Information About Old Singer Sewing Machines

Written by christine lebednik
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With its first model introduced in 1856, Singer, through an impressive marketing program, had by 1890 captured 80 per cent of the worldwide sewing machine market, as described at Because of this, collectors enjoy choice among a variety of vintage Singer sewing machine models.

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Earliest Model

Singer produced its earliest model, called the Turtleback, for only a few years before a newer Singer model replaced it.


The Family/Model 12 machine, introduced in the 1860s as Family and later renamed Model 12, came in both treadle and hand-crank versions, and had a black body with gold detailing.

1879 and 1880

The improved Family machine introduced in 1879 included an oscillating shuttle, and the following year the company introduced the even more significant improvement of incorporating an Edison electric motor in one of its sewing machines.

Most Available

The most available singer sewing machine model is probably the Singer 66, introduced in 1900 and staying in production until sometime in the 1950s.

World's Fair

Also popular with collectors, Singer introduced the Featherweight model at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933.

Other Models

Another interesting Singer sewing machine is the model 201, available either with a treadle stand, with an external motor and belt drive, or with a gear drive. Also of interest is the first slant needle singer sewing machine, the Model 301.

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