Sterling Clark and his Money

If you are a person of means and have 24 children by five different women, you better believe you call your lawyer frequently. Isaac Singer, born 1811, was such a guy. Not only did he give the world two dozen children, he gave us the iconic Singer sewing machine.

Turns out, he violated a patent and couldn’t pay his lawyer for services rendered and gave him shares of the company instead. That lawyer, also born in 1811, was Edward Clark and the grandfather of Robert Sterling Clark, the founder of The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Lucky for us that Singer lacked liquid assets! Lucky for us he violated a patent! (I do wonder about the poor schmuck who was on the other side of that table). But there are certainly worse ways to amass a fortune (think: sugar).

I’d written more about this but in going from laptop to phone, it was lost. So this is it.

I didn’t know about the sewing connection when I snapped my museum pictures. There were quite a few featuring the needle arts.

I learned to sew on a Singer and I’ll bet many of you did too. Ours was a classic wasp-waisted black model with the signature gold-stamped, oval logo on its body. It didn’t do much — a forward stitch, a backward stitch — but it did those things well. All those metal components — how well they held up! According to a dealer in Waltham whom I once consulted, there were only one or two Singer models that didn’t have great resale value.

Remind me never to say I’ll post about this tomorrow ever again. It turns an idea into homework which I then resist like mad.

Started something

It continues to be somewhat quiet around here. Longer days and warmer temps mean that gardening has started. Crocus litter the yard with cheer and the hyacinth near the side door have begun their brave journey toward the sun.

6 thoughts on “Sterling Clark and his Money

  1. Jen

    Wish we still had my mother’s old 50s era green Singer machine, that thing was a BEAST!!!

    It’s definitely Spring here; lots of tree sex going on, Achoooooooo!!

    Love the collages!! 🤩💕

  2. Tina

    Spring .. such a wonderful time!! Here we are at the very beginnings of but it’s enough. If I don’t see you here I know we’re you’ll be. Enjoy!!

  3. Liz A

    I most remember my grandmother’s sewing machine, although it had fallen into disuse by the time I was around … as far as I know, it’s still in my parents’ old house (now owned by my brother)

    fortunately, I do have her sewing side table (with three drawers and rather odd compartments with hinged lids on either side) … it has served as my bedside table for many many years

    love the painting of the Coats and Clarks spools of thread … it reminds me of Wayne Theibaud’s cake paintings

    and last, the first image of the stitcher bent over her work is far more like my usual pose than the one of the sitter stitching lace from a figurative mile away


Leave a Reply