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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Nigeria designer hopes handbags will show different side of homeland
The National, December 21st

From the cramped premises in Festac, which buzzes with the sound of Singer sewing machines, a team of about half a dozen artisans make between 200 and 300 bags every year. Ashadu's parents were from the north, which these days is rarely out of the ...Read more

Double dry embossing on upcoming show
Clovis News Journal, December 20th

Lavinskas is the Manager of Consumer Affairs with Singer Sewing Co. in LaVergne, Tennessee. Lance Heft is an entrepreneur, businessman, social activist and author, and he will talk about his book “Your Turn to Win” and explain what makes his program ...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

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

Napa Valley Needlers: Helping people one scarf, sock, placemat at a time
Napa Valley Register, December 2nd

Some learned to sew on their grandma's old-fashioned Singer sewing machine using a foot treadle. Pinning McCall's pattern pieces to fabric to make their own clothes was a rite of passage. Sewing, once a necessity — as well as a way of making the ...Read more

Shop Small: Walneck's Safford Sewing Center
Eastern Arizona Courier, November 27th

Where: 302 W. 5th St., Safford When: Product: Simplicity vacuums, reconditioned Kirby vacuums, Singer sewing machines; sewing machine and vacuum parts; sewing machine, vacuum, small and major appliance repair. Thank you for reading 5 free articles ...Read more

In Blue Handmade finding success one stitch at a time
Asheville Citizen-Times, November 22nd

Founded six years ago, In Blue Handmade began when Schroeder moved out of Chicago, left her job in the music business, dropped $90 on a Singer sewing machine and moved into a farmhouse in southern Illinois. After managing a distribution center ...Read more