The Story of Isaac Singer and his Sewing Machine

On October 27 in the year 1811, the man considered as the founder of the first American multinational company was born in New York, United States. His name was Isaac Merritt Singer, the designer of the first commercially successful domestic sewing machine.

Isaac Singer
Isaac Singer (credit: pbs.org)

Isaac Singer was the son of German immigrants. With minimum schooling, he ran away from home at age 12 to join a group of travelling stage actors. When there was no show in which he was a participant, he engaged in carpentry or mechanic. He was able to invent a rock drilling and a wood carving machine. However, there were no buyers. He traveled to Boston with his family, hoping to find buyers there. When a shop asked for his help to improve the sewing machine they were selling, he quickly designed a far more efficient one.

Isaac Singer obtained a patent for his invention in 1951. He set up I. M. Sewing Machine & Company with the help of two friends, Zieber and Phelps. Using assembly type of manufacturing, he was able to bring down the cost so much so that housewives can easily afford it. With his natural talent for salesmanship coupled with the pioneering use of installment plans, his product became the best-selling sewing machine.

The Singer Sewing Machine was soon exported to other countries. To support the increasing number of customers in Europe, a company-owned factory was built in Clydebank, near Glasgow in Great Britain. Soon sales offices were established in Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

In 1875, Isaac Singer died in the United Kingdom where he had been living to escape from the many intrigues in America arising from his many wives. He had fathered 24 children with various women.

References
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Isaac-Singer
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/theymadeamerica/whomade/singer_hi.html
http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/singer-sewing-machine-patented

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