When it comes to Singer, even avid sewing-machine collectors tend not to mince their words. “They were not great innovators,” says Harry Berzack, who owns about 500 sewing machines of various makes and models. But one thing everyone agrees on was Singer’s unprecedented ability to get its machines into the hands of customers. “They were unbelievable marketers,” Berzack says.
That may be why collectors of antique and vintage sewing machines have so much fun collecting Singers—there are a lot of models to choose from. One of the earliest was the Turtleback from 1856, which was only in production for a few years but paved the way for Singer’s New Family machine, which was introduced in the 1860s before being renamed the Singer Model 12. The machine came in hand-crank and treadle versions, and featured decorative gold details on its jet-black body.
An Improved Family machine followed in 1879. This machine is considered a breakthrough because of its oscillating shuttle, but the next year an even more significant development occurred—Singer put an Edison electric motor in one of its machines, a foreshadowing of things to come.
By 1890, Singer had a staggering 80 percent of the world sewing-machine market, and by 1891, that early Edison prototype was being offered to the public. Other models from this era (there were 40 at the turn of the century) include the Singer 48 K, which was manufactured at the company’s plant in Kilbowie, Scotland (the factory would be renamed Clydebank).
The Singer 66 is also of this vintage. It was introduced in 1900 (its portable cousin, the 99, arrived around 1920) and remained in production until the 1950s, which makes this probably the most ubiquitous Singer model available. Another Singer machine that’s popular with collectors (as well as seamstresses and tailors, for that matter) is the Featherweight, which was introduced in 1933 at the Chicago World’s Fair.
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How I Landed My Dream Job in FashionCosmopolitan.com (blog), March 1st
But then I would go home and sketch or use my Singer sewing machine. I would show my parents my sketches and ask how much they thought my clothes would retail for. I put posters of Paris and New York in my room. I dreamed of living in a big city filled ...Read more
This Darned SockLincoln Journal Star, February 28th
The Singer Sewing Machine folks launched a national contest and I was well on my way to winning that puppy hands down with a stunning royal blue A-line sailcloth skirt, red/white/blue short-sleeved top and a royal blue, full-length coat lined with the...Read more
An amazing weekend in AkaroaStuff.co.nz, February 28th
Generation Y and possibly the one that came before it, won't remember but back in the 1980s the New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department launched a campaign encouraging Kiwis to explore their own backyard. The star of the advert was a bloke with ...Read more
From hard rubbish to home beautifulSydney Morning Herald, February 28th
"People are attracted to items that can be reused, even if it needs some fine-tuning," says Kavanagh, pointing out a Singer sewing machine. "The machine can be used as a base with a new marble top for a table at home." Like Tarlo, Kavanagh sees the ...Read more
It's not quite Paris at Au Comptoir – and that's a good thingThe Globe and Mail, February 27th
(None of that thin, sour, hipster coffee nonsense here.) Dining tables are repurposed from antique Singer sewing machine stands with cast iron treadles. Small round café tables are squeezed side by side against a long leather bench. You may have to...Read more
3D Printing At Home: XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer ReviewForbes, February 27th
3D printing is close to magical. You start with an empty space and you end with a physical thing that you can pick up, hold, and use. Prices on 3D Printers and supplies have been coming down over the years, and there has been many projects looking to...Read more
Just Outside Berlin, a Design and Arts Scene ThrivesNew York Times (blog), February 25th
Retaining the integrity of the original barn while adding vintage but functional decorative touches, like an original Singer sewing machine from the 1920s, Löwenstein is continuing something of a family legacy; her aunt converted an old train station...Read more
Objects and architecture that shape livesPhilly.com, February 20th
A Singer sewing machine from 1912 is among household items featured in the traveling "House & Home" exhibit on view at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown through March 15. A Singer sewing machine from 1912 is among household items featured in the ...Read more