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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Putney's Hidden Gems
PutneySW15.com, August 22nd

Putney Bridge is currently closed for essential repairs but Putney Town Centre is open for business and would welcome you to come and discover the beauty of Putney, the great range of retail shops, fine restaurants and pubs, relaxing cafes, excellent ...Read more

Road near Kimberley marred by illegal dumping
Cranbrook Daily Townsman, August 21st

The garbage included old computer keyboards, a Singer sewing machine, books and other debris. This type of behaviour affects everybody in the area, since it can damage our environment and it costs money to clean up the site. Anyone found dumping ...Read more

Antiques: Singer sewing machine was child's play
Ottawa Citizen, August 20th

Antiques: Singer sewing machine was child's play. John D. Sewell mug photo John Sewell More from John Sewell. Published on: August 20, 2014 Last Updated: August 20, 2014 10:15 AM EDT. The Singer Sewhandy Model 20 was a child-sized sewing ...Read more

Focused on Franchise Law - August 2014
JD Supra (press release), August 20th

Since the start of franchising (in approximately 1850 with Singer sewing machines), courts have respected the premise that franchise operators were not employees of the franchisor and, correspondingly, that employees of the franchise operators were not ...Read more

Prynce Hopkins
Santa Barbara Independent, August 18th

This house at 1900 Garden Street was home for many years to Prynce Hopkins. His father, Charles, had the house built in 1897 as a summer home for the family. Charles was from San Francisco and was a major stockholder in the Singer Sewing Machine ...Read more

Fifty Years Ago
Northwest Georgia News, August 17th

Because of her outstanding leadership in helping other 4-H'ers with their projects and because she and her daughter taught a class of Cloverleaf 4-H members the “Know Your Singer Sewing Machine” course, Mrs. Faver was selected to receive the 1964 ...Read more

The Controversy Around the Singer Sewing Machine Patent
Apparel News, August 12th

Way back when, there was big competition to come up with the best sewing machine. Kind of like coming up with the best mobile phone or app. There were plenty of sewing machines around, but Isaac Singer was the first to build a commercially successful, ...Read more

Vintage ad boosts fund gets a boost from vintage Singer ad
The Sun Daily, July 29th

PETALING JAYA: A reader of theSun has generously donated RM5,000 from the sale of a 68-year-old Singer sewing machine advertisement (pix), to theSun-Mercy Malaysia Bosnia Flood Disaster Relief Fund. The reader who declined to be identified, made ...Read more