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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Hessel Street: Images from a vanished past
Jewish Chronicle, September 3rd

A dress factory with dozens of women at Singer sewing machines. There was a time in Hessel Street when you could choose your live chicken from a stall, get it kosher slaughtered on the spot and collect it when you've finished your shopping. This may or ...Read more

Police reports
The Stokes News, September 3rd

Breaking and entering, larceny and damage to property was reported at NC Highway 8 South, Walnut Cove when a $1300 50 inch flat screen TV, $500 Singer sewing machine was stolen and $100 damage to door. Breaking and entering and larceny was ...Read more

New York's greatest design icons: from Macy's balloons to the Yankees logo
The Guardian, September 3rd

It was developed by Edward Severin Clark, president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, and designed by Henry J Hardenbergh, architect of the Plaza Hotel, in German chateau style. Facade ornaments play up the pioneering theme with carved ...Read more

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart review – a marvellous debut mystery
The Guardian, September 1st

(Let's just say you will never think of a Singer sewing machine in quite the same way again.) It serves a double purpose: to avoid a cheap late reveal that spoils the story, and to enrich the suspense as the sisters battle increasing threats from the...Read more

Two doctors who want to make Scranton a little bit happier open Adezzo
Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, August 31st

The decor includes a wall covered in picture frames (paying homage to their neighbor and local business Marquis Art and Frame), refurbished Singer sewing machine tables and a patio with a garden. Even the bathroom catches people's attention. First-time ...Read more

Sounds from past echoes sad fate
SaukValley.com, August 28th

The Singer Tract was owned by the Singer Sewing Machine Co. of Chicago. It was a good steward of this parcel. However, it was sold to the Chicago Mill and Lumber Co. in 1937. Governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee, President ...Read more

The Invention That Spawned a Fashion Revolution
TIME, August 12th

The Singer sewing machine was so revolutionary that even Mahatma Gandhi, who eschewed all other machines, made an exception for it. After learning to sew on a Singer in a British jail, Gandhi called it “one of the few useful things ever invented.”...Read more

How Singer Won the Sewing Machine War
Smithsonian, July 14th

The Singer sewing machine revolutionized the way the world created and repaired its fabric, and transformed not only the textile industry, but also global business itself. But a closer look at the Singer patent model, which is on display as part of the...Read more