In 1851, Isaac Singer borrowed $40.00 to make a working sewing machine that would become the leader in the sewing machine industry and famous around the world.

Isaac Merritt Singer was born on October 27, 1811 in Troy, New York to a large family of German immigrants.

When he was twelve he left home and went to Rochester and worked all kinds of unskilled labor jobs until he was 19 years old. He found a job as an apprentice machinist in a machine shop. He didn\'t like this job, so after four months he left and for the next nine years moved from state to state and made a good living because of his natural mechanical ability. He got a lot of experience from doing this because he worked on anything that he could get paid for.

In 1830 he quit working as a machinist and became an actor because he had a loud voice and thought he would be good at it. He really enjoyed doing this, but could not make enough money to keep him in the lifestyle that he enjoyed. He wasn\'t happy about giving up acting, but had to go back to the boring life of a machinist. Singer spent the rest of his life claiming great success as a stage actor.

In 1931 he married Catharine Maria Haley. He was almost twenty years old and she was only fifteen. They lived with her family in New York. He wasn\'t happy with his home life and went around the countryside, working as a stage hand, advance man and as an actor. In 1836, he suddenly signed on as an advance man with another travelling group and left New York and went to Baltimore.

While in Baltimore, he met eighteen year old Mary Ann Sponsler and fell in love with her. He asked her to marry him and they returned to New York in September of 1836. He knew he really couldn\'t marry her because he already had a wife, so he convinced her to wait to get married and to just live with him as Mrs. Isaac Singer.

By the summer of 1837, Isaac Singer had a wife, a common-law wife, a son by Mary Ann and a son and daughter by Catharine. For almost two years Singer worked as a part-time actor and handyman, finally ending up as an unskilled laborer working on the Erie Canal. Singer wasn\'t like the other workers and because of his mechanical ability he thought that there had to be a better way to dig the rock and dirt than by hand. He designed a machine to drill into solid rock, which he patented in 1839. He sold the patent for $2,000.

Since he had plenty money and he couldn\'t get any more work as an actor, he formed his own acting troupe, the Merritt Players. This didn\'t turn out to be a good investment. Singer toured for almost five years, always struggling because his expenses were usually more than his box office receipts. Finally he was dead broke, and had to stop in 1844. Singer and Mary Ann settled in Fredericksberg. He went to work full-time in a successful print shop.

Now that he was working in a print shop, Singer almost immediately saw a need for a machine that would automatically shape and produce the large wood letters that were used to set newspaper and advertising headlines. He borrowed money from a Philadelphia businessman,

George Zieber, and went about inventing a device to do this. His first efforts ended suddenly when an explosion in the building where he rented space destroyed his prototype. In the months it took to find another backer, rent a second manufacturing facility, make another machine, and promote a sales location, new technologies in printing almost caused his invention to be obsolete before it was even built.

While he was waiting to get the printing invention started again, he spent a lot of time downstairs with his landlord. Orson Phelps was building sewing machines for two American inventors. The machines were so badly designed that, at the end of the tooling process, the majority of them didn\'t work. The other problem Phelps had was that the handful that did work proved unreliable and required regular repair. Phelps decided the best way out