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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Memories of treats at former ice cream parlour
The Bolton News, December 17th

There was an incredible range of shops in this small street from a gent's outfitters — Livesey's — to the Singer Sewing Machine Company and Maypole Dairy Company who were tea and butter merchants. Here at The Bolton News we have a fascinating book ...Read more

From Cobbler to Modern Shoe Manufacturer
AllAfrica.com, December 16th

Habumuremyi has managed to buy modern materials, including machines such sunstar sewing machine, singer sewing machine, leather machine, cutting machine, among others worth Rwf4 million. "I have also constructed a modern house and I saved ...Read more

Guernsey County and its surrounding areas meeting and events calendar
The Daily Jeffersonian, December 16th

Call 439-6681 for information. Sewing group, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Guernsey County Senior Citizens Center, Cambridge. The center has a Singer sewing machine with electric pedal and many accessories. Bring ideas and projects. For information, call 439-6681...Read more

Opinion/Column: Keep it simple, Santa
The Daily Progress, December 14th

Every family member was outfitted with clothes created on my Singer sewing machine. Boys' coveralls that looked more like bloomers; bathrobes constructed out of towels (doubly useful); cross-stitched Kleenex box covers — who knew they could last a ...Read more

Toy st-Ohr-y: Children's fun from decades past on display at museum
SunHerald.com, December 13th

The fully operating children's Singer sewing machine is from 1952, and the train is a 1955 Texas Special engine and car, which was the beginning of the Aprils' now-massive train collection. Children's toys from the 1920s through the 1960s are displayed...Read more

Nigerian handbags: Making a mark overseas
GMA News, December 13th

Handbag designer Zainab Ashadu, 32, poses with her creations on July 17, 2014 at her Lagos workshop. The Nigerian designer is the brains behind the Zashadu brand, whose modern, colourful creations use the ancient art of tanning and leather-dyeing from ...Read more

Sew what: learning to love sewing machines
Three Sheets Northwest (blog), December 8th

I used to squirm when people asked about the stitching on my little sailboat. “Did you make that?” they'd ask, looking at the sails. Yes, there's a lot of canvas, cloth, leather, and Dacron sewing work on Row Bird, but I wasn't entirely responsible for...Read more

Glad You Asked: Cleaning oil paintings; Met-Ron cookware; Sewing machine ...
Journal Times, December 7th

I need my 1937 Singer sewing machine to be repaired. Is there anyone who can fix my “golden oldie”? It wouldn't be the first old machine to be fixed at Sew 'n Save of Racine. The store at Elmwood Plaza, 3701 Durand Ave., has two technicians who perform ...Read more