the Pfaff company’s fortunes were no longer tied to family members who had a personal stake in the success of the company. He did not live long enough to see the 5,000,000th sewing machine made by his grandfather’s company.

From there the company was at the mercy of the shareholders and who controlled those shares. The company went through many ownership changes in the next 60 years which while still keeping the Pfaff name relevant did not do the same for the quality of the sewing machine except for the high-end models.

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