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Serial numbers on Singer sewing machines manufactured prior to 1900 are numbers only.After 1900, the machine serial numbers have a single or two-letter prefix.Look at the wood finish, details and general shape of the cabinet.Blond wood and chrome place a vintage sewing table securely in the 1950s, while ornate detailing, small drawers and curving shapes might lend one to believe a piece was from the 1910s.This piece of information can help you date the cabinet.
The most likely answer is that the larger number was the total number of machines produced by Singers when they only had a few factories and could keep up with, and control, the production output from Britain and America.
It needed a good soaking in kerosine after I bought it about 12 years ago, but it continues to give good service in my workshop/garage.
Singer Sewing Machines were first manufactured in 1851.
You may even find a date of manufacture printed on your vintage sewing cabinet. Sewing machines can typically be dated quite easily by serial number and manufacturer.
If your vintage sewing cabinet has an intact machine, this may give you some clues as to the date of the cabinet.