Maybe the explanation you were given by Singer predates 1933 or is for machines made later than the 1960's.
Since your example is for 1981, I will guess the latter.
The factory designation, if it was not made in the USA, followed the model number. There are other examples for the plants in Scotland and in Germany.
It's probably the above system that the 0800 number uses to so-accurately date machines and why they are sometimes multiples of ten years wrong as the 1 in the second example could be 1951, 61, 71, 81 or 91. ---------------------------- Date: Wed, -0500 From: [email protected]: Singer serial numbers Graham: After looking at the serial numbers of over 300 Featherweights that are on the database, I can guarantee you that there are no encrypted build dates in the serial numbers.
Presumably models seldom lasted more than a decade in unchanged form so this wouldn't be too much of a problem. The American serial numbers start at AD545389 (1933)and methodically increase to AM696632 (1957).
A good example to disprove your explanation would be AK996181 and AL000663 (both of which I own, by the way, and I can tell you they are identical, not built years apart).
Both the records held by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and my own believe that 1873 is the date for the machine from the SN you give. The following is the breakdown of machines based on serial# prefix: Black American: Total=800 AD-45, AE-58, AF-96, AG-66, AH-109, AJ-131, AK-96, AL-122, AM-77. Black British: Total=108 EE-9, EF-15, EG-10, EH-18, EJ-7, EK-4, EL-6, EM-10, EN-3, EP-3, ER-3, ES-20. The last machine that Singer is able to give a date on is EW070170 with a "birthdate" of 8/6/68.
Also, I haven't heard of Singer giving out what appear to be bad build dates on their machines.
They do frequently, however, insist that certain machines are different model numbers than what they obviously are.
The data we get from Singer in New Jersey is more frequently incorrect for the British machines than with the American.
And there are many serial numbers, mostly the more recent FW's, that Singer is unable to give any estimate of build date on. Obviously in '55 the Black 221K was discontinued and the plant used for 222Ks with only Pale T 221Ks surviving the model change.
Like Suzy I am rather suspicious about the Singer 800 number dates and also about the 25,000 daily production -- that's over 7 million a year.