Singer sewing machines date to 1851 when Isaac Merritt Singer started a sewing machine company. Singer was convinced he could design a better sewing machine than the available models of that time. With the thousands of styles and designs that were made, it could require some effort to date your Singer sewing machines to the exact year of production. Still in existence as of 2010, the Singer Sewing Machine Company itself is a useful resource for information about your machines.
Look for the Singer name on the front of your machine to confirm its identity as a Singer sewing machine. Whether it is a brand new or vintage machine, the Singer brand name will be on the machine. On some of the older models, which might have the brand name painted onto the finish of the machine, the lettering might be too scratched or faded to read. Consequently, you may have to try to use the model and serial numbers as you go through the process of dating the machine.
Find the serial number of the machine. The serial number will not be the same as the model number. Typically, the serial number can be found on the lower backside or the underside of the machine.
Look for the model number of your machine if you are unable to locate the serial number or it is unreadable. The Singer model numbers are usually located on the hand-wheel side of the machine, on the front panel or in the case of some of the earliest machines, there might be no model number, but there should still be a serial number. Singer sewing machines can be dated by using either the model number or serial number, although you may be able to better pinpoint an exact year of manufacture using the serial number.
Use the larger number if there appears to be two different serial numbers on your machine. You can contact Singer directly at their consumer affairs department (1-800-4-Singer) if you have a question concerning dual serial numbers, or if you have only a partial model or serial number visible. They may be able to help determine the model number with the partial number and a physical description.
Check a published serial number list to find the date of manufacture for your Singer sewing machine. Two websites with comprehensive lists are the Singer site at SingerCo.com and ISMACS.net (International Sewing Machine Collector's Society). Both sites offer date of manufacture lists by serial number and model number.