This is the Viking 788P sewing machine. Recently my husband was passing through Value Village when he spotted this machine in the electronics section. He texted me immediately and told me it was a retro Viking sewing machine for $19.99. The bobbin case, cord and foot pedal were all there. It operated well – and did I want it?
Of course, I had to try it out. Both of us figured it was an older Husqvarna machine. But no! These two Viking brands are totally unrelated. After doing some research online, I found out that Viking was the store brand of the Canadian department store chain, Eaton’s, which went bankrupt back in 1999. I remember shopping there often as a kid, especially at Christmas time.
Thankfully members of a Husqvarna sewing machine group on Facebook directed me to the correct brand, jump starting my research. There is no mention of Eaton’s on the machine at all. The front of the machine has the “Viking” logo, and the metal identification plate just says I.F.F.S. Model # 788P.
Eaton’s did not actually manufacture the items in their Viking line of products, which ranged from major appliances, to audio equipment, to sewing machines. I found some discussion posts online that stated that Viking sewing machines were often re-badged Riccar, New Home, or Janome brand Japanese machines. I searched and searched but I couldn’t find out which machine the 788P was based on.
This particular Viking model really reminds of one of the machines I previously owned, the White 642. I read on The Canadian Encyclopedia that the White company manufactured most of the Viking appliance lines for Eaton’s. After reading that, I’m really thinking that the 788P model was manufactured by White, but of course, I couldn’t find an exact match for the model from this brand either. It’s so mysterious! I could be totally wrong. It’s just a hunch.
“White, almost wholly owned by Electrolux of Sweden, competed with the White-Westinghouse, Kelvinator and Frigidaire names and manufactured much of the Viking line for Eaton’s” – source
This machine is most likely from the 1960s or 1970s. If you have any ideas of what brand and model of sewing machine this re-badged Viking 788P could be, please please please let me know in the comments. Thank you very much!
Viking 788P Video Demonstration – Threading Guide
Now, let’s dive into the demonstration. I couldn’t find a manual for this machine, so I’m just showing you what worked for me. First, I’ll show you how to thread the machine, then I’ll show you how to wind the bobbin. I want to apologize for how dirty this machine is in this video. I was apparently more interested in learning about the history of this machine than cleaning it. This machine definitely needs some love.
Viking 788P Final Thoughts
The style is very cool, with it’s blue metal detailing and the translucent blue light panel.
I love that this machine has twin needle support and adjustable feed dogs, but one thing I’m not a fan is that when using the machine in straight-stitch mode, which is just zig zag with a stitch width of zero, the needle position is not in the centre of the foot. This means that special feet like the quarter inch seam foot would not be an accurate distance from the needle. For me, that’s a deal breaker since quilting is my primary focus.
Let me know in the comments if you have used the Viking Model 788P sewing machine or a similar one!
2 thoughts on “Eaton’s Viking 788P Vintage Sewing Machine”
I acquired a Viking #1316 S#1184 . I got its original manual off eBay from a sewing co in Canada. It’s funny that there’s a Kenmore #1316 that is similar. My Viking was made in Canada probably by White which may have made the Kenmore. ??? The most interesting is that it threads on the left from rear.
Hi do you know anything about the Viking sewing machine model 693. I’d appreciate any help. It seems like a can’t find a manual or instructions for it. Thank you