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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'You're not given any love': the stories of Australia's stolen generations ...
The Guardian, February 11th

“They'd strip us and flog us with a sewing machine belt. Them old Singer sewing machines. The priest had one of them and used to flog us naked.” He did meet his mother later in life but they didn't form any meaningful relationship. She died in the late...Read more

These DC Moms Design the PERFECT Dresses for Budding Feminists
Washingtonian.com, February 11th

But when Melsky and St. Clair debuted their handmade dresses, sewn on St. Clair's 1948 Singer sewing machine, the garments were even more popular than they'd imagined. “We sold about 75 percent of our stock in six weeks,” says Melsky. “We had never ...Read more

First Selectman at Curtain Call
Woodbridge Town News (press release), February 11th

Micci-Smith began her business with her mother's 60-year-old Singer sewing machine. She's since upgraded to a fully equipped professional workroom with industrial machines. When she began, she didn't know how to run a business, but she found the right ...Read more

Camellias are these guests' favorite flower
thepaper24-7.com, February 10th

In 1957, with growing girls, our lady received a new Singer sewing machine Art bought her at the Farm Show. It was indeed time with all the girls to start sewing. When she was sewing new outfits (unless it was something special like a dance) they had...Read more

Mashek is Lovin' historical Valentines
Cresco Times Plain Dealer, February 10th

Alvin collected all sorts of postcards—Singer Sewing Machine advertising, military and holidays, including Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick's, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's and more. Some of Wayne's favorites, though, are the history ones from...Read more

Singer Sewing Machines
The Voice Observer (blog), February 4th

Michael Good Rothwell still keeps her mother's 1950 Singer Featherweight, one of the machines on which she learned to sew as a girl. Some of Victoria Rothwell's fondest childhood memories are of sitting beside her grandmother in front of a Singer...Read more

The Voice Observer (blog), February 4th

Patented-antiques.com sells patented antique sewing machines,Toy Sewing Machines, vintage Singer Featherweight 221 222 sewing machines. for determining the desirability of any early sewing machine (pre-1900) is its serial number. Singer sewing ...Read more

St Asaph club's appeal for vintage sewing machines to help villagers in Malawi
Denbighshire Free Press, January 20th

Tom Yuille, of St Asaph Rotary Club, is helping to collect Singer sewing machines for villagers in Malawi; from St Asaph, the machines are being sent on to a Tools for Self Reliance group in Edinburgh where they are refurbished and then transported to ...Read more