It's a common misconception that Singer only gave what is commonly referred to as a blackside finish when nickel was rationed to fuel the war effort.
Singer produced many machines without nickel (or later chromium) plating, using japanning instead, because it was cheaper. Examples include the low cost, budget TS machine the 48K2, and other models such as the 28K which were routinely produced with the option of black parts.
Many early machines of all makes had parts such as the balance wheel japanned and in some countries plating was subject to a tax so japanning avoided it.
There were many different styles of finish offered for parts and they were categorized by Singer as follows (there are others):
- A. Hardened, Polished, Nickel Plated and Buffed
- B. Polished, Nickel Plated and Buffed
- C. Hardened only
- D. Polished only
- E. Soft, not Polished
- F. Hardened and Polished
- H. Blued
- J. Nickel Plated only
- K. Hardened and Nickel Plated
- L. Brass Plated
- M. Oxidized
- N. Japanned, Dull
- P. Japanned, Bright
- R. Merlized
- T. Copper Plated
- T.A. Hardened, Polished, Copper and Nickel Plated and Buffed
- T.B. Copper and Nickel Plated and Polished
- T.J. Copper and Nickel Plated only
- T.K. Hardened, Copper and Nickel Plated
- T.L. Copper and Brass Plated
- T.M. Copper Plated and Oxidised
- U. Zinc Plated
- V. Silver Plated
- W. Polished and Nickel Plated
- Y. Black Nickel Plated only
- Z. Chromium Plated
- Z.B. Polished, Nickel Plated, Buffed and Chromium Plated
- Z.J. Nickel and Chromium Plated.