The conventional thimble, used to protect fingers while hand-sewing, has a long history. Originally made of leather, bone and cloth, the first thimbles date back to about 30,000 years ago. The oldest existing thimble is made of bronze and was found in the ruins of Pompeii. After the 18th century, machines were invented to produce thimbles. Machine-made thimbles are thinner and have a flatter top than their handmade predecessors. The phrase “just a thimbleful” originates from a time when thimbles were used to measure alcohol and gunpowder.
Commemorative thimbles, depicting royalty, became popular in Victorian times. Thimbles featuring British monarchy remain popular and now include Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
In the 1950s plastic thimbles bore advertising from national companies such as Pepsi Cola and Sunbeam bread. You can purchase thimbles as trip souvenirs or in the shape of people and animals. Decorative thimbles can be fashioned from crystal, glass, gemstones and wood. Collecting thimbles is a great hobby due to their affordability and availability. Plus, they don’t take up much space!
Stop by The PAST Antiques Marketplace and add to your thimble collection today!