Sewing Machine Research
ISMACS International
International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society

Singer Gun

Singer Sewing Machine Handgun

WHATS THE most expensive old Singer that you could hope to buy today?

Guesses involving Number Ones and Turtlebacks would all be wrong, for the most-sought-after item from the company doesn't sew - it fires bullets.

The story goes back to 1925 when engineers at the Elizabeth, New Jersey, factory were approached by the US Government and asked to look into the possibility of mass producing Colt 45 pistols.

A year later, a full report was submitted and accepted by the US War Department. In it Singer proposed converting its existing production and also gave details of the additional machinery and space required to produce 25,000 pistols per month running two eight-hour shifts.

Little happened until 1940 when Singer was given a contract to produce complete tooling for the pistols. 500 of the handguns were also to be made together with a quantity of spare parts.

Plans were drawn up to produce 100 automatic pistols every hour.

Singers brief was to produce a detailed study of the 1,000 machine operations on the 54 different parts of the pistol.

The Singer handgun

Eventually, as part of the US war effort, the tooling and data were passed onto another company, Singer concentrating instead on a fire control device.

But those 500 Colt 45s with the Singer name were produced in New Jersey and its the remnants of this batch that fetch big, big money with gun collectors today.