Dating old thimbles
But most were made of more durable materials, such as gold, silver, pewter, and brass.The majority of silver thimbles during the American colonial period were imported.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.
The antique varieties almost always had a mushroom shaped pedestal inside on which to seat the thimble. If it has the pedestal, you may be sure it is actually a thimble case and not a vesta case or pill box. Look for those with an identifiable maker’s mark that is old. For example, World’s Fair thimbles were offered for sale only in the city of the fair’s location and only in that year.
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.
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.
Fortunately, there are now collectors preserving sewing implements. A thimble engraved with her grandmother’s name was her first purchase in 1976. By 1984 she’d acquired an entire collection for ,000. Bas is created either by carving away material (wood, stone, ivory, silver, gold, jade, etc.) or adding material to the top of an otherwise smooth surface.