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]

Sensibility Vintage Images

Sensibility Vintage Images

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    

Vintage Singer 221j Featherweight Sewing Machine Tan Canada W/ New BeltSinger Embroidery AttachmentSinger Featherweight Sewing Machine Model 221 19511950's Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing MachineRare Singer Featherweight 221-1 Sewing Machine W Org Folding Table And Bench Nice Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine W / Case + Accessories + ExtrasVintage Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine Very NiceSinger Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine "golden Gate Exposition" 1939 Super RareVintage 1950s Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 221-1 W/manual, Pedal, CaseSinger 500a Rocketeer Industrial Strength Heavy Duty Sewing Machine W/foot PedalTan Singer Featherweight 221k Sewing Machine Singer Featherweight 221k White Sewing Machine Green Carrying Case Beautiful , Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine Card Table , Ser No T334467Vintage Singer Model 20 Sewing Machine "for Girls" With C- Clamp & Original Box Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 221k With Case And Accessories 1955 Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine For Easy RestorationSinger Featherweight 221 Portable Sewing Machine W/ Attachments +manual +case Singer 301 Sewing Machine Trapezoid Carry Case Good Used ConditionVintage Black Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine 221 With CaseSinger Feather Weight Sewing Machine 221Vintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 221 W/ Box Key Accessories NiceSinger Featherweight Sewing Machine, Model 221, S/n Al691889. 1954Vintage Singer 201 Heavy Duty Industrial Strength Sewing Machine CustomOriginal Vintage Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine Carrying Case 1950's Singer 222k Featherweight Free Arm Portable Sewing Machine & BookletRare Black Singer 20 Small Child's Real Sewing Machine Awesome In Box% 1953 Junior Singer Sewing Machine In Sewing BoxVintage Singer Portable Electric Sewing Machine #g4629575 W/ Singer Wood BoxVintage Singer Featherweight Catalog 3-110 Sewing MachineVintage 1951 100 Anniversary Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine W/ BoxSinger Featherweight Sewing MachineSinger Featherweight 221k Sewing Machine White Color Made 1964 With CaseVintage Singer Portable Electric Sewing Machine 22-1 W/ Carrying Case *works*Vintage Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine Cat 3-120 Antique Working 110-120 VVintage Singer Featherweight 221k 221 K Sewing Machine - Restoration ProjectAntique Vintage Miniature Singer Toy Sewing Machine Cast IronSinger 221k FeatherweightVintage 1936 Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 1941 Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine In Case + Extras Ag00245 1937 Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine New Case, Accessories RefurbishedVintage Singer Sewing Machine Model 301 Featherweight W/case & InstructionsSinger Collectible Vintage Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine W/case & Attachment1956 Singer Featherweight Portable Model 221- Sewing MachineVintage 1950 Singer 221-1 Featherweight Sewing Machine Working ConditionSinger 500a Sewing Machine. Slant Needle. Vtg. Heavy Duty. Refurbed. ExcellentVintage Singer Sewing Machine 201-2 From Cabinet W Accessories ManualVintage Singer 301 Sewing Machine Slant? Sewing Machine.*** Antique Singer Hand Crank Sewing Machine As Is ***Vintage Late 40's Singer 221-1 Featherweight Sewing Machine W/case & AccessoriesVintage 1950's Folding Table For Singer 301 Sewing Machine, Wood With Metal LegsVintage Singer Slant-o-matic Sewing Machine " Rocketeer "style 500aVintage Original Case For Singer Featherweight 221 Sewing MachineSinger Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine, Case & Accessories1937 Singer Featherweight Sewing MachineVintage Treadle Sewing Machine Parts.. Singer.. Frame/ LegsSinger Featherweight Machine Hull1950 Aj Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine With Case Some AttachmentsVintage Black Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine 221-k With CaseAntique Singer Hand Crank Sewing Machine 1889.Toy Childs Singer Sewing Machine - No Table Clamp