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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Recent News: Singer Sewing Machines

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Betty Heath: Why your mother has gray hair
Longmont Times-Call, March 26th

Mom worked at Singer Sewing Machine Store as sewing teacher. When a man bought a new sewing machine for his wife, Mom was the one who taught her how to use it. I remember telling Mom that I hoped no one ever bought me a sewing machine. I hated ...Read more

Police briefs
Elkin Jonesville Tribune, March 26th

The victim told officers she was missing a Singer sewing machine that was kept on her dinner table, along with clothing that was hanging outside of her front door. The victim also stated that someone had broken her bedroom window. The police report ...Read more

Singer Tavern: more drinks less sewing
The Handbook, March 23rd

It may look like an east end boozer on the outside but the interior was originally conceived to house the HQ of the famous Singer Sewing Machine Company. The machines are long gone but there's still some cool old school signage adorning the bare brick ...Read more

Princess Awesome makes alternative dresses for girls
Houston Chronicle, March 22nd

To make their first run of dresses, which they sold at a church bazaar, the duo fired up St. Clair's old Singer sewing machine, which she bought at a Goodwill store when she was nine. "We sold 75 percent within a few weeks, and basically had sold out...Read more

Sewing hobby opened door to antique machine collection
Chatham This Week, March 20th

At one sale, Van Meppelen-Scheppink noticed an old, black leather bag of the type that was once carried by doctors when they made house calls. Intrigued, she opened the bag and found an old Singer sewing machine inside. She was told by the person ...Read more

Historic Nolensville School still serves community
The Tennessean, March 19th

Old tools, such as a 200-year-old loom and a large antique Singer sewing machine, are displayed in the "Grady Bob's workshop" exhibit. Another room showcases the Nolensville Sports Hall of Fame and artifacts from the 4-H club. "It's great we restored...Read more

Pat Sturtevant's life imparted lessons by example
Press & Sun-Bulletin, March 12th

Pat's simple Singer sewing machine cranked out clothes for all occasions: wedding dresses, corduroy blazers for the first day of school, patches on rough-and-tumble Scott's jeans. Third lesson: Work hard, play hard. “Before I could go play with my...Read more

The Way it Was: Recalling Mom's old sewing machine
The-News-Leader, March 10th

Now they are called "fabric centers" and the machines sold there are computer controlled and electrically driven. I wonder how many fathers sew at home. Do they make fancy dresses for their little daughters? Mom's old Singer sewing machine, which must...Read more