New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Trade Card Tuesday: The American Singer Series

Now that Old Man Winter is finally on his way out, I thought it would be fun to look at a favorite harbinger of Spring!
(Remember, you can click on any of the pictures for a larger version)
The Singer Manufacturing Co. produced a series of advertising cards titled The American Singer Series, featuring watercolor paintings of birds.  The first set of cards were published in 1898, but became an advertising staple for Singer and were published for over 30 years.  
The early cards have a more painterly appearance and also have the earliest Singer emblem in the upper left corner.  The reverse of the cards have a description of the illustrated bird and some generic Singer advertising.

Another set of "bird cards" is also copyrighted 1898, but the illustrations look less like watercolor paintings.  The reverse of this series of cards carries advertisements for specific Singer products.

Here the Singer Model 20 - which was usually touted as a child's sewing machine - is advertised as a practical travel sewing machine.

By 1926 the cards were again more like watercolors, the Singer emblem returned and the series was titled "North American Song Birds".  The Singer emblem in the upper left corner is more modern.

This series also advertised specific Singer products on the reverse.

Singer sewing attachements.

A table for one's portable electric Singer.

This 1931 series card is titled "American Song Birds".  It also has the updated Singer emblem in the upper left corner.

Advertising on the reverse:  a Singer vacuum cleaner!

I'm not 100% sure when Singer stopped issuing these cards, but the 1931 examples are the newest I've found.  I enjoy collecting these for the naturalistic bird paintings, but also for the illustrations of Singer products on the reverse!


  1. What a great combination, Song birds advertising Singers!

  2. I love the bird pictures on the cards. What a unique way to advertise sewing machines.

  3. I adore those bird cards!! so springy and wonderful