Singer History

Issac Merritt Singer was born in Schaghiticoke, New York.

Orson C. Phelps of Boston was manufacturing sewing machines under license from John A. Lerow. The Lerow and Blodgett machine was not very practical. The circular movement of the shuttle took a twist out of the thread at every revolution. Isaac Merritt Singer, after examining the machine, noted "instead of the shuttle going around in a circle, I would have it move to and fro in a straight line. In place of the needle bar pushing a curved needle horizontally, I would have a straight needle and make it work up and down." After 11 days and forty dollars in cost, Singer completed his invention: the world's first practical sewing machine. This machine had a straight eye-pointed needle and transverse shuttle, an overhanging arm, a table to support the cloth, a presser foot to hold the material against the upward stroke of the needle, and a roughened feed wheel extending through a slot in the table. Motion was communicated to the needle arm and shuttle by means of gears. Singer also conceived the idea of using a treadle similar to that of a spinning wheel; all other machines at the time used a hand crank to generate power.

I. M. Singer & Co. sets-up corporate offices and a manufacturing facility in New York City. Company is renamed Singer Manufacturing Company. The first Singer sewing machines, manufactured in New York, sell for $100 each.

First Singer showroom and headquarters located at 458 Broadway, New York City.

Foreign sales exceed U.S. sales for the first time.

The company was incorporated as the Singer Manufacturing Company, holding 22 patents and with capital assets of $550,000. Some 20,000 home sewing machines were being sold annually. Branch office opened in Hamburg, Germany.