In the vintage heydey, Singer was cranking out machines by the hundreds of thousands in multiple factories worldwide. Some factories produced complete machines, others produced components.
Therefore it can take a bit of detective work to determine exactly where your vintage machine was born...
Singer's most prolific factories were located in Elizabeth, New Jersey (USA), Anderson, South Carolina (USA), Bridgeport, Connecticut (USA), Clydebank, Scotland (Great Britain) and St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (Canada). The majority of classic Singer machines came from one of these factories.
Machines manufactured in Canada and Great Britain are often labeled as such on the inside of the motor column. Markings on the motor or foot control can be misleading because they may be a later add-on from a different factory.
Serial numbers may also provide clues to factory of origin. If your machine has a serial number beginning with 2 alpha characters, those alphas may be unique to the factory of origin. For example, if your serial number begins with NA, NB, or NC then it was almost certainly manufactured at Anderson, South Carolina, USA.
Another clue is the alpha suffix on the model number. That "A" in 401A stands for "Anderson." If you look at the serial number you will most likely see NA or NB at the beginning.
Other alpha suffixes include:
E = Elizabethport factory, Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA J = St. Jean-sur-Richelieu factory, St. John's, Quebec, Canada K = Kilbowie factory, Clydebank, Scotland, Great Britain W = Wheeler & Wilson factory, Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA G = Karlsruhe, West Germany
328K made in Canada
Therefore, your 328K probably came from Scotland. But the otherwise identical 328J came from Canada!
But your 328K could be a hybrid of components from more than one factory. The label shown here was found on a machine with a "328K" model number plate. Apparently Singer consolidated parts from Scotland and Canada to complete the 328 model production run.
411G with Canadian serial number
Another joker in the deck is the 411G shown at right. It was a bit of a puzzle because the "G" indicates Germany, but the serial number points to Canada. After some research it appears that the head was cast (and stamped with serial number) in Canada, then the machine was assembled in West Germany as reflected in the model number suffix. To add to the international flavor, the accessories are marked "France." I found it in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, so it's quite the international traveler!
So, the next time you wonder where your machine came from, follow the clues and see what you find!
Happy sewing! Barbara (NOTE: All information is deemed reliable but cannot be guaranteed.)
OldSewinGear is the collaborative effort of retired repairman Gary and daughter Barbara. We love old sewing gear and enjoy sharing what we've learned in our vintage sewing machine adventures. We are located in Roseburg, Oregon.