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    

Antique 1935 Singer 221 Scroll Featherweight Sewing Machine W/ Accessories, NrOld Vintage Antique Treadle Singer Sewing Machine Model 201k See Video1960s White Feather Weight 221 K Singer Sewing Machine Co With Case Vtg Singer 221 Featherweight Portable Sewing Machine W Case 1957 & InstructionsSinger 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine + AccessoriesVintage 1954, Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine, Model 221, With Case Singer Featherweight 222k Rare S#ek329607 $.99 And No ReserveVintage 1948 Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing MachineSinger Featherweight Model 221-1 Sewing Machine With Case.1947 Ah223633 Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing Machine W/attachments ManualEstate Fresh Singer 221 Centennial Featherweight Sewing Machine Great ConditionVintage Singer Featherweight 221 221k Black Sewing Machine With Carrying CaseVintage 1935 Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing MachineSinger Featherweight Sewing Machine AntiqueVintage Singer Sewing Machine Featherweight 221-1 With Pedal, Case + ButtonholerVintage Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing Machine With Case And Acces.Singer Childs Toy Cast Sewing Machine Model 20 Vintage 1950 Singer Sewing Machine 221 Featherweight And Case W/foot Switch Singer 301 Sewing Machine1951 Vintage Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine W. Case & Extras-eg960162Singer Featherweight 221 Table Extension1961 White Feather Weight 221 K Singer Sewing Machine Co With Case Singer Sewing Machine 301a Slant 1956Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine 1954 With CaseVintage Singer 201-2 Direct Drive Gear Sewing Machine With Potted MotorSinger 221j Featherweight Sewing Machine Tan-beige -Singer 221 Featherweight Portable Sewing Machine W/ Case & AccessoriesVintage Childs Small Toy Sewhandy Singer Sewing MachineAntique Singer Sewing Machine Rare 24-7 Chain Stitch L@@k! Vintage Singer 222k 1955 Unique? Ej911975 Sewing Machine In Box With Accesories1950's Singer Model 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine And Case Singer Centennial Featherweight Sewing Machine 221-1 Case & Attach. Mint 1951 Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 221k With Case And AccessoriesVinage Centennial Edition 1951 Singer Featherweight Sewing MachinePristine* Original 99.9% Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 1951 Quilting DreamVintage Miniature Childs Handcrank Singer Sewing Machine Working Vintage Singer 99k Sewing Machine And Accessories In Org. Carrying CaseVintage Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine Carrying CaseVintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Runs Nice! Af759851 Jan 7 1941 221-11951 Singer 221-1 Featherweight 100-year Celebration Edition Very Fine CondFeatherweight Singer Sewing Machine 221Antique Miniature Singer Sewing Machine Toy Hand-crank Cast Iron Nice Antique 1949 Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine & CaseNice Antique 1946 Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine Scroll FaceExcellent 1947 Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing Machine W/case & AttachmentsVintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Aj592465 Foot Control Model 221 Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine W/ Case & Extras-canada 1951Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine W/case, Pedal Vintage Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine Carrying CaseAntique Miniature Singer Sewing Machine Cast Iron #24-7, Sold As Is, Parts OnlyVintage 1950's Singer 221-1 Featherweight Sewing Machine Case & Extras Cat 3-120Vintage 1941- Singer Hand Crank Sewing Machine 99k Square Case & Accessories4-spoke 1910 Singer Child's #20 Sewing Machine Hand Crank Cast Iron Chain StitchFeatherweight Singer Portable Sewing Machine Ag811051 W/case& Attachments Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Model 201Deluxe Singer Featherweight 221 AttachmentsSinger Featherweight Sewing Machine Exc ConditionVintage Singer Child Model 20b Hand Crank Sewing Machine Singer Proseries Sewing Lot~18 Pkgs Scissors, Rotary Cutters, Tools & Much More!Singer Sewhandy #20