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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NO WEB PUBLISH (EDITORS: This story may not be used on websites)Tulsa World, December 8th
So did IBM, Singer sewing machines and Coca-Cola. During the 1950s, '60s and '70s, American corporations mounted elaborate musical theater entertainments for their sales conventions — shows with surprisingly catchy songs about the products and ...Read more
Let's take a walk down the west side of S3N in the 1930sAndalusia Star-News, December 6th
Some years later other stores such as Singer Sewing Center, and Creech's Jewelry operated in some of these buildings. This strip of stores was known as the Payne Block, and the Payne family, which was related to the Simmons family, had a house in back ...Read more
YP Spotlight: Kristin Roach strikes artful balance as exhibits manager, artist ...DesMoinesRegister.com, December 6th
When family members went through her belongings, Roach found herself drawn to her grandmother's Singer sewing machines. She claimed them, in memoriam, and took them with her to college in DeKalb, Ill. In college, Roach found out that art school — the ...Read more
Queer Eye for the Fashionable GuyCU Columbia Spectator, December 4th
Writer Kevin Sessums discussed hooking his mother's brassiere in a surprisingly heartbreaking talk entitled “The World Was Safer Sitting Under My Grandmother's Singer Sewing Machine,” and co-curator of the exhibit Fred Dennis's knees poked memorably ...Read more
Katy Perry's Japanese show was not offensiveBrooklyn Daily, December 4th
Many years ago in the dark 1950s, when sexuality was the big bad guy, comedian George Carlin commented that if you looked hard enough, you could find sex in a Singer sewing pattern. Well the wheels have turned and now the proper police find offensive ...Read more
Factories ride rising tide of 'Made in America'Taunton Daily Gazette, November 30th
After you climb three flights of steep mill stairs, you enter the foyer of New England Shirt. Fir boards, one inch thick, panel the walls, glowing gold from mature varnish. On the window sill is a Singer sewing machine made of heavy black iron, a...Read more
Made in Jersey: Singer sewing machines had the market sewn upThe Star-Ledger - NJ.com, November 18th
In 1873, the Singer Sewing Machine Manufacturing Co. purchased 32 acres of land in Elizabeth and established its first factory in the United States (the company also had a plant in Kilbowie, Clydebank, Scotland). The company isn't credited with...Read more
Community project teaches life skills to keiki in Boys and Girls ClubLahaina News, November 13th
"Honorary Rotarians Ron and Barbara Spalding coordinated the arrangement with Bob Miller, the owner of the Singer Sewing Center in Kahului, for the Baby Lock Grace machines...," said Karady last week in the midst of the unveiling ceremony at the facility...Read more