"There are at least three Americans in every foreign town in the world," according to an old traveler's saw, "the consul, the Standard Oil man and the Singer [Sewing Machine] man." As the world's biggest and best known maker of sewing machines, the Singer Manufacturing Co. has turned out more than 100 million sewing machines, printed instructions in 54 different languages, and shipped its machines to every corner of the globe.

Last week, at a whirl of parties in Manhattan's Plaza Hotel, Singer celebrated its 100th anniversary. In 1,200 Singer Sewing Centers...

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