“I am a typical Singer girl”


No you’re not, dear.  You’re Ann Droid, a figment of somebody’s fevered imagination, and you freak me out with your weird expressions, your wooden poses and your eyebrows.  Can’t say I’m a big fan of the frock either, but never mind.

Unfortunately we can’t date this brochure with any accuracy, but I think you’ll agree it has to be 1950’s.  Early 1960’s at the very latest?  Whatever, that very much of-its-time earnest expression coupled with the very properly-worded question on the cover sets the tone for the entire contents, as we shall see …

Good old-fashioned proper English, but obviously written by a chap who always wore his jacket in the office and still wore shirts with long tails and a separate collar.  Arm-bands too, probably.  Horn-rimmed glasses for sure, and always addressed as Mister Jones.   Same seat on the bus into the office every morning, and not much longer to go before his gold watch and his pension.

But wait – what’s that snappy slogan going on there at the end of that block of text?  “Where there’s sewing there’s SINGER and where there’s SINGER there’s service” indeed.  Wow.  Personally I think they should have kicked that idea round the block a few more times before going firm on it, but at least they made the effort to get a bit lively.

And finally we get down to the nitty-gritty.  We learn that the 99K is “the smaller type of domestic machine” and has “proved ideal for normal sewing requirements”.  Gosh, and to think that 50 or 60 years later the very same 99K is regularly touted on Ebay as a “heavy duty semi-industrial” machine.  Maybe they improved with age?

Interesting that the 15K’s “designed for constant hard work in the home … or in the dressmaker’s workroom”, but the best they can say about the 201, which is nowadays considered to be the real workhorse, is that it does tricks by way of reverse and drop feed.

Ooooh look!  The Queen Anne table, as often seen in those Eastbourne living rooms with the the patterned carpet, the Dralon three-piece suite with matching pouffe, the Bontempi organ in the corner and the framed print of Tretchikoff’s “The Chinese Girl” still on the wall above the electric coal-effect fire.

I love the bit about it being “a pleasing piece of furniture with many other uses” when the machine’s folded down and the top closed.  Beyond standing a couple of framed snaps of the grandchildren and/or an arrangement of dried flowers upon it, I wonder what those “many other uses” actually amounted to.

But now we’re talking!  The good old Enclosed Cabinet No.51, which I hadn’t realised was actually available in four finishes, one of which was “Brown Mission”.  Don’t ask us.  We haven’t a clue either.

Whatever the veneer, we like the 51 we do, because it’s eminently practical, it doesn’t take up much space, the treadle action’s nice on it, and it was available as a Convertible on which you can swop between treadle power and electric as the fancy takes you.

Elsie’s just read that last bit over my shoulder and says I shouldn’t big up the 51 cabinet any more in case people think I’m only saying how good it is because we have three spare ones in the house at present and wouldn’t mind seeing the back of a couple of them, but that’s not the case at all.  We really do like them.


More deathless prose from Mister Jones and more of Ann Droid and her stripey frock to come when we do the remaining pages …

6 responses

  1. Crikey, three spare? I have one, inherited from Mum and Grandma, and love it. I would love to buy one for my daughter and have looked on Ebay but can’t find one. Do please tweet me if you decide to sell. Many thanks and loved your blog.

  2. Oh, well spotted Alison! I hadn’t noticed the “100 years”.

    And that’s reminded me, I’d better get scanning the rest of that brochure …


  3. What fun! Dates from 1951 I’d say, as they mention one hundred years since Singer’s first machine in 1851. Thanks for sending the hand crank, it arrived today.