Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Marketing the Hearth: Ornamental Embroidery and the Building of the Multinational Singer Sewing Machine Company

  • Paula A. De La Cruz-Fernández (a1)

Abstract

This study examines the Singer Sewing Machine Company’s strategies for selling family sewing machines on a global scale. In marketing the sewing machine, the American-headquartered Singer focused on ornamental embroidery or “fancy” sewing, defining home sewing as art, to distance the company and the appliance from negative perceptions of women’s garment work as industrial manufacturing. Singer created its Embroidery Department in the early 1890s in response to consumers’ sewing preferences. The department reflects how the home became a site where global capitalism was constructed and articulated. Singer’s Embroidery Department had representatives in many countries, coordinating expositions and other advertising. In the case of Singer in Spain and the United States, women who took part in the department’s work were an essential part of the corporate-integrated operation. This article examines the relationship between Singer’s corporate strategies and gender and culture in Spain and the United States.

Copyright

References

Hide All

Books

Arnold, David. Everyday Technology: Machines and the Making of India’s Modernity.Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2013.
Blaszczyk, Regina Lee. Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning.Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.
Boris, Eileen. Art and Labor: Ruskin, Morris, and the Craftsman Ideal in America.Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1986.
Burman, Barbara ed., The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home Dressmaking,Berg, 1999.
Carroll, Archie B Lipartito, Kenneth J. Post, James E. Werhane, Patricia. H., eds., Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Carstensen, Fred V. American Enterprise in Foreign Markets: Studies of Singer and International Harvester in Imperial Russia.Chapell Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.
Coffin, Judith G. The Politics of Women’s Work: The Paris Garment Trades, 1750–1915,Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Cohen, Deborah. Household Gods: The British and Their Possessions.New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.
Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave.New York: Basic Books, 1983.
Crowston, Clare H. Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675–1791.Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.
Cruz, Jesus. The Rise of Middle-Class Culture in Nineteenth-Century Spain.Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2011.
Davidson, Sue Jensen, Joan M.. A Needle, a Bobbin, a Strike: Women Needleworkers in America.Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1984.
Davies, Robert B. Peacefully Working to Conquer the World: Singer Sewing Machines in Foreign Markets, 1854–1920.New York: Arno Press, 1976.
Domosh, Mona. American Commodities in an Age of Empire.New York: Routledge, 2006.
Frieden, Jeffry A. Global Capitalism. Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century.New York & London: W.W. Norton and Co., 2006.
Gamber, Wendy. The Female Economy: the Millinery and Dressmaking Trades, 1860–1930.Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1998.
De Grazia, Victoria. Irresistible Empire. America’s Advance through 20th-Century Europe.Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005.
Gordon, Andrew.Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012.
Green, Nancy L. Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Work: a Century of Industry and Immigrants in Paris and New York,Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997.
Grewal, Inderpal. Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms,Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.
Hounshell, David. From the American System to Mass Production, 1800–1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States.Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1985.
Hutchison, Elizabeth Q. Labors Appropriate to Their Sex: Gender, Labor, and Politics in Urban Chile, 1900–1930.Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.
Jones, Geoffrey. Multinationals and Global Capitalism: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century.Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Jones, Geoffrey. Beauty Imagined: a History of the Global Beauty Industry.Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Kriegel, Lara. Grand Designs: Labor, Empire, and the Museum in Victorian Culture.Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2007.
Laird, Pamela Walker. Advertising Progress: American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing.Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Landes, David S. The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to Present.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Lewis, Susan I. Unexceptional Women. Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany, New York, 1830–1885.Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2009.
Marchand, Roland. Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business.Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
Mintz, Sidney Wilfred. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History.New York: Viking, 1985.
Mintz, Steven. Moralists and Modernizers: America’s Pre-Civil War Reformers.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.
Mintz, Steven Kellogg, Susan. Domestic Revolutions: a Social History of American Family Life.New York & London: Free Press and Collier Macmillan, 1988.
Mitchell, Brian R. International Historical Statistics: Europe 1750-2005.New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Oldenziel, Ruth. Making Technology Masculine: Men, Women and Modern Machines in America, 1870–1945.Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1999.
Parker, Rozsika. The Subversive Stitch. Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine.London: The Women’s Press, 1984.
Porter, Susie S. Working Women in Mexico City: Public Discourses and material Conditions, 1879–1931.Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2003.
Said, Edward W. Orientalism.New York: Vintage Books, 1978.
Strasser, Susan. Never Done. A History of American Housework.New York: Pantheon Books, 1982.
Swan, Susan Burrows. Plain & Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700–1850.Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977.
