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Singer

#SingerStories – Second-Hand Sewing Machines

IMG_8358Singer sewing machines feature extensively in our collection of second-hand sewing machines, so we were delighted to hear about an up and coming exhibition next year.

West Dunbartonshire Libraries and Cultural Services are looking for #SingerStories for a festival that will take place next year at Clydebank Town Hall. Clydebank was the home of the Singer factory, once the largest factory in the world.

The Libraries and Cultural Services want to hear from people who have memories of the factory, those who worked there, or their family members or anyone who has a Singer sewing machine and why it is special to them.

The factory was completed in 1885, and it gave Clydebank its most famous landmark – a giant 200ft clock tower, once the largest four-faced clock in the world. At its production peak in 1913, the factory occupied a site of more than 100 acres, more than double the area first purchased in 1881. It had manufactured more than 80 percent of the company’s product.

In 1913, it shipped 1,301.851 sewing machines around the world, thanks to its 14,000 employees.

Since its inception in 1851 to the production peak of 1913, the Singer Manufacturing Company saw continuous growth, but the First World War signalled the beginning of a general decline in demand for sewing machines and the Great Depression of the 1930s also hit hard.

During the Second World War, the factory won its first war contract and manufactured tools which were used for aircraft, munitions and equipment. The facility was also bombed during the Clydebank Blitz – March 13 and 14, 1941. It was extensively damaged, although no workers were killed on site. Sadly, 39 workers lost their lives in the town.

During the Second World War, the factory had its own Home Guard company. Platoon Commander Alexander Ballantyne was among them, and his actions during the Clydebank Blitz led to him being awarded the George Medal. He was one of only thirteen people from the Home Guard to receive this award for his work during the war.

When he retired, the Singer Manufacturing Company allowed him to stay in his tied house, rent-free, thanks to what he had done at the factory during the Blitz.

The post-war period saw a steady decline in orders, thanks to the growth in affordable fashion and technological challenges from other companies. In October 1979, Singer announced the factory would close in the summer of 1980.

 

The #SingerStories festival will take place next year – 3-5 May. If you want to own your little bit of a history, check out our range of Singer second-hand sewing machines.

 

Singer Sewing Machines – Facts

singer 29k sewing machine

Singer 29k sewing machine

If you’re a fan of used sewing machines, then the Singer name will be familiar to you. Singer is synonymous with sewing machines, and for almost one hundred years, it was the best-known sewing machine in the world (and still is to an extent).

There are plenty of interesting facts about Singer. Here are just some of them…

  • Isaac Merrit Singer (1811-1875), the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine company, patented a prototype sewing machine that could sew 900 stitches in a minute
  • Singer is thought to have fathered at least 24 children with his wives and mistresses
  • used sewing machines

    Singer Model 1

    The first Singer sewing machine was known as the Model No. 1

  • Singer’s general manager George Ross McKenzie was given the job of finding Singer’s first overseas factory. A former Scot who’d emigrated to American in 1846, he chose Glasgow.
  • The company soon outgrew its Glasgow location, and it purchased land in Clydebank – the Kilbowie factory and building was completed on this in 1885
  • By the summer of 1885, Singer’s Kilbowie factory was the largest one in the world
  • Best-selling Singer domestic sewing machines include the Singer 12K, the Singer 99 and the Singer Featherweight. If you like used sewing machines, you’ll be able to find these
  • Clydebank’s most famous landmark was the Singer 200ft clock tower – the largest four-faced clock in the world. Each face weighed a massive five tonnes, and it took four men 15 minutes twice a week to keep it wound up.
  • The company began mass-producing domestic electric sewing machines in 1910
  • Singer’s success was also credited to its instalment payment plans. The company offered credit purchases and arrangements for rent to own where people could rent the sewing machines and eventually buy them
  • In 1913, at the peak of production, the factory shipped more than 1,301,000 sewing machines around the world, thanks to its 14,000 employees.
  • The factory was bombed during the Clydebank blitz in March 1941. No-one was killed at the plant, although 39 workers died in the town
  • Many Singer used sewing machines and vintage models are now collectors’ items
  • The Singer Corporation is now part of SVP Worldwide, and it produces a range of consumer products, including electric sewing machines.

Sewing4Everyone specialises in the sale of used sewing machines, including Singer sewing machines. Check out our range to see if we have the sewing machine that suits you needs.

 

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