Isaac Merritt Singer (October 27, 1811 – July 23, 1875) was an American inventor, actor, and entrepreneur. He made important improvements in the design of the sewing machine and was the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Many had patented sewing machines before Singer, but his success was based on the practicality of his machine, the ease with which it could be adapted to home use, and its availability on an installment payment basis. Singer fathered at least 24 children with various wives and mistresses.
In 1839, Singer obtained his first patent, for a machine to drill rock, selling it for $2,000 (or $44.5 thousand in today's dollars) to the I&M Canal Building Company. With this financial success, he opted to return to his career as an actor. He went on tour, forming a troupe known as the "Merritt Players", appearing onstage under the name "Isaac Merritt", with Mary Ann also appearing onstage, calling herself "Mrs. Merritt". The tour lasted about five years He developed and patented a "machine for carving wood and metal" on April 10, 1849.
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