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Women considered to be in the “genteel” society let other people do their practical sewing while they passed leisure time doing fancy needlework with their embellished thimbles of precious metal, but the majority of thimbles were used by hardworking women. And like the plain sewing done in their homes, their tools were also plain. When pierced from constant use, thimbles were taken to silversmiths for repair. Metal thimbles were being made abroad over a hundred years before Columbus set sail.

Thimble-clad young girls were taught sewing by darning and mending. Today’s collections can have origins from faraway places or within our borders. English and French marks normally appear on the band; German are usually on the second row of the indentations.

Many reproductions of sewing items are marked simple, “STERLING.” Gadgets There were thimbles with replaceable caps, collapsible thimbles, finger guards, magnetic ones to pick dropped needles out of floor cracks, and even thimbles to accommodate long fingernails. Magnifying glasses are thimble collectors’ best friends. Zalkin writes that finding them is “like looking for a thimble in a haystack.” “If it is a known pattern that would be recognized by its name, it will bring a higher price,” notes Froebel, giving Seated Cherubs, Pike’s Peak, Dolly Varden, Golden Spike, and Salem Witch as American-made examples.

Some were quacks advertising to cure their users from ailments. Froebel’s husband, Dick, fashioned a “Thimblescope” enabling her to better see inside caps. While silver, gold, brass, aluminum advertising pieces, and some pewter materials are worthy investments, condition is critical, regardless of material or age. A Dolly Varden sold at auction for ,000 during the 2006 Thimble Collectors International (TCI) convention.

Handmade linens, quilts, clothes, and lingerie filled their hope chests. A thimble’s country of origin can often be determined by its marks, size numbering, shapes, and decorations. Although a few of the American and Norwegian are on the band, usually they are inside the cap.

Sampler-making perfected embroidery skills during America’s early history. These were usually of higher quality and more embellished or ornate than those normally used. Thimbles made prior to the late 1800s were not marked with sizes.

“I sold the duplicates and found that I loved selling as much as collecting.” During earlier times, thimbles were a necessity because garments and linens were all hand-made. Origin Although thimbles were made world-wide, Nuremburg, Germany, was especially known for theirs.

Thimbles for children were often sold in sets of three graduating sizes.

Since children usually outgrew thimbles, a pierced one would have likely been passed down.

By the mid-1800s, brass and other common metal thimbles, such as copper and pewter, were made by the millions for the average homemakers who couldn’t afford precious metals. American companies American thimble factories came into existence in the 1830s.

In 1832, Ketcham and Mc Dougall was established in New York.

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Inside the cap of America’s Dorcas reads: “Dorcas,” size number and “PAT. Thimble cases were often made with a ring to attach it to a chatelaine for convenience and safe keeping.

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