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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93-year-old woman makes dozens of doll clothes for exhibitRichmond Times-Dispatch, July 28th
Martha Newell, 93, started making clothes for dolls seven years ago. The clothes fit American Girl brand dolls. She said that she won't sell the outfits. She would rather give the doll clothes to girls who love to play with dolls just to make them...Read more
Agatha Christie's DevonTelegraph.co.uk, July 28th
Oldway Mansion, Paignton, Devon: modelled on the Palace of Versailles, the mansion was built by Isaac Merritt Singer, of Singer sewing machine fame. Its ballroom was the venue for social dances attended by Christie. Burgh Island, Devon: Christie...Read more
The Best Little Museum You Never Visited in ParisSmithsonian, July 27th
The museum honors these foreign contributions too, with a French model of James Watt's double-acting steam engine, a 1929 model of the American Isaac Merritt Singer's sewing machine and an Alexander Graham Bell telephone, which had fascinated ...Read more
Police suspect arson in Harrisburg fireabc27, July 27th
“We had a 1940 radio, we had a 1940 China closet, we had a 1900 Singer sewing machine that we're just holding onto,” Dibbon said. “That's memories. All that's gone.” Several neighbors said they heard explosions as the fire began at around 5 a.m...Read more
Stormy day not good for duck raceKitsap Sun, July 26th
Singer sewing-embroidery machine from Sound Sewing and Vaccuum — Charles Whitmer, of Bremerton. $1,000 cash from Kitsap Credit Union — Irene Torella, of Bremerrton. $1,000 shopping spree from Amish Touch — Tim Putansuu, of Silverdale...Read more
Joann D. Pederson (1930-2015)Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, July 26th
Joann was employed at Farmers Co-op, U.S. Postal Service, Branco, Janes Flowers and Gifts, St. John Lutheran Church, Singer Sewing Machine Center and American Central Airlines. Survived by: her husband; three daughters, Susan (Jack) Mitchell of ...Read more
Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant meets aspiring Yeovil fashion ...Western Gazette, July 24th
Emily Plumb, who is studying for a degree in fashion design, enjoyed the money-can't buy prize as a guest of Singer Sewing Machines for a sewing session with Savile Row tailor and television personality Patrick Grant. The informal half-day sewing...Read more
How Singer Won the Sewing Machine WarSmithsonian, 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