Singer goes to war

More about this object

Finnish soldier sewing on a Singer

From their debut on the market, Singer machines played important parts on many sides of military conflict. During the First World War, Russian authorities seized a huge transport of Singer machines that the company had intended to sell and use in factories for the military.

Patriotic ads showing soldiers using Singers to make uniforms or flags were soon replaced by real photographs from the front, such as this one, showing a Finnish soldier mending his white uniform, or a British sailor frantically repairing his clothes at the deck of a destroyer during the Second World War.

The sewing machine literally made its way onto the battlefield and could have been called a multipurpose tool of war. During the Second World War, Singer, and later other manufacturers, took advantage of their expertise in precision engineering to expand into other aspects of military production, mostly rifles, sights, fire control equipment, and aircraft parts.

How to cite this page


Slawomir Lotysz, 'Singer goes to war', Inventing Europe,


  1. Vaghefi, Mohammad Reza et al. International Business: Theory and Practice. New York: Taylor & Francis, 1991.

About this tour


New ways of making a living with a Singer sewing machine

Sewing machines are powerful things. As they spread around the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, they allowed women - and men - to produce clothes rapidly, often copying the high fashions of the upper classes. The American company Singer made perhaps the largest impact, not through any technological innovation, but through local sales and marketing campaigns. Users across Europe began to use Singer sewing machines to make a living, in a number of ways.

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Sewing and the army

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