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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Wining one's way through the 1000 IslandsTroy Media, March 8th
Tours of two island castles – built by George Boldt, owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and Frederick Gilbert Bourne, head of the Singer sewing machine empire – whisk one back to that era. But these delights are backstopped by other attractions...Read more
Mt. Airy Quiltapalooza — not your grandma's quilting beeNewsworks.org, March 7th
They are armed with curvy, '50s-era Singer sewing machines called Featherlights. The little Singers are small but mighty and have a loyal fan base among quilters. Kathy James has a special fondness for her machine. "I love this machine," said James...Read more
Scotland from above: Unique pictures show changing face of countrystv.tv, March 7th
The pair captured diverse snapshots of Scottish life, including the west coast tradition of travelling by paddle steamer from central Glasgow out into the Firth of Clyde, Edinburgh's Waverley Station, and new industrial buildings such as the Singer...Read more
'Not a single neighbor even peeked through the curtains,' says Holocaust survivorKathimerini, March 7th
“I found out that the metropolitan bishop had our two Singer sewing machines. I went and asked for them to be returned to me, but I was told that they had been given to the regional authorities. There, they asked me to produce the serial numbers of the ...Read more
WORD OF MOUTH: Geordie Malone, leather workerNewcastle Herald, March 7th
It features a mezzanine workspace where Malone works at a table surrounded by vintage Singer sewing machines, a drill press for woodwork he uses for sanding and burnishing, a bandsaw for cutting, shelves packed with tanned leather, and rustic timber ...Read more
Charles Wright's 'Express Yourself' featured in Long Beach voter awareness ...Long Beach Press-Telegram, March 6th
(Photo by Brittany Murray / Press Telegram). LONG BEACH >> It's been used by hit movies, the rap group N.W.A. and to sell everything from iPads to Nikes to Singer sewing machines and, during this year's Super Bowl, Chevrolets. Starting this month...Read more
Lakeland Sewing Machine, Vacuum Shop Has Been Around Since 1982The Ledger, February 23rd
Sewing Machine, Vacuum Shop Has Been Around Since 1982. James Hagan and Mark Hagan confer over a Singer sewing machine hook assembly in for repair at Sewing Machine and Vacuum Sales and Service in Lakeland. PIERRE DUCHARME | THE ...Read more
Mirror, Mirror: Designers' dream factory coming together in BrooklynPhilly.com, February 19th
Philadelphian Bob Bland, holding a vintage industrial Singer sewing machine, is spearheading a Manufacture New York project an an opening event night during fashion week in New York, September 7, 2013. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)...Read more