"Once in her life... every woman should have the thrill of a Singer Christmas."
Before the women's movement of the 1970s, before cheap foreign labor of fabric goods, and before the expanding demand for dual-income homes, Mom's domestic skills were highly valued and endorsed by society. Dad was most often the earner while Mom kept the household humming like its own well-oiled machine. She was often humble about her ability to make and mend clothing, to create color-coordinated accessories for the home, and to even make toys and novelties for her children. Day to day her role may have been taken for granted by many. In a mid-century American tradition for middle-class families, Christmas was the perfect time to make Mom feel special, really special - or at least that's the message of many magazine ads.
"Every woman deserves a Singer for Christmas," says one advertisement, because "Singer gifts are as special as a woman's dreams."
"Men, here's the way to become a holiday hero!" claims another ad. "Make her dreams come true with the lasting gift of a White Sewing Machine." Husbands needed to be aware that a new White would be "her doorway to fashion" and "beautiful furniture."
"When your best girl looks at her new Domestic [sewing machine]," says a 1951 Domestic ad, "and then at you... you'll be sure you're a real hero this Christmas."
Last year I gave my wife two sewing machines: an all-metal metallic green White (still seized up a year later after a shipping debacle, but beautiful nonetheless on display), and a functional, pristine Kenmore 158.1040. Even though neither machine was a Singer (she has plenty of those, believe me), I think the Singer ad I'm saving for last below is the most profoundly predictive at the time: "Make it a present with a future," said the American manufacturer below its photo of Santa Clause and a Touch & Sew (keeping in mind that some of the Touch & Sew line were among the very last of the all-metal breed).
The vintage machines are certainly proving the validity of those words: a present with a future. I imagine that many ladies - and not just a few gentlemen as well - have fifty-year-old machines on their wish lists this year. I hope that your "Santa" is good to you.
Enjoy these images and happy holidays!
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