A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

History: Singer Sewing Machines, Monmouth and Middlesex Counties (1870 - 1972)

D B Strong was the Matawan agent for Singer sewing machines in Jun 1874.
Daniel B Strong's advertisement in the 9 Jul 1870 edition of The Matawan Journal designated him as Singer's agent in Monmouth County. That ad hailed the Singer sewing machine as "the best machine made for all kinds of work, from the finest Cambric to the heaviest beaver cloth." He also sold fabric and accessories.

"Daniel B. Strong was a clothing manufacturer and was one of the first men in this section to have brot from the city clothing to be made up by help thruout the country. The clothing would come to his place in a large wooden box, and he would distribute it thruout the surrounding country for the men and women to make up. He would later gather it and ship it back to New York ready for the shop. Mr. Strong, in connection with the making of clothing, was an agent for the Singer sewing machine, justice of the peace, commissioner of deeds, insurance agent and general adviser for the community, and had time left to play a little politics, at which he was also successful, finally landing the postmastership for Matawan. He had the post office located in his store, which was located on the lot now the flower garden of Dr. C. A. Gesswein." (Excerpted from the fourth in a series of articles on the history of Matawan Boro and its institutions written by Charles E Close, which appeared in the 16 Aug 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal.)

D. B. Strong was the agent for Singer sewing machines in Matawan, according his advertisement in the 20 Jun 1874 edition of The Matawan Journal. Again, he also sold fabrics and accessories.

The advertisement read as follows:


The "SINGER" does all kinds of work, on the heaviest Cloth, or the finest Cambrie.
Also, best Machine Silk, Cotton and Thread, Oil, Needles, etc for sale.

The 9 Jan 1875 edition of The Matawan Journal said that a thousand men formerly employed at Singer Sewing Machines and other factories in Elizabethport, NJ were out of work.
The 25 Oct 1879 edition of The Matawan Journal said that Singer's headquarters in Monmouth County were in Red Bank, where Mr D. C. Van Dorn was manager. A wide assortment of accessories were available at their Freehold branch office at James Van Note's at 39 South Street. Mrs E. Houghton operated their Long Branch branch office. Singer bragged that they now sold 3/4ths of all sewing machines in the world and cautioned against worthless imitations.

The 21 Nov 1896 edition of the Matawan Journal mentioned a Singer sewing machine outlet at 22 Front Street in Keyport.

The 29 Sep 1910 edition of The Matawan Journal contained the following article about the Perth Amboy agent for Singer:

Singer Agent Indicted

Albert Silver, a former Singer Sewing Machine agent in Perth Amboy, pleaded not guilty to five indictments against him before Judge Lyon in New Brunswick last week. The charges were forgery, embezzlement from the Singer Sewing Machine Company, and obtaining money under false pretenses from three Perth Amboy people. He was held under $2,000 bail for trial.

The great loss of jobs at a Singer sewing machine plant in Indiana came up in a pro-tariff speech at a Republican party event there, according to the 29 Oct 1914 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The Keyport Skirt Company was hiring experienced female Singer sewing machine operators in the 23 Jun 1921 edition of The Matawan Journal. The company was located in the Keough Building. (The 15 Dec 1922 edition carried a similar ad.)

The Keyport Skirt Company was expanding, according to the 27 Jul 1923 edition of the paper. They advertised "light, clean and airy rooms," possibly in response to concerns about bad working conditions. (The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire had been a dozen years earlier.) They offered steady work and good pay. They were adding space for more workers. The company's address was given as the corner of Front and Church Streets in Keyport.

The Hanson-Van Winkle-Munning Company of Matawan provided a list of famous products they polished, plated, or buffed with Hanson-Munning equipment and supplies in an ad found in the 20 Jul 1928 edition of The Matawan Journal. Among the famous brands was Singer sewing machines.

A Christmas 1933 ad for Singer sewing machines and accessories.
Singer Sewing Machine Co ran a Christmas ad in the 8 Dec 1933 edition of The Matawan Journal. Singer was located next to the Post Office East Front Street in Keyport, and was under the management of W. J. Kimpton.

Birch's Hardware Store of Main Street in Freehold was having a sale on Singer sewing machines, according to an ad in the 17 May 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal. The machines were $7.50 and up.

The 3 Apr 1936 edition of The Matawan Journal said that the Bayview Rod and Gun Club of Morgan hosted a return match against the Singer Sewing Machine Co riflemen of Elizabeth.

The Singer Sewing Machine Co of 70 Smith Street in Perth Amboy advertised its repair services and used machine purchases in an advertisement in the 30 Dec 1943 edition of The Matawan Journal. These ads ran throughout the Second World War and beyond. The 19 Jun 1947 edition of the paper included their ad for teenager sewing classes - 8 two-hour lessons for $8. Sometime over the next five years, the company opened a Singer Sewing Center at 169 Smith Street, according to an ad in the 30 Oct 1952 edition of the paper.

The Sewing Machine Exchange, 241 First Street, Keyport, advertised a portable electric Singer sewing machine for sale for $24 in the 14 Dec 1950 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Singer offered electric treadles for its usually manually-powered sewing machines in an ad appearing in the 30 Jul 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal. The ad listed Singer Sewing Centers at 38 East Front Street in Keyport and the 169 Smith Street center in Perth Amboy.

Pete's Inc, with stores at 44 West Front Street, Keyport; 267 Main Street, Keansburg; and 814 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, ran an ad for portable Singer sewing machines in the 13 Dec 1956 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The J C Penney store in the Sayre Wood Shopping Center had a Singer Sewing Shop, according to an ad in the 31 Jul 1958 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The Singer Sewing Machine Co at 69 Broad Street, Red Bank advertised for a commissioned salesman in the 4 Aug 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Jersey Central Power & Light Co was to hold a training seminar for home economics teachers at its auditorium in Allenhurst. Jessie Dalzell, the regional representative for Singer, would speak on the subject "Sewing Techniques," according to the 14 Dec 1961 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The 12 Oct 1972 edition of The Matawan Journal included an ad for Downtown Keyport's Treasure Days. Free prizes included a Singer sewing machine.


  1. Fascinating. Thanks for compiling that, it's saved me hours of hunting.
    (a Singer student)

  2. Let me know what grade I get. ;-)