Singer Model 20 sewing machine

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Education Department

Singer Model 20 sewing machine

Parts diagram, Singer Model 20 sewing machine (SingerK3480 1928).jpg (i)
Education Department stores


A black boxed Singer Model 20 child's sewing machine with instructions, from ~1928.

The Singer Model 20 appeared in 1910, and inspired a slew of copies from other manufacturers wanting to make children's sewing machines.

Singer Model 20, left profile

As well as being a product in its own right, the Singer 20 ("A Singer for the Girls") was intended to instil the "Singer habit" in children who would later grow up to naturally want a larger machine of their own ... which would of course, by default, be another Singer. For the parent, having their children make dolls' clothes was potentially valuable training for making and repairing real clothes in later life, and would help children to think of sewing as an enjoyable hobby rather than a chore (box quote: "As the twig is bent the tree's inclined").


The Model 20 was launched in 1910 and went through a number of incarnations. The initial 1910 model was pictured with four spokes to its handwheel, and this has seven, so it's not the first model. The machine has "U.S.A." on its pedestal, suggesting that it was produced at the New Jersey factory (and also says "MADE IN U.S.A." on the box lid).

The German-language manual that comes with the box has an identification number on the front page Form K3480 (Ger.), and 11.1928 which we're assuming is the date that the manual was printed, and therefore probably the approximate date (1928) that the machine was made.

Parts diagram, Singer Model 20

Box lid text

"A Singer for the Girls" / "Teaches them to make clothes for their dolls" / "As the twig is bent the tree's inclined" / "Practical and Instructive" / Useful and Amusing" / "This is not a toy but a real Sewing Machine" / "SOLD ONLY AT SINGER SHOPS OR BY SINGER SALESMEN".

Singer Model 20, right profile, boxed

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