Saturday, March 31, 2007

Royal School of Needlework Thimble

This is the Royal School of Needlework Strawberry Thimble. I believe it's pewter, but won't bet my life on that. It costs £4.99 (US$9.74), including VAT at 17.5% plus, one supposes, postage, and is available from, yes, the Royal School of Needlework.
They also have bone china "Arts & Crafts" thimbles imprinted with designs from William Morris, Charles Voysey, Walter Crane, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. These are also £4.99 (including: VAT at 17.5%). They have even more thimbles that are £11.99 (US$23.41), including VAT at 17.5%, made of bone china and pewter (bone china thimble with some sort of pewter decorative appendage). Anyway, I've seen the William Morris, et al., thimbles elsewhere and I'm not so keen on thimbles with appendages.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Robert Louis Stevenson: Thimble Inspiration.

The Stevenson Emigrant Train thimble commemorates a story written by Robert Louis Stevenson called "Across the Plains" about part of a trip he took from Scotland to California in 1879 to visit his beloved (and future wife) Mrs. Fanny Osborne. The whole adventure is told in the book, The Amateur Emigrant.
Stevenson Emigrant Train Thimble.
US $483.00; 18 bids starting at US$12.00.
28 March 2007.

A French silver thimble inspired by yet another RLS work, a short story called "The Black Arrow: A Tale of The Two Roses."
Lenain Sterling Silver Black Arrow thimble.
US$103.50: 4 bids starting at US$100.00.
24 March 2007.

From Treasure Island:
Ch. 4: I felt in his pockets, one after another. A few small coins, a thimble, and some thread and big needles, a piece of pigtail tobacco bitten away at the end, his gully with the crooked handle, a pocket compass, and a tinder box were all that they contained, and I began to despair.
Ch. 6: The paper had been sealed in several places with a thimble by way of seal; the very thimble, perhaps, that I had found in the captain's pocket.

From Vailima Letters:
Ch. 22, October 8th: And there was of course a special verse for each one of the party — Lloyd was called the dancing man (practically the Chief’s handsome son) of Vailima; he was also, in his character I suppose of overseer, compared to a policeman — Belle had that day been the almoner in a semi-comic distribution of wedding rings and thimbles (bought cheap at an auction) to the whole plantation company, fitting a ring on every man’s finger, and a ring and a thimble on both the women’s. This was very much in character with her native name Teuila, the adorner of the ugly — so of course this was the point of her verse and at a given moment all the performers displayed the rings upon their fingers.

From The Wrecker, written with Lloyd Osbourne:
Ch. 12: The sight of her old neighbourly depredator shivering at the door in tatters, the very oddity of his appeal, touched a soft spot in the spinster's heart. "I always had a fancy for the old lady," Nares said, "even when she used to stampede me out of the orchard, and shake her thimble and her old curls at me out of the window as I was going by; I always thought she was a kind of pleasant old girl. Well, when she came to the door that morning, I told her so, and that I was stone-broke; and she took me right in, and fetched out the pie."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Back before DNA testing. . .

Chicago Tribune, 19 January 1934.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Patent: No. D42980: Design for a Sewing Thimble

Patent No. D42980, Lorentz M. Seybold, New York, NY,
assignor to Ketcham & McDougall of New York, NY, a firm,
Sept. 3, 1912

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More recent thimble auctions on eBay.

Vintage Antique Sterling Silver Filigree Shield Thimble.
US $330.97; 13 bids starting at US$21.00.
21 March 2007.

The seller's starting bid was $9.99. This particular thimble is listed in John von Hoelle's Thimble Collector's Encyclopedia as 18th century English filigree valued at $1500.00+.

Ketcham & McDougall Old Stone Mill thimble.
US$396.87: 9 bids starting at US$49.00.
26 February 2007.

Waite-Thresher Sterling Thimble with blue enamel fylfot.
US$469.12; 18 bids starting at $9.99.
22 March 2007.
This thimble was manufactured in the early 1900's before the decoration it bears connoted egregious hatred and barbarism. The fylfot, or swastika, had long been a decorative motif throughout the world. It was on all sorts of things: clothing, jewelry, religious statues, buildings. On the sides of barns, even. Just a swirly decoration. Now it's just ugly. I didn't want to bring pain to someone just surfing by, checking out benign little thimbles, so the picture isn't on this page, but if you want to see the thimble, you can click on the link above.

Norwegian David-Andersen Enamel Thimble
US$326.00; 3 bids starting at US$296.00.
25 March 2007.
Vintage Brazilian Carved Coquilla Nut Thimble with Gold accents.
US$337.32; 5 bids starting at US$31.09.
18 March 2007.
Antique Palais Royal Mother of Pearl Thimble with case, c. 1820
US$510.00; 44 bids starting at US$9.00.
26 March 2007.

