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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Just Outside Berlin, a Design and Arts Scene Thrives
New York Times (blog), February 25th

Retaining the integrity of the original barn while adding vintage but functional decorative touches, like an original Singer sewing machine from the 1920s, Löwenstein is continuing something of a family legacy; her aunt converted an old train station...Read more

Guernsey County and its surrounding areas meeting and events calendar
The Daily Jeffersonian, February 24th

Call 439-6681 for information. Sewing group, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Guernsey County Senior Citizens Center, Cambridge. The center has a Singer sewing machine with electric pedal and many accessories. Bring ideas and projects. For information, call 439-6681...Read more

Intimate Apparel
TheaterMania.com, February 24th

A Singer sewing machine, a quilt of patches representing Esther's life, and the upright piano add further impact to the pair of sepia-edged photographs projected on the back wall that are labeled as "unidentified black couple, c. 1905," and...Read more

Eclectic marketplaces open in Seminole Heights, Ybor
TBO.com, February 21st

Clements also rents space by the square foot to outside vendors who together can make a pretty eclectic mix that ranges from Singer sewing machine benches to rolling drink carts that Don Draper would appreciate. There is the Bayshore Interiors vendor...Read more

Objects and architecture that shape lives
Philly.com, February 20th

A Singer sewing machine from 1912 is among household items featured in the traveling "House & Home" exhibit on view at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown through March 15. A Singer sewing machine from 1912 is among household items featured in the ...Read more

Local business sews things up with Creative Stitches
Pratt Tribune, February 18th

Crockett started out on her mom's antique Singer sewing machine tailoring her own clothes to make them fit better or "modernizing" the style a bit on stuff she didn't like. “When I got into high school I started making all my little sister's clothes...Read more

Who the F Is … Arts Patron Winnaretta Singer?
SheWired, January 30th

Who she was: An heiress to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, an arts patron in Paris for five decades, and a lover of many women. What she accomplished: Winnaretta Singer (1865-1943) welcomed musicians and other artists to her Paris salon for more ...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