Singer Sewing Machine Company in Scotland

Singer opened their first factory outside the USA in Glasgow in 1867 and such were the numbers employed there that it had its own railway station. At its height, the 10,000 workers at Clydebank were making 4 in every 5 of the sewing machine in the World. Competition from the Far East increased during the second-half of the 20thC and in 1980 the factory closed.

In 1876 my grandmother was born in Aberdeen and her 26 year-old father’s occupation is described as ‘Agent (Singer Sewing Machines)’ and the 1881 census confirm that he was one of three such agents in Aberdeen. Glasgow was home to 6 Agents at the time, Perth 4, Edinburgh 3, whilst Stirling and Inverness had only one apiece . In addition to these 18, there were half-a-dozen in lodgings and boarding-houses and perhaps another 30 in their homes in many towns all around the Country including Ardnamurchan, Argyll which is as far West as the mainland goes.

Nearly 35 years following that birth, in 1910, this Hatter and Hosier is described on his Death Certificate as a ‘Commission Agent’. As far as I know, he maintained his relationship with the company through the years during which he established and ran his Hatting business in the city.

The Managers of the factory in 1881 and 1891, the only years that I have discovered, were two Scots, Alexander Anderson and John Strathearn.


Singer Sewing Machine – BBC ‘A History of the World’


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