Frederick Gilbert Bourne

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Frederick Gilbert Bourne

Frederick Gilbert "Commodore" Bourne (December 20, 1851 – March 1919) was an American businessman. He served as the 5th President of the Singer Manufacturing Company between 1889 and 1905. He made the business "perhaps the first modern multinational industrial enterprise of any nationality".[citation needed]

Bourne greatly expanded global production as well as international sales of the Singer sewing machine. Bourne was revolutionary to the sewing machine industry. He used the "installment plan" to make sewing machines a household item. Bourne is also remembered "among the most important innovators in building vertically integrated firms".[citation needed]

In 1902 Frederick Bourne hired architect Ernest Flagg to build a small hunting lodge on the St. Lawrence River. This hunting lodge was based on a book written by Sir Walter Scott in 1826 called Woodstock. This book describes an elegant castle with secret passageways, tunnels, and a dungeon. This castle is today known as Singer Castle and is open for public tours.

A sailing enthusiast, Bourne served as a Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. He was also a member of the famous Jekyll Island Club (aka The Millionaires Club) on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Bourne owned many boats that he frequently used in New York City and at his summer home in the Thousand Islands.


Bourne maintained an apartment at The Dakota on West 72nd Street, next to Central Park in New York City, and he owned a 1,000-acre (4 km²) country estate named Indian Neck Hall in Oakdale on Long Island. He also acquired Dark Island in the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River, where he built a magnificent castle.


He and his wife, Emma Sparks Keeler, had twelve children: [1]

  • Frederick Gilbert Bourne Jr (1876, NY - dead by 1898).
  • Arthur Keeler Bourne (7 October 1877 - 30 April 1967), married Edith Hollins; their son: Arthur Keeler Bourne (1899-1974); divorced. Married Alberta M. Bourne, with whom he had three children.
  • Louisa D Bourne - (1879, NY - dead by 1898).
  • May Miller Bourne (7 April 1881, New York, NY -1975), married Ralph B. Strassburger, a Pennsylvania businessman and prominent thoroughbred racehorse owner and breeder who owned Haras des Monceaux Thoroughbred horse farm at Lisieux in Lower Normandy, France.
  • Marion Bourne (1882 - 1969), married Robert George Elbert.
  • Alfred Severin Bourne (1883 - 1956), married Hattie Louise Barnes.
  • Helen Bourne (1884/85 - 22 Jan 1887, New York, NY). Died aged 2.
  • Florence Bourne (6 Jan 1886 - 1969), married Anson Wales Hard (1884-1935), divorced 1932, 7 children.
  • George Gault Bourne (9 Feb 1888 - 1964), married Nancy Atterbury Potter.
  • Marjorie Bourne (1890 - 5 May 1962), married Alexander Dallas Thayer (1888-1968).
  • Kenneth Bourne (1891 - 1898).
  • Howard Davidson Bourne (1893 - 1918), died aged 25.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-30. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  2. ^ Frederick Gilbert Bourne Forgotten Titan of the Gilded Age. By Philip Selvaggio.