Dropped Stitch

Singer will sew no more

Mahatma Gandhi called the Singer sewing machine "one of the few useful things ever invented." Admiral Richard Byrd carted six Singers with him to the Antarctic. During the late 19th century, Russia's Czar Alexander III ordered workers to use the machines to make 250,000 tents for the Imperial Army. Founded in 1851, Singer was one of the first U.S. multinational corporations. And, of course, its red "S" trademark became a familiar sight in households all across America.

But now Singer is abandoning the product that embodies its past glory. The company, based in Stamford, Conn., announced last week that it plans...