Singer, Isaac Merritt

Singer, Isaac Merritt

biographical name

(born Oct. 27, 1811, Pittstown, N.Y., U.S.—died July 23, 1875, Torquay, Devon, Eng.) U.S. inventor and manufacturer. He became an apprentice machinist at 19. He patented a rock-drilling machine (1839) and a metal- and wood-carving machine (1849) before producing an improved version of Elias Howe's sewing machine in 1851 and soon thereafter founding I.M. Singer & Co. (see Singer Co.) to manufacture it. Howe's successful patent-infringement suit against him in 1854 did not prevent Singer from manufacturing his machine, and his company was soon the world's largest sewing-machine producer. He patented numerous further improvements in the technology; he also pioneered the use of installment credit plans.

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