The Singer company was first started in 1851 and has made its name as one of the top sewing machine manufacturers in the world. It has factories across the world and some of its older models are very valuable antiques. Although there are several mechanical differences between the machines the only accurate way to find out when a machine was manufactured is to look at the serial number. This is normally printed on the side of the main casting and can tell you not only when it was manufactured but where it was made as well.
Check to see if there are any letters before the serial number. If there are none this means the machine was manufactured before 1900. The first machine Singer made was serial number 1, so the lower the number the older the machine is.
Establish if there is a letter prefix to the serial number. If there is this means it was made between 1900 and 1935. Between 1900 and 1901 machines had an M or P prefix, R between 1902 and 1903, J between 1904 and 1905, S between 1906 and 1907 and V between 1908 and 1909. F prefixes were used during the 1910 to 1920 period. This was followed by a -- and a number with 1 representing 1910 to 1912 and 9 representing 1920. Y prefixes were used after this until 1935.
Look to see if there is a two letter prefix starting with an A before the serial number. AA prefixes were made between 1924 and 1926, AB 1926 to 1928, AC 1928 to 1930, AD1930 to 1935, AE 1935 to 1938, AF 1938 to 1941, AG 1941 to 1947, AH 1947 to 1948, AJ 1948 to 1950, AK 1950 to 1952, AL 1952 to 1955, AM 1955 to 1959, AN 1959 to 1964, AO 1964 to 1966, AR 1966 to 1968, AS 1968 to 1970 and AT in 1971.
Check if the two letter prefix starts with an E. EA means it was manufactured between 1935 and 1937, EB 1937 to 1939, EC 1939 to 1940, ED 1941 to 1947, EE 1947 to 1949, EF 1949 to 1950, EG 1950 to 1951, EH 1951 to 1953, EJ 1953 to 1954, EK 1954 to 1956, EL in 1956, EM 1956 to 1957, EN 1958 to 1959, EP 1959 to 1960, ER in 1960, ES 1960 to 1961, ET 1961 to 1962, EV 1962 to 1964, EX 1964 to 1965 and EW 1960 to 1970.
Find any other two letter prefix before the serial number and you may only be able to get a date on when Singer first manufactured that model. Machines with BA to BY started manufacturer in 1924, CA to CY in 1964, DA to DY in 1962, FA and GA to FY and GY in 1935, HA to HY in 1960, KA and LA to KY and LY in 1959, MA to MY in 1935, ND to NY in 1963, PA to PY in 1954, QA to QZ in 1963, RA to RY in 1954, SA to SN in 1935, SP to SY in 1963, TA to TY in 1956, VA to VY in 1957, WA to WY in 1967 and YA to YY in 1956.
Locate any other letters before the serial number and the machine can be more accurately dated. JA was made in 1924, JB in 1936, JC in 1948, JD in 1954, JE in 1961, NA in 1951, NB in 1956 and NC in 1961.
Check out the references to accurately date your Singer machine with the full serial number. If there are letters after the serial number this means you can also trace where in the world it was manufactured as Singer had factories across Europe, America and Asia.