Singer 'New Family' sewing machine, 1865-1883.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The original Singer machine was very heavy and intended for industrial use. In 1858 Singer brought out a lightweight 'Family' machine, and, in 1865, the more substantial 'New Family' machine. This machine was manufactured for about 20 years, in which time over four million were built. It is an oscillating-shuttle lock-stitch machine, in which the shuttle moves at 90 degrees to the direction of the cloth feed. In appearance it resembles the machines manufactured well into the 20th century. The basic price of the 'New Family' was £4 4s, but it was also available 'richly ornamented in pearl, 10s extra', and in cabinets costing up to £20.