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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William Carlton Workshop Brings Vintage Haberdashery to North End
NorthEndWaterfront.com, January 25th

The store looks like it was frozen in time from a century ago with antique Singer sewing machines and period pieces in a narrow workshop where the hats are hand sewn. The location at 148A Salem Street was formerly occupied by Whaddya Need and ...Read more

Steampunk show gives Renninger's a post-apocalyptic look
Daily Commercial, January 25th

With a 20-foot fishing boat as the base of this airship — the captain's seat is a Louis XV chair, piloting equipment sits atop of a Singer sewing machine table and its bow is made from the front of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Titled the Airship...Read more

Community comes out in droves to support Heberts
WatertownDailyTimes.com, January 24th

Shawna Johnston brought me a Singer sewing machine, and that meant the world to me.” Mr. Hebert said he appreciated the donations of clothes, boots, gloves, hats and especially a Carhartt jacket from Mark Rice. Although their daughter, Hiedi Santamour, ...Read more

Antique Tractor and Toy Show draws crowd
Great Falls Tribune, January 24th

The two-day show offered everything from model trains, cars and airplanes to handcrafted walking sticks, games, dolls, silverware, vintage signs and even an antique Singer sewing machine. “This show is for both the young and the old,” event co...Read more

Common threads: Exhibition charts textiles' social role in local history
Lawrence Journal World, January 24th

Brittany Keegan is standing opposite a massive quilt that hangs from the wall of a sun-drenched room on the second floor of the Watkins Museum of History. “That's us,” says the museum's curator, pointing out a nickel-sized patch of red fabric from...Read more

Singer Island Serenade
Orlando Magazine, January 23rd

If you ever used a Singer sewing machine, then the name Singer Island should ring a bell. This finger of land—actually a peninsula running parallel with the mainland in Palm Beach County—is where Paris Singer, the son of sewing machine inventor Isaac ...Read more

Revving up the old Singer proves productive
Sunday Star Times, January 18th

He was an absolute whizz on the antique Singer sewing machine. Te Kawa said he had researched the history of Christmas decorations, and they were supposed to be representative of the flora and fauna of the forest. So this was his way of putting a New ...Read more

Singer sewing machine retired after hard life
Bismarck Tribune, January 12th

You know a couple has been together a long time when he buys her a household appliance for Christmas – and she's not mad. That's exactly what happened this year when my dad surprised my mom with the ultimate symbol of domestic obligation: a sewing ...Read more