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In 1882 George Mc Kenzie, now President-elect of the Singer Manufacturing Company, undertook the ground breaking ceremony on 46 acres of farmland at Kilbowie, Clydebank.
Originally two main buildings were constructed, each 800-foot (240 m) long, 50-foot (15 m) wide and 3 storeys high. Built above the middle wing was a huge 200-foot (61 m) tall clock tower with the ‘Singer’ name clearly displayed for all to see for miles around.
It is based in La Vergne, Tennessee, near Nashville.
Its first large factory for mass production was built in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1863.
The Clydebank factory was so productive that in 1905 the US Singer Company set up the Singer Manufacturing Company Ltd. Demand continued to exceed production, so each building was extended upwards to 6 storeys high.The Singer improvements met the demand of the tailoring, and leather industries for a heavier and more powerful machine.Singer consolidated enough patents in the field to enable him to engage in mass production, and by 1860 his company was the largest manufacturer of sewing machines in the world.The company demonstrated the first workable electric sewing machine at the Philadelphia electric exhibition in 1885 and began mass-producing domestic electric machines in 1910.
Singer was also a marketing innovator and was a pioneer in promoting the use of installment payment plans.Singer’s original design, which was the first practical sewing machine for general domestic use, incorporated the basic eye-pointed needle and lock stitch developed by Elias Howe, who won a patent-infringement suit against Singer in 1854. 8294, of August 12, 1851, introduced one of the most useful machines, and one of the most remarkable men, that have figured in the development of the sewing machine.Isaac Merritt Singer, strolling player, theater manager, inventor, and millionaire, brought into the business a new machine and novel methods of exploitation, which gave a powerful impulse to the youthful industry.Its labour force of 14,000 was about 70% female at war's end.