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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SPEAK EASY: The only time I'll recommend a video over a bookMyWebTimes.com, April 20th
It doesn't matter how many diagrams try to show me how to thread my Singer sewing machine. When it comes to mastering a skill, I need visual teaching. Cue the triumphant trumpets — it's YouTube to the rescue. Online video learning capabilities are an ...Read more
Martensville girl helps doggone tired pooches get good night's restNews Talk 650 CKOM, April 19th
Initially using her grandmother's 1940 Singer sewing machine, Bowkowy has made dozens of colourful square, plush beds for man's best friend. Enlisting the help of her parents, grandmother and uncle, the family has converted their garage into a...Read more
The World's Fairgrounds, Then and NowNew York Times (blog), April 18th
An open-air stadium seating 18,000, it was built in 1964 by the Singer Sewing Company. In 1973, it was renamed the Louis Armstrong Memorial Stadium. (Armstrong, in fact, lived only blocks away until his death in 1971.) It was the centerpiece of the U.S...Read more
Seattle brick box on Fifth Avenue has a colorful pastThe Seattle Times, April 18th
The surviving 1949 remodel with glass bricks was for a new business, Singer Sewing Machine. After the sewing, Uptown Music sold guitars and rented school band instruments in the 1970s. In 1980 the glass-adorned box was rented for the Reagan-Bush ...Read more
A Tale or Two - Sewing Machine Manual from 1949Buffalo Reflex, April 16th
I'm on Facebook. It is a great way to keep up with friends, share photos and to receive interesting little tidbits and jokes. One post I will share today was titled, “Advice From A Singer Sewing Manual — From 1949.” It advised those who were using...Read more
Moore Co. man keeps history of sewing aliveTullahoma News and Guardian, April 12th
When the couple went to an annual Pigeon Forge quilt show in 2005, Delores found and bought a lightweight 1961 Singer sewing machine. “They were having a class on maintaining and caring for it,” Fulks said. “She talked me into taking it and as a...Read more
Rev; Mammon; The Great British Sewing Bee – reviewThe Guardian, March 29th
Photograph: Charlotte Medlicott/BBC/Love Productions/Charlotte Medlicott. No, the intrigue in this show came from the old footage, the simple fascination of learning things. Post-second world war the Singer sewing machine arrived, transforming clothes...Read more
Tuesday TV guide: The Great British Sewing Bee takes Claudia Winkleman's ...Mirror.co.uk, March 25th
The real answer – “a little top” – is slightly less jaw-dropping. It's the quarter finals and Sewing Bee is going vintage, and while the appearance of some 1930s Singer sewing machines in the sewing room brings back happy memories for some contestants, ...Read more