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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1916 lives: Passionate words by James Connolly gave hope to many
Irish Examiner, February 7th

Various jobs included working in the Singer sewing factory, and, at one stage, he was an insurance agent. In the US, he founded another journal, The Harp, and befriended the famous radical Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Connolly also became New York organiser ...Read more

Adams Center man instrumental in Social Security reform
WatertownDailyTimes.com, February 6th

As he has done for so many decades, he still uses an old black Singer sewing machine that he acquired from a former Adams factory that closed in 1970. On a recent morning, Mr. Smith started working on a channel-back chair. The fabric from the World War ...Read more

Jeweller from Wicklow mountains who is on the crest of a wave
Irish Independent, February 6th

"I had a Singer sewing machine when I was only six. When I think of it now, my mother was very brave to let me at the sewing machine so young. Yet I had my own clothes label when I was 17 and I sold my clothes in Temple Bar - and that's how I paid for...Read more

History in Hannibal: Remembering The Home
Hannibal.net, February 6th

In 1954, the Kiwanis Club presented an electric Singer sewing machine to the Home. The same year members of the Fidelis Class of the Fifth Street Baptist Church hosted their annual Easter breakfast for the residents of the home. On the menu were fresh ...Read more

Developing our Light Manufacturing Sector
SKNVibes.com, February 5th

This author remembers this process, having worked in Taipei for Singer sewing machine during this same time period. Today, there are modern-day equivalents to streamlining and facilitating trade, that in turn, can grow our manufacturing sector. Taiwan...Read more

The Sewing Room: New live performance venue in Perth basement 'needs support'
WA today, February 1st

"We're creating the world's first chandelier made out of 20 vintage Singer sewing machines," he said. "We've collected 15 so far, but if anyone has a contender, please let us know." The Sewing Room needs to demonstrate to liquor licensing that it would...Read more

St Asaph club's appeal for vintage sewing machines to help villagers in Malawi
Denbighshire Free Press, January 20th

Tom Yuille, of St Asaph Rotary Club, is helping to collect Singer sewing machines for villagers in Malawi; from St Asaph, the machines are being sent on to a Tools for Self Reliance group in Edinburgh where they are refurbished and then transported to ...Read more

How Singer Won the Sewing Machine War
Smithsonian, July 14th

The Singer sewing machine revolutionized the way the world created and repaired its fabric, and transformed not only the textile industry, but also global business itself. But a closer look at the Singer patent model, which is on display as part of the...Read more