Singer Sewing Machine

1871 Singer Sewing Machine

When I don’t crochet or knit, I sew.  I’m sure you can guess from the title of this post that I recently became the owner of a 1871 Singer Sewing machine.  I acquired her through random means, but am so glad that I did.


Let me tell you the story.

One fateful day in “Entrepreneurship and Enterprise”, my professor gave the class an assignment:  We were to chronicle an entrepreneur’s life. My first choice of Yves St. Laurent was taken so I chose Isaac Singer, founder of the Singer Sewing Company.  I didn’t know the far-reaching implications of my choice.

As you may remember, I’m part of the Knotty Knitters, a crafty bunch of older ladies that meet every Thursday night at our local library.   We knit, craft, and gab.

One night, as we admired a hand-sewn quilt, I  told my “grandmas” about the paper I was writing on Isaac Singer and Singer Sewing Machines.  Let me just tell you that they responded more enthusiastically than my roommates.  In the minutes that followed, I heard  fond memories about Singer Sewing Machines- things you can’t find on the Internet.

I worked the facts into my paper, naively thinking that would be that. Once I handed in my paper and presented to the class, I thought I was through with Singer Sewing Machines.

Not so.

For the rest of the story to make sense, you must know a pivotal piece of information.  My mother, besides being exceptional, is the Director of the aforementioned library.  She is also a very talented creative writer.  Every week or so, she writes an article for our local newspaper about an event or program that’s going on at the library.

Her April 11th article was devoted to–you guessed it—the Knotty Knitters and Singer Sewing Machines.

In an article titled “Knotty and Nice”, my mom talked about the group and included a short blurb about my class project:

“My daughter, an avid crocheter, participates when she’s home from college…Last week, she questioned the group for a project report on Singer Sewing Machines.  I’m at my desk, listening.  One by one, stories of childhood memories are unwrapped.

‘The day the Singer Sewing man delivered Mom’s first machine, we kids got to stay home from school,’ Nancy relates with a chuckle.  ‘It was like Christmas!'”

Riveting journalism, I know.

BUT (and this is where the story ties together) it was this article that lead to my acquisition of a 1871 Singer Sewing Machine.

Here’s how it happened: A kind, kind man by the name of Wallas called the Library and told my mom he’d read her article.  He asked if her daughter would like to have a vintage Singer Sewing Machine.  My mom asked me, I said sure, and so it came to be.  I am now the proud owner of a vintage Singer Sewing Machine dating back from 1871.

antique vintage singer sewing machine

antique vintage singer sewing machine

1871 antique vintage singer sewing machine

old antique vintage singer sewing machine

Singer Sewing Machine Company Seal

I’m not sure if she works, but when I turn the wheel, the needle goes up and down and the bobbin case at the bottom moves.  I might have to do some experimenting. I don’t know much about her, but I’m going to do some research.  Does anyone know any resources that would be helpful or give me more direction about the machine’s history?


  • amy

    February 25, 2013

    I have a very similar machine, if not the same model year. I was wondering if you were able to get yours working? I have just begun the cleaning process.

  • JJCrochet

    February 27, 2013

    Very cool that you have a similar sewing machine, Amy. Unfortunately, I haven’t put any real effort into getting it to work. I hope your cleaning process goes well and you’re able to use it!

  • Tom Wilkinson

    November 1, 2021

    I just picked up a similar machine which belonged to an Aunt of mine who lived in a city outside Toronto.
    It is built into a roller table and the machine folds into the table and a lid covers the hide away.
    I have a serial number, can that provide a production date.
    I have pics of the unit. Be interested in any information on the machine. My was born in 1889, but I’m guessing the Maxine was her mothers.

  • Tammy Tatum

    February 18, 2023

    Your Machine is a Singer VS-2, that were not made until 1887.

  • Terry

    May 16, 2023

    Have you looked up ISMAC online ? If not you might enjoy the information you can find d on your new to you !! Old Si ger sewing machine!!

  • Tony Alaimo

    May 18, 2023

    We have one that dates back to 1900. Plenty of sites to check serial numbers. All the mechanisms work and even has an electric motor adaptor.

  • Liz king-jones

    May 19, 2023

    You can find serial number into in or type in singer comprehensive serial number list into Google. You may be able to download a manual there also. You will be surprised how much info you will find. You can find some cleaning supplies, oil, grease and lots of other stuff at the featherweight While they specialize in Singer featherweight sewing machines, you can bc ask questions and actually get answers……..Liz

  • Anne Coleman

    May 22, 2023

    You have such a treasure of American history! You might contact a quilting guild. Those ladies cherish the Singer Featherweight. You wisely referred to your machine as “her.” Quilters name their Featherweights and use the serial number to discover where and when she was “born.”. My Featherweight is named Tommie Lou after my quilter cousin who gave her to me. She came pristine with all the attachments and carrying case. She was born in California in November 1949 and could sell for $1500 – $2500. My granny made all her children’s clothes, quilts, and even sewed for hire on her Treadle powered Singer. She gave it to me when I married in 1968 to use, not as a collectable. My quilter cousin has cared for it through the years as we moved often in our work. It will be passed down to my Granddaughter. Here’s a website that you might find useful:

  • Janine

    May 23, 2023

    We also have one it was from 1910. But same brand..
    We are trying to sell now.
    It been in my friends family for generations and they have original reciept and everything.

  • Gary

    May 30, 2023

    That machine is not from 1871. That design did not exist yet.
    The machine is a Singer VS2. VS designates a vibrating shuttle. The fiddle-based VS2 were made from 1886-1889. After that, the beds were straight-sided and were better known as the Singer 27.
    You can date it more precisely with the serial number.


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