I am absolutely delighted
to learn of your planned celebration of the centennial of the Singer factory in
Wittenberge. Singer was an extraordinary company. Indeed, it was among the first to
appreciate the central important of "fit and finish" in the marketing of a major
consumer product--a central concept that decades later Japan would put at the center of
its industrial development policy. Ironically the first place that Japan used that
approach was in manufacturing sewing machines!!!
Singer--and its factories--had a huge impact on the quality of life of
people virtually everywhere in the world--because Singer's remarkable marketing
organization reached almost everywhere in the world. Thus the machines of Wittenberge--and
of other Singer factories in Podolsk (Russia), Kilbowie (Scotland), and Elizabethport
(USA)--spread across the world, giving people the ability to create quality textile
products far faster with far higher quality than ever before. Singer, quite literally, was
peacefully transforming the world.
It is a real pleasure to know that your community is celebrating this
centennial; it stands as a strong symbol of how we have long touched each others' lives
and reminds us of how local history twines with the histories of people in distant lands.
My best wishes, Prof. Fred V. Carstensen (grandson of an immigrant from
northwestern Germany and great great great grandson of another from near Hamburg--Kruse
was the family name; my father grew up in a Germany farming community in eastern Iowa and
spoke German until he went to school).
Fred V. Carstensen, Professor, Department of Economics & Director,
Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis University of Connecticut