Tortella, Gabriel. The Development of Modern Spain. An Economic History of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Wilkins, Mira. The Emergence of Multinational Enterprise: American Business Abroad from the Colonial Era to 1914.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970.
Arnold, David.“Global Goods and Local Usages: The Small World of the Indian Sewing Machine, 1875–1952.” Journal of Global History 6, no. 3 (2011): 40729.
Baron, Ava Klepp, Susan E..“‘If I Didn’t Have My Sewing Machine…’ Women and Sewing Machine Technology.” In A Needle, a Bobbin, a Strike: Women Needleworkers in America, edited by Davidson, Sue Jensen, Joan M., 2059.Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1984.
Breward, Christopher.“Patterns of Respectability: Publishing, Home Sewing and the Dynamics of Class and Gender 1870–1914.” In The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption, and Home Dressmaking, edited by Burman, Barbara, 2132.Oxford & New York: Berg, 1999.
Cruz, Jesus.“Patrones de Consumo y Cambio Social. La construcción de una nueva identidad liberal en el Madrid del siglo XIX: el papel de la cultura del hogar.” Revista de Historia Económica/Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History 21, (2003): 181206.
Díaz Sánchez, Pilar.“Del taller de costura a la fábrica. El trabajo de las mujeres en la confección textil madrileña.” Cuadernos de Historia Contemporánea 21, (1999): 371394.
Feitz, Lindsey.“Creating a Multicultural Soul: Avon, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Race in the 1970s.” In The Business of Black Power: Community Development, Capitalism, and Corporate Responsibility in Postwar America, edited by Hill, L. W. Rabig, J., 11656.Rochester and Suffolk: University of Rochester Press, 2012.
Gamber, Wendy.“A Gendered Enterprise: Placing Nineteenth-Century Businesswomen in History.” The Business History Review 72, no. 2, Gender and Business (Summer1998): 188207.
Godley, Andrew.“Selling the Sewing Machine Around the World: Singer’s International Marketing Strategies, 1850–1920.” Enterprise and Society 7, no. 2 (2006): 266314.
Gordon, Andrew.“Selling the American Way: The Singer’s Sales System in Japan, 1900–1938.” Business History Review 82, no. 4 (2008): 67199.
Jensen, Joan M.“Needlework as Art, Craft, and Livelihood before 1900.” In A Needle, a Bobbin, a Strike: Women Needleworkers in America, edited by Davidson, Sue Jensen, Joan M., 319.Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1984.
Kupferschmidt, Uri M.“The Social History of the Sewing Machine in the Middle East.” Die Welt Des Islams 44, no. 2 (2004): 195213.
Morcillo, Aurora.“The Orient Within. Women “in-between” under Francoism.” In Women in the Middle East and North Africa, edited by Sadiqi, Fatima Ennaji, Moha.New York: Routledge, 2011, 25970.
Schofield-Tomschin, Sherry.“Home Sewing: Motivational Changes in the Twentieth Century.” In The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home Dressmaking, edited by Burman, Barbara, 97110.Oxford & New York: Berg, 1999.
El Ángel del hogar (1865).
Godey’s Lady’s Book (1855).
Harper’s Bazaar (1867–1900).
La Moda elegante (1861–1900).
La Guirnalda(1867–1883).
Ayora, Melchora Herrero. El arte de las labores llamadas útiles y artísticos á mano y á máquina y sus aplicaciones á los usos corrientes del hogar (lencería, adornos, vestidos y muebles) con elementos de dibujo aplicado á las labores,Sucesores de Hernando, 1909.
Beecher, Catharine Esther Stowe, H. B.. The American Woman’s Home: or, Principles of Domestic Science: Being a Guide to the Formation and Maintenance of Economical, Healthful, Beautiful, and Christian Homes.” J.B. Ford and Company, 1869.
Beecher, Catharine Esther. A Treatise on Domestic Economy: for the Use of Young Ladies at Home and at School,Harper & Bros., 1856.
Brown Harbeson, Georgiana. American Needlework. The History of Decorative Stitchery and Embroidery from the Late 16th to 20th Century,New York: Bonanza Books, 1938.
de Dillmont, T. Encyclopedia of Needlework, D.M.C. Library. Th. De Dillmont, 1900.
Harrison, Constance Cary. Woman’s Handiwork in Modern Homes,New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1881.
García Balmaseda de González, Joaquina. La mujer laboriosa: novísimo manual de labores que comprende desde los primeros rudimentos de costura hasta las mas frívolas labores de adorno,Madrid: Imprenta de la Correspondencia de España, 1877.
Manual de La Moda elegante: tratado de costura, bordados, flores artificiales y demas labores de adorno y utilidad... con un método de Córte y Confeccion,Madrid, Spain: Oficinas de La Moda elegante ilustrada, 1878.
Máquinas “Singer” para coser. Álbum ilustrado de la exposición fabril y artística. Instrucciones para bordar con la máquina “Singer” para coser de bobina central,Madrid, Spain: Tipolitografía J. Palacios, 1901.
Pariset, Madama. La casa por dentro o el manual de casadas, Imprenta de J. Gimeno, 1830.
Pérez Galdós, Benito. Fortunata y Jacinta: dos historias de casadas,Madrid: Cátedra, 2007.
Pérez Galdós, Benito.“La Desheredada.” Guirnalda y Episodios Nacionales, 1881.
Penny, Virginia. The Employments of Women: A Encyclopedia of Women’s Work.Boston, MA: Walker, Wise and Company, 1863.
Red S Review.
Sewing Machine Journal.
Sewing Machine News
Sewing Machine Times.
The Singer Light.
Weekly Sewing Machine Journal.
Willard, Frances Elizabeth Winslow, Helen M. Joy White, Elizabeth S.. Occupations for Women: a Book of Practical Suggestions, for the Material Advancement, the Mental and Physical Development, and the Moral and Spiritual Uplift of Women. New York: The Success, 1897.
Tratado de economía y labores para uso de las niñas.Madrid, Spain: C. González, Museo de la Educación, 1861.
Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid, Spain.
Clydebank Municipal Library, Clydebank, Scotland.
Hagley Library and Museum, Imprints Collection and Pictorials Collection, Wilmington, DE.
Hemeroteca Nacional de España, Madrid, Spain.
Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition and History (HEARTH), Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Museo del Traje, Madrid, Spain.
Singer Sewing Machine Company Records, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, WI.
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana—Sewing Machines, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Wolfsonian Museum, Florida International University, Miami, FL.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Marketing the Hearth: Ornamental Embroidery and the Building of the Multinational Singer Sewing Machine Company

  • Paula A. De La Cruz-Fernández (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.