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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Young Designers Rock youth style show
KRIS Corpus Christi News, March 30th

Tickets are $10 may be purchased at the Singer Sewing Center, located in the Gulfway Shopping Center (S.P.I.D. and Airline Rd.). For additional information, contact Style Show Coordinator Diana Lauritzen at dianablauritzen@gmail.com or (361) 854-6457...Read more

Waiting For Johnny
New Haven Independent, March 30th

Inmates deserve more than a cheap Singer sewing machine. It may be good enough to take in prison pants, but what about all the stuff inmates ask me to do as special “favors,” like sewing towels together, embroidering initials on clothing, sewing...Read more

Cancun is a Caribbean paradise in Mexico - especially at luxury Sensatori resort
mirror.co.uk, March 30th

After a lunch of spicy beef and pork we visited a Mayan-descended family in their palm-thatched house where the mother cooked corn tacos on an open fire and an auntie worked a foot-propelled Singer sewing machine to make colourful blouses. We also ...Read more

5cc - bar review
Evening Standard, March 30th

What we say: A Grade II listed building which was the original home of Singer Sewing machines is the perfect spot for a hidden drinking den and it's fitting that, in fine East London tradition, the poison of choice is gin. Located down the Victorian...Read more

'Make It Sew' apart of the fabric of downtown
Rutland Herald, March 30th

Her mother's big clunky Singer sewing machine was her introduction to sewing around age 7, a somewhat complicated machine that fascinated her. In addition to her mom, both of her grandmothers were creative sewers and knitters, and that outlet became a ...Read more

Betty Heath: Why your mother has gray hair
Longmont Times-Call, March 26th

Mom worked at Singer Sewing Machine Store as sewing teacher. When a man bought a new sewing machine for his wife, Mom was the one who taught her how to use it. I remember telling Mom that I hoped no one ever bought me a sewing machine. I hated ...Read more

Singer Tavern: more drinks less sewing
The Handbook, March 23rd

It may look like an east end boozer on the outside but the interior was originally conceived to house the HQ of the famous Singer Sewing Machine Company. The machines are long gone but there's still some cool old school signage adorning the bare brick ...Read more

Sewing hobby opened door to antique machine collection
Chatham This Week, March 20th

At one sale, Van Meppelen-Scheppink noticed an old, black leather bag of the type that was once carried by doctors when they made house calls. Intrigued, she opened the bag and found an old Singer sewing machine inside. She was told by the person ...Read more