TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Administrative Information

History of the Singer Manufacturing Company

Scope and Content of the Collection

Arrangement

Selected Search Terms

Container List

|

Inventory of the Singer Manufacturing Company Records, 1861-1871


The Newberry Library
Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610-7324
USA
Phone: 312-255-3506
Fax: 312-255-3646
E-Mail: specialcolls@newberry.org
URL: http://www.newberry.org

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by Lisa Janssen, 2004.

©2004.


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Creator Singer Manufacturing Company
Title Singer Manufacturing Company Records
Dates 1861-1871
Extent 0.2 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract Invoices, order forms, records, and correspondence, mainly from the Chicago office to the New York office of the Singer Manufacturing Company, 1861-1871.
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Newberry Library, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
Collection Call Number Midwest MS Singer
Collection Stack Location 3a 42 4

Administrative Information

Cite As

Singer Manufacturing Company Records, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Provenance

Purchased from Stuart Lutz, 2001.

Processed by

Karyn J. Goldstein, 2003.

Access

The Singer Manufacturing Company Records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Singer Manufacturing Company Records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Return to the Table of Contents


History of the Singer Manufacturing Company

Sewing machine manufacturer founded in 1853 from a predecessor firm, the I. M. Singer and Company.

I. M. Singer and Edward Clark were partners in the company, which was based in New York. It was the first to introduce a treadle-operated household sewing machine in 1856 and pioneered the installment plan in order to sell it. The company quickly expanded, authorizing dealers and establishing branch offices, including one in Chicago, as exclusive sales outlets for its machines.

The Singer Chicago office, managed by James Bolton, was located prior to the 1871 Chicago fire at 50 Clark Street (location of the Sherman House), and 111 State Street. Bolton and an assistant, John Voight, managed the office.

In the early 1860s, Bolton, a machinist, designed the Singer New Family or Model 12 sewing machine while working at the Chicago office. The first known machine of his design was produced in 1863.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Content of the Collection

Letters and orders sent mainly from the Chicago office of the Singer Manufacturing Company to the main office in New York, 1862-1871.

Materials pertain to request for supplies (e.g. needles, varnished covers, papers, etc.), financial transfers, machine shipments and repairs, the appointment of authorized sales agents, an exhibition at the state fair, competition with other firms, and other details regarding the daily operation of a branch office. A few letters are signed by Bolton, but most are signed for him by his assistant, John Voight. Also, there is one letter each from the Lamb Knitting Machine Co. in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts; a Singer office in Buffalo, N.Y.; an Oswego, N. Y. firm; and A. W. Todd of Chicago.

Return to the Table of Contents


Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Return to the Table of Contents


Selected Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Newberry Library's public catalog. Researchers desiring additional materials on a particular topic should search the catalog using these headings.

Names

  • Bolton, James, 1832-1916
  • Lamb Knitting Machine Co.
  • Singer Company
  • Singer Manufacturing Company -- Records and correspondence
  • Singer, Isaac Merritt, 1811-1875
  • Voight, John

Subjects

  • Business enterprises -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • Business records -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 1851-1900
  • Chicago (Ill.) -- Industries -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • Correspondence -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 1851-1900
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Sewing-machine industry -- Illinois -- Chicago

Return to the Table of Contents


Container List

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Order of 5,000 needle papers, Aug. 6, 1861
1 2 Draft - $10,000, Nov. 6, 1869
1 3 Draft - American Exchange Bank for $2,000, Oct. 10, 1862
1 4 Ruxton Draft - $1,000, Aug. 5, 1863
1 5 Cabinet Case Order, Aug. 7, 1863
1 6 Wholesale license, Sept. 9, 1863
1 7 Central Express refund, Sept. 9, 1863
1 8 Shipment, Sept. 16, 1863
1 9 Ruxton Draft - $1,000, Sept. 22, 1863
1 10 Ruxton Draft - $1,000, Sept. 26, 1863
1 11 Number of machines shipped 11/2, Nov. 23, 1863
1 12 Send statement of shipments, Nov. 30, 1863
1 13 Appointment of authorized dealer, Mar. 15, 1866
1 14 Order copybooks, June 12, 1866
1 15 Broken machine, Aug. 25, 1866
1 16 Enclosed Draft of Merchant Bank - $4000, Oct. 13, 1866
1 17 Previous order insufficient, May 30, 1867
1 18 Order 10 cross braces, July 22, 1867
1 19 Order 8" balance wheels, July 24, 1867
1 20 Order 10,000 envelopes (ordered Jul. 30), July 26, 1867
1 21 Order 100 #50 new fans, July 31, 1867
1 22 Annual State Fair - exhibit machines, Aug. 1, 1867
1 23 Order various goods, Aug. 8, 1867
1 24 Overcharge on Invoice, Aug. 10, 1867
1 25 Order binders, Aug. 15, 1867
1 26 Order 300 needles, Aug. 15, 1867
1 27 Draft for $3,000, Aug. 17, 1867
1 28 Correct invoice, Aug. 19, 1867
1 29 $2000 credit, Feb. 1, 1868
1 30 Repair of family machines, Feb. 20 1868
1 31 Sale of machines in Chicago office territory by Indianapolis office, Mar. 10, 1868
1 32 Illness and bills, Mar. 26, 1868
1 33 Order bottles of oil, Apr. 2, 1868
1 34 Blue Line transport, Apr. 3, 1868
1 35 Order 2,000 needle papers, Apr. 6, 1868
1 36 Order threads, bobbins, Apr. 13, 1868
1 37 Order machines and buttonhole machine needles, June 24, 1868
1 38 Return old machine, July 3, 1868
1 39 Repair of machines, July 9, 1868
1 40 Order of weekly reports blanks, July 11, 1868
1 41 Draft of $2,000, July 11, 1868
1 42 The Lamb Knitting Machine Co. - Draft for $1,004, Nov. 11, 1868
1 43 Singer Sewing Machine Co., Buffalo, N. Y. - Invoice for incomplete order, May 27, 1869
1 44 Credit for unsatisfactory machine, July 24, 1869
1 45 Express shipment of bobbins and shuttles to Oswego, New York, Dec. 4, 1869
1 46 A. Todd, to Singer Manufacturing Co. in Texas and California, Mar. 30, 1870
1 47 Order for goods, Feb. 21, 1871
1 48 Draft - $15,000, June 17, 1871
1 49 Regarding enclosed article (lacking), June 17, 1871