Earlier, while working in a Boston machine shop in 1851, Singer built a machine that could sew continuous and curved stitches. Unfortunately Singer’s design incorporated elements Howe had patented and Singer had to defend himself in court. For five years, the two inventors battled in court. Howe eventually won the lawsuit for patent infringement. But in the meantime, Singer had manufactured and sold so many machines that the penalty payment was painless.Singer had formed his company in partnership with Edward Clark. Buyers could pay in small monthly allotments, on credit, rather than in one lump sum. The Singer Manufacturing Company also permitted buyers to trade in old machines for new ones. In 1855, the company began to market its products internationally, and by 1860 it was the largest producer of sewing machines in the world.
Singer’s first patented inventions were for rock-drilling and wood-carving machines.