A couple of weeks ago, I was cruising Ebay and saw a listing for Necchi accessories. Always on the lookout for new Necchi stuff, I clicked on it and saw the fuzzy photo above. Now, there are Necchis that use cams to form decorative stitches, but I could swear those fuzzy plastic discs in that Necchi box were Elna cams. Knowing that Elna cams sell for around $5 apiece on eBay, and seeing at least four and possibly six in that photo, I took a chance and plunked down the $9.99 plus shipping. When I received the package, it contained not four, or even six, but eleven Elna cams, including the monster below:
Elnas are not popular in my neck of the woods, I have only seen two or three in my entire 20-year-plus of collecting sewing machines, so I had no idea what this cam was for. I searched eBay active and completed listings and cannot find a similar cam, so I assume either they are so hard to come by that they aren't traded very often, or there are so many out there that they are worthless. Needlebar identified it as the #200 Buttonhole Disc, and another forum told me, "The buttonhole cam allows the making of buttonholes without rotating the work piece. The cam is a specialized double cam that provides a zig-zag stitch whose width is controlled by the stitch width lever but where the forward and reverse speeds are preset to provide a nice, tight stitch AND are selected by the position of the stitch width lever. The cam's lever has a notch at its end which is fitted behind the stitch width knob. " Now that I know that, I can see the similarity to the Necchi Supernova buttonhole cam, which performs virtually the same functions. Amazing how much engineering went into sewing machines of a half century ago!