Category:Singer Sewing Machines

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Singer Sewing Machines, box end.jpg
Singer Manufacturing Company, logo.jpg

Singer Sewing Machines

1851 -     

Isaac Singer (1811-1875)'s name is synonymous with sewing machines, and the company produced arguably the classic children's sewing machine, the widely-copied Singer Model 20, in 1910.


After making some money form a drill bit patent, Singer started an acting troupe and then developed an improved machine for carving wooden printing type in order to generate extra income. To show off the machine he rented space in a workshop in Boston owned by Orson C. Phelps, and took an interest in the sewing machine being built there by Phelps as part of a contract. Studying the machine suggested a number of improvements, and Singer then patented these and started manufacturing sewing machines of his own.

Singer's early machines violated other patents, but after reconciling a number of patent issues Singer started mass-producing sewing machines in earnest, rapidly making the company America's and then the World's #1 producer of sewing machines.

Many of Singer's business innovations were concerned with his methods of expanding sales. Singer had highly-trained travelling door-to-door salesmen, offered the machines on hire purchase terms (which were not always advantageous to the buyer), and promoted the machines using ideas of labour-saving and virtuous thrift.


Singer consolidated their manufacturing base with the construction of a massive factory site in Elizabethport, New Jersey in 1872, and broke ground on an even larger factory in Glasgow, Scotland in 1882.

Isaac Merritt Singer

Singer developed a reputation for unscrupulous (and occasionally outrageous) business practices, making use of his burgeoning wealth, travel, and free time to father at least 24 children. He eventually settled down in South Devon.


Singer House in St Petersburg, Russia (1904), is architecturally significant and still standing, and the Singer Building in New York (1908-1968) was for a very brief period the tallest building in the world.

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