From one of my favorite eBay sellers, Elegant Arts Antiques.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Historic Jamestown

This is a pewter reproduction of a brass thimble on display in the museum at the Jamestown (VA) Visitors Center. It was made in the United States and has been antiqued to more closely resemble the original. It is available for $8.95, plus S/H, from, which is the online store for the National Parks Service. This is the only thimble they have available right now.
There is a little blurb about Jamestown thimbles excerpted from William M. Kelso and Beverly Straube's Jamestown Rediscovery 1994-2004, online at There is a picture of a thimble, but not the one pictured here. Actually, the way they have the picture presented is a little funky. Little picture with this magnifying glass icon you can click on that will enlarge whatever part of the thimble you move the icon over, but it won't enlarge the whole picture. An enlarged image of that picture is on the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) Jamestown Rediscovery website.
Apparently the excavation of Jamestown has also unearthed a Silver Ear Picker. Sometimes I wonder how long I'll be able to find a new little tidbit about thimbles to post (mostly) every day. Someone else will have to take on the Ear Picker blog.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Patent: No. D19470: Thimble

Patent No. D19470, Henry H. Weihman, Philadelphia, PA,
Dec. 3, 1889

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'll take one of the 25-cent ones, thank you.

Advertisement for The Wanamaker Store, New York, New York: The New York Times, 26 March 1901, p. 4.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Irish Waxed Linen Thimble Pouches

The instructions for making these cute little thimble pouches are available online though a web site. I'd love to tell you the name of the website, but after clicking through all the site's web pages, even the home page, I still can't tell you the name of the site. Anyway, the instructions for these Irish waxed linen thimble pouches are on a page called Thimble Pouch. There are links to instructions to some adorable pincushions. The link to the Norwegian Chicken Pincushion is now obsolete, but I think I can figure it out.*

*The pattern is available for purchase through:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Laurel and Hardy Museums

This cute little tribute to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is available for only £2.50 (US$4.92), plus S/H, from the Laurel and Hardy Museum (scroll to bottom of page) in Ulverston, Cumbria, UK.
Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston on June 16, 1890. Oliver Hardy was born in Harlem, Georgia, USA, on January 18, 1892. Harlem also has a Laurel and Hardy Museum, and even an online gift shop. But no thimble! Poo!

The Laurel and Hardy Museum
4C Upper Brook Street
Cumbria LA12 7BQ
Phone: 01229 582292
Hours: Every day, Feb. through Dec., exc. Christmas Day: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4 p.m.).

The Laurel and HardyTM Museum and Harlem Visitor Info Center
250 North Louisville Street
Harlem, GA 30814
Phone: 1 (706) 556-0401 or toll-free: 1 (888) 288-9108
Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Miss Hope Elizabeth Hope-Clarke

The (London) Times, Friday, Jul 21, 1950;
p. 8; issue 51749; col D.
A different kind of thimble collector. Sorry the print is so small; enlarging the image even a little bit was distorting the type and making it more unreadable.
Apparently, the 50,000th silver thimble collected by the Silver Thimble Fund is still around somewhere, as it was on display at a Women and War exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London, back in 2004.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Small Wonders

This sterling silver thimble is one of many designed and made by Tom Edwards of Small Wonders Jewelry. This particular one is called "Signet," and is available in sterling for $30.00 or in 14K gold for $275.00. About half of his thimbles are priced the same. There are fancier ones with dropped rims (as an example, the thimble depicted in the patent posted yesterday had a dropped rim) for $40.00 sterling/$400.00 14K gold, and some adjustable ones that are $32.00/$300.00 and $38.00/$390.00.
The souvenir thimbles are distinctive and lovely mementos. Some dear friends have brought me some from Alaska and Canada.

They also have chains, sculptured safety pins, bracelets, thimble cages, and something called a Fingernail Stitcher's Tool which sort of clips onto one's fingernail and appears to function somewhat as a thimble would. I don't know. . . my nails seem to break really easily.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Patent: No. 42979: Design for a Sewing Thimble

Patent No. 42979, Lorentz M. Seybold, New York, NY,
assignor to Ketcham & McDougall of New York, NY, a firm.,
Sept. 3, 1912

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Some recent eBay thimble auctions.

Gold Fleur de Lys thimble; French hallmark: eagle's head (18K). 1870.
EUR 175.02 (US$231.88); 34 bids starting at EUR 2.00 (US$2.66).
15 March 2007.

Sterling Silver Thimble Simons Bros. "Stitch in Time" thimble; Size 9, engraved with initials FGP.
Not sold: Reserve not met.
Highest bid: US$251.51; 10 bids starting at US$36.99.
14 March 2007.
Another auction, same style ("Stitch in Time") thimble:
US$220.50; 17 bids starting at US$12.99.
17 March 2007.

Two Sterling Silver Antique thimbles: one Simons Bros. with pink guilloché enamel and white enamel band; one Simons Bros. egg-