Rare Antique Enamel Singer Sewing Machine Sign - Hebrew
circa 1920

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Rare antique enamel Vintage Singer Sewing Machine advertisement Sign in Hebrew or Yiddish. Please see photos for condition. Rare early Jewish advertising memorbilia

This early twentieth century metal sign is an advertisement by the Singer Manufacturing Company (now called The Singer Company) for Singer Sewing Machines. Although Isaac Merritt Singer, the company’s founder, did not invent the sewing machine, his innovative design dramatically improved the capabilities of existing models. Possessing both technical expertise as well as a flair for business, Singer was the first to look beyond the commercial market and see tremendous opportunity – as yet untapped – selling sewing machines directly to households.

Singer’s inspired vision made it possible for millions of people, including immigrants on the Lower East Side, to buy their own sewing machines. By the 1850s, intrigued by the potential of mass production – a new technique then used to manufacture firearms – he adopted the same methods to mass-produce sewing machines. Production costs dropped significantly, enabling Singer to cut his machine’s sticker price from $100 to $10. Striving to make sewing machines even more affordable to average families, Singer’s company was also the first to offer an installment payment plan, allowing customers with limited income to buy now and pay back over time.

For many immigrants on the Lower East Side, affordable sewing machines presented an opportunity to earn a better living. By the turn of the century, more than half of the workers on the Lower East Side worked in the garment industry. By 1910, 70% of the nation’s women’s clothing and 40% of the men’s was produced in New York City. Many immigrants set up garment shops inside their tenement apartments and a Singer Sewing Machine was an invaluable investment. Although hand stitching was still demanded for certain kinds of detail work, it was impossible to compete with the speed of a sewing machine for less painstaking work. An experienced seamstress could easily sew 40 stitches per minute by hand, but at 900 stitches per minute, a skilled sewing machine operator was capable of working nearly 23 times faster.

From the Museum at Eldridge street
This metal sign advertised the sewing machine to Jewish clientele in Yiddish. The red square-like shape is the Yiddish letter samech and makes the “s” sound. Notice the same letter on the bottom of the sign where the name “Singer” is written in Yiddish characters. The top of the sign reads mechonos tefira, Yiddish for sewing machines.


  • Artist
  • Creation Year
    circa 1920
  • Condition
    Fair. Please see photos.
  • Dimensions
    38 in. H x 26 in. W
  • Seller Location
    Bal Harbour, FL
  • Reference Number
About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2014

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Located in Bal Harbour, FL

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