Singer, Isaac

Inventor and Manufacturer


Isaac Merrit Singer was born in Rensselaer County, New York on October 27, 1811. After attending public school in Oswego, he ran away from home and became an apprentice in a machine shop in Rochester. And for 20 years (1830-1850), he lived as a roving actor and part-time mechanic. His life changed, however, in 1851, when he built a greatly improved version of a sewing machine he had seen. A remarkable device, his invention made possible continuous sewing, both straight and curved; it also made it possible to stitch at any place on the material.

That same year, he entered into a partnership with an attorney, Edward Clark; and by 1860, they were the world's foremost sewing-machine manufacturers. After the Singer Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1863, he retired and moved to England. Singer lived for 12 years in a palace he had built (the Wigwam) on the English coast and died on July 23, 1875, in Torquay, England.