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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Sewing Machine Collector

Sewing Machine Collector

Geoff and Norma Dickens' reference site on vintage toy sewing machines from the late 1800s. Browse the images alpha… [read review or visit site]

Sense & Sensibility Patterns

Sense & Sensibility Patterns

An extensive collection of photos and ephemera illustrating changing fashion styles from 1795 to 1959. Includes por… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 1948 Singer Model 221 K Featherweight Scroll Front Sewing MachineSinger 1955 Featherweight 221-1 Sewing Machine W/ Case Super CleanVintage Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing Quilting Machine & Case Serviced/worksWhite Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine Light Green Box 221k Tested Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Cabinet Rare Vintage 221 222Original Singer Featherweight Model 3-110 Sewing Machine With Case1935 Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine W/ Case & Accessories Ls / NrVintage Working 1945 Singer Featherweight 221 -1 Sewing Machine W Case & TableSinger Featherweight Sewing Machine 3-120 With Case Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine W/ Case Working!Antique 1902 Singer Model 28 Hand Crank Sewing Machine With Wood Coffin CaseExcellent Condition Vintage Singer Series 221 With Carrying CaseAntique Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Bentwood Full Size Long Case 201 15-91 66A Special*1934 Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine Near Mint Quilting DreamVintage '51 Centennial Singer Featherweight 221 Quilt Sewing Machine ButtonholerNice! Singer 99-31 Portable Sewing Machine & Case - Featherweight W/extras Rare Antique Singer 20 Sewhandy Childs Toy Sewing Machine In BoxVintage Singer 301a Sewing Machine. Works! Looks Great!Singer 221 Featherweight Portable Sewing Machine W/ Case & AccessoriesSinger Featherweight Sewing Machine - Scroll Very Good Condition And FunctioningSinger 221k Featherweight Portable Sewing Machine W/ Case & AccessoriesSinger Featherweight Sewing Machine Plus AttachmentsSinger Model 20 Child’s Children’s Toy Sewing Machine Cast Iron Hand Crank Singer 1953 Featherweight 221-1 Sewing Machine W/ Case Super CleanSinger No. 20 Hand Crank Sewing Machine - Toy CleanVintage Singer Featherweight 221-1 Portable Sewing Machine Lots Of Extras WorksVintage 1963 Singer Slant-o-matic 503a Special Portable Sewing Machine W/ ExtrasLot Of 2 Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Quilting Workhorses 1939 1948 WcaseSinger 201 Vtg Household Mechanical Sewing Machine, Instructions & Accs. Works!Vintage Singer Featherweight 221 Storage/carry CaseVintage Singer Sewhandy Children's Sewing Machine Model No.20 In Original BoxVintage Metal Cheinco Singer Sewing Machine Trash Can/waste BasketSinger Sewing Machine (model 221)1953Vintage Singer Portable Sewing Machine Works W Original Case Featherweight :-)Vintage Singer Sewing Machine 221 Featherweight W/ Case Accessories WorksWhite Singer 221k Featherweight Sewing Machine Us Voltage W/ Accessories Vintage Singer Featherweight Sister 301 Sewing MachineVintage Model 128 Singer Sewing Machine 1923Vintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Table With Matching Serial NumbersSinger Featherweight For Parts Made In Dec, 1939,# Af-378190Singer Featherweight 221 Portable Sewing Machine Carry Case Only Black With TrayVintage Singer 301a Fold Up Sewing Machine W/case, Manual & Foot Control - Nice!1st Model Antique * 1910 Singer 20 Toy Sewing Machine * 4 Spoke Htf Vintage Singer 20's-40's Miniature Sewing Machine No. 20 With Singer Case!Vintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Motor Catalog 3-110Vintage Singer Sewing Machine With BoxVintage Singer Sewing Machine With BoxVintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Model #221 With Case &extras1949 Singer Featherweight 221k Scroll Design With Case And Accessories Look!!Vintage 1940 Singer 15-90 Sewing Machine W/manual Foot Pedal Works Af716454 *nr*Vintage "singer Sewing Machines" Budget Bank Adv Pc - New In Box - Zell ProductsNice Vintage Small Portable Singer Sewing Machine 221-1 FeatherweightL3598- Vintage Singer Model 15-91 Sewing MachineVintage Children's Singer Sewhandy Sewing MachineVintage Singer Black Sewing Machine PartsSinger No.20 Child's Sewing Machine In Original Box + Simanco Needles & PartsSinger Featherweight Model 221k, As Is, White Machine, Green & White BoxRare Singer 421g / 431g - Three Needle / Throat Plates Germany . . No Reserve !Vintage Singer 353 'genie' Belt Drive Portable Zig-zag Sewing MachineSinger Sewing Machine Collectible Singer Sewhandy No 20-10 Original Box