Singer sewing machines have existed since 1851. From the cast iron treadle-operated machines before the advent of electricity, to the iron "modern" machines of the 1950s, many a seamstress has owned a Singer. Identifying the production year of an antique sewing machine may be difficult for some brands, but not for Singer machines. The Singer Company owns detailed logs of sewing machine serial numbers which, when matched with the serial number on your antique sewing machine, can determine the age of your Singer machine.
Turn the sewing machine so the front is facing you. Locate the serial number stamped or embossed into a metal, rounded strip attached or embedded into the base of the machine in the front or on the base below the wheel.
Observe the serial number. For machines produced before 1900, the serial number will be only numbers, according to the Singer Company. For post-1900 machines, one or two letters will precede the number.
Match the serial number on your sewing machine with a serial number on one of the three lists the Singer Company posts online (see Resources). This will reveal the year your machine was manufactured. However, lists of serial numbers for machines produced from 1851-1870 are unavailable because the original serial number log books were lost, according to Singer.
The letters before a serial number refer to the production plant location. If you find the abbreviation SIMANCO on a part of your Singer sewing machine, this is the logo that Singer used to mark replacement parts, according to eBay Guides, in the article, "Selling an Antique Sewing Machine." The abbreviation stands for Singer Manufacturing Company. Replacement parts often have serial numbers or patent numbers embossed or stamped somewhere, as well. If your machine features a centennial decal or badge, this doesn't mean the Singer machine is a century old; instead, Singer applied these badges and decals in celebration of 100 years of Singer manufacturing.
If your machine is missing the serial number, contact Singer Consumer Affairs for assistance in determining its age. Call 1-800-4-SINGER. You can also e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or send regular mail to: Singer Company 3716 E. Main St. Mesa, Arizona 85205