Toy Sewing Machines (TSM’s)

Although this site is primarily dedicated to all things to do with ‘Singer’ sewing machines, we have made an exception in the toy category. We have done this because many of the early models by the other makers featured, were either direct copies of the Singer 20, or at the very least their design certainly borrowed heavily from that of the Singer 20. Although the later Vulcan toy machines are nothing like the Singer 20, they have been included just because I think they are cute, and I suspect they remind many of us of our younger years.


Vulcan, Essex, Singer 20, Grain, & Lead Miniatures

All of these toy sewing machines are simple, single thread chain stitch machines. Singer originally marketed their machines as children’s machines, but later they were promoted as adult light portable machines as well as toys for children.

Although in the immediate post WW2 years there were many makers of toy sewing machines, the main ones in the UK, apart from Singer, were Essex, Grain and Vulcan. However by the late 1950’s they found they were not able to compete with low cost imports from Japan, and so they all withdrew from making toy sewing machines in favour of concentrating on their other products.

Basic Model Differences

Model Body Handwheel Needle Photo
Astor Aluminium Aluminium 15x1 Astor
Comet Tinplate Aluminium  
Super Comet Tinplate Aluminium   Comet
Comet Chrystal Tinplate Aluminium   Comet
Essex Mk1 Aluminium Aluminium 15x1 Essex Mk1
Essex Mk2 Die Cast Alum. Aluminium 15x1 Essex Mk 2
Federation Cast Iron Cast Iron 15x1
Genero Stitch Mistress Aluminium Aluminium 15x1 Genero
Grain Mk1 Cast Iron Aluminium 15x1 Grain Mk 1
Grain Mk2 Die Cast Aluminium Aluminium 15x1 Grain Mk 2
Lead, All, All-Lead Cast Iron Cast Iron 15x1 Lead
Little Betty W4 Tinplate Aluminium 88x1 Little Betty
Singer 20 Cast Iron Cast Iron 24x1 Singer 20
Singer 20-10 Die Cast Alum. Cast Iron 24x1 Singer 20-10
Singer Sewhandy 40K Die Cast Alum.   24x3 Sewhandy 40K
Singer Sewhandy 50D Die Cast Alum.   24x3
Vulcan Mk1 Die Cast Alum. Aluminium 13x1 Vulcan Mk1
Vulcan Featherweight Die Cast Alum. Aluminium 15x1 Vulcan Featherweight
Vulcan Dumpy Die Cast Alum. Aluminium 15x1 Vulcan Dumpy
Vulcan Minor, Junior, Senior Die Cast Alum. Aluminium 206x13 Vulcan Minor
Vulcan Countess Die Cast Alum. Aluminium 206x13 Vulcan Countess

NOTE - For a more comprehensive list of Toy Sewing Machines (TSM’s) and their needles, please visit the TSM Needle page.