When you think of the name brand Singer, you probably think of sewing machines. But did you know there was a period of time when Singer stopped making those and started making military weapons? And they were apparently pretty good at it; at least some aspects of it.
Many years ago in the late 1930’s during World War II, Singer was hired by the United States government to help them make military weapons such as guns and aerial bomb sights for airplanes. It seems they weren’t the best at making pistols, but they did pretty well with a few other things.
Where Singer Couldn’t Thread the Needle
In 1939 the United States government gave Singer a test contract to make several hundred.45 caliber automatic pistols. The government wasn’t terribly pleased with what they saw and ended up giving the contract to other companies that today are very popular gun manufacturers. The particular pistol, the M1911A1, was widely used in several wars but started to become less popular in the late 70’s. Today it is not used as much by the military as it is many police officers and FBI agents. If you are a gun collector and own one of these rare guns that were made by Singer you might make a nice profit on it. They have been known to be sold for well over $50,000.
They also made an attempt at manufacturing the M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle. The government once again didn’t get too excited about the product. Other well known companies such as Springfield Armory and Winchester played the lead role in manufacturing these during World War II.
How Singer Made a Stitch in Time
Where they really succeeded was in helping the U.S. government with World War II was in the making of the Norden bombsight. It was also used in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was a tool that the crews of bomber planes used to accurately set their sights on targets. Singer did not invent the device, but was one of several companies working on it during the war. Even though this device was never very accurate, it was considered to be a great help in WWII.
So now you’ve got something to think about the next time your are sitting down using your Singer Sewing machine. Today they are involved in other companies, but they are no longer making military weapons. At least not for the moment.