Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Frederick Bourne, President of Singer Sewing Machine Company

Frederick G Bourne, owner of Singer Castle was a Gilded Age titan, was a godly, kind, and giving man as you’ll experience in my story. He was one of the wealthiest men in the world, known for giving much of his wealth to charity, even as he rubbed shoulder with the likes of J.P. Morgan, the Vanderbilts, among others—some of which you’ll meet in my novel.

Bourne’s father was a preacher, and they moved to New York City when he was a boy. He got his first job at Singer when he met Alfred Clark whose father, Edward Clark, was president of Singer at the time. The two sang in the choir at Old Trinity Church in New York City and made fast friends.

In 1856, Frederick G Bourne changed the face of American business by creating the installment plan. He eventually worked his way up in the company to become the fourth president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company at the age of thirty-two. He took the company global and made Singer a household name and their machines an item every young bride longed to have.

At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Bourne sold sets of souvenir post cards showing women around the world using Singer Sewing Machines, and by 1905, electric Singer Sewing machines were in use around the globe.

Besides owning The Towers (later named Singer Castle) on Dark Island in the Thousand Islands, the Bournes’ family home, called Indian Neck Hall, boasted one hundred rooms on an almost thousand-acre estate in Oak Dale, New York. He loved sailing, driving the new fangled motor cars, and enjoyed horses, hunting, and fishing. He became commodore of the prestigious New York Yacht Club in 1903, and was a member of the infamous Jekyll Island Club in Georgia.

Though he hobnobbed with the rich and famous, Bourne cared for the poor and downtrodden, even giving an elderly couple his estate’s gatehouse after the couple’s home burned. When the Oakdale railroad station needed improvements, he gave half of the money needed. Bourne was even director of the New England Society of NY, a religious group that erected the statue “The Pilgrim” to honor religious freedom. Frederick G Bourne made Singer a global success and retired in 1905 (with $90 million) but remained a company director until he died. But in 1910, he changed the life of a fearful, abused servant girl, as you’ll read in my story, Devyn’s Dilemma.

What strikes you most about the Bournes? Leave your answer or comments on the post below and join me on May 19th for my next post.

About Devyn's Dilemma:

1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.

Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her.

About Susan G Mathis:

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. She has seven in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, and her newest,Colleen’s Confession, with Peyton’s Promise and Rachel’s Reunion coming soon. She is also a published author of two premarital books, two children's picture books, seven stories in compilation books, and hundreds of published articles. Find out more at www.SusanGMathis.com.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting today. I'm glad to hear Mr. Bourne was a godly man and used his money for far more than a hundred-room mansion!