Isaac Merritt Singer: Sewing machines and sowing seeds were his forte
I don't like big words because I can't spell or pronounce many of them even if I know what they mean. Take "philoprogenitive" for example. I happened upon it while reading about sewing machine magnate Isaac Merritt Singer. It means producing a large number of offspring. Since Singer fathered at least 24 children, I suppose the word was tailor-made for him. Psychologists, management consultants, and marketing experts would have a field day wading through Singer's complex and fascinating life. His father, Adam Reisinger, an immigrant from Germany who dropped the "Rei-" from his name, was in his 60s when Isaac was born Oct. 26, 1811, in Schaghiticoke, N.Y. Isaac's mother, Ruth, promptly left the family to pursue a religious calling as a Quaker. With little education, Singer became an apprentice lathe-operator at 12. Other jobs followed, allowing him to hone his skills as a joiner, carpenter and printer. He sold his first invention, a mechanical excavator and rock drill, for $2,000 and, with money in hand, turned to his real interest: acting.