Just after my first Pfaff (260PE) I could see how fantastic these late 1950s models are. When reading the manual for it the free arm version was mentioned, and I decided to keep an eye out for one. Another 260 late last year, which I sold a few months ago and I then knew how rare the free arm versions were. Apparently the higher the number the better the machine, option-wide.
There was also a logic to Pfaff's model numbers, unlike Singers. Under 100 is a straight stitch, 100 to 200 is the same as the other but add zig-zag. 200-300 add pattern cams, and 300-400 machines are free arms. The highest number I've seen is 362 but I can't imagine it being any better than a 360 (maybe an extra pattern?).
I saw one for sale a week or so ago and here it is:
Feature #2: The stitch length indicator goes from 4 to 0, but at 1 it goes down very slowly. This isn't a gimmick, it will reliably feed fabric in the tiniest increment. Very useful indeed when using the embroidery patterns, which work superbly.
Feature #3: Look at the spool in the photo. Most thread spools were wound so they had to come off by spinning but some were stack wound, as for industrial machines and have to come off from one end or they twist. Pfaff catered for this by including a transverse spool holder. This clips easily to one of the vertical spool pins and allows you to use stack wound thread.
There are other nice things like needle threader (yes it still works) but they had to compromise a little with this design. The lack of space in the bed meant they had to use a smaller motor. It only has 2/3 of the power of the 260. Considering the 260 was incredibly fast, I have to say the 360s motor is still more than adequate.
Today I noticed two little problems, one caused by me. The first wasn't: The zig-zag set to maximum was skewed to one side. Solution was simple: There is a screw that is accessed at the rear of the left side of the machine which is a simple adjuster. Thanks again Pfaff! The second was because I insisted on cleaning and oiling when I got it. It really needed nothing at all. The previous owner had taken extraordinarily good care of it and it's really like a showroom one. When I put the bed back together, I just screwed the three screws down. Well, it seems there's a bit of play in the screws and I should have aligned them. The needle plate was right against the needle and deflecting it just a little. When I set it to zig-zag, it kept catching the hook during its left swing and I broke two needles before realising what was wrong. At least they're ordinary domestic needles and I learned something about my new favourite.
Won't mention how much it was, but it wasn't much. Luckily the lady was just happy it went to a good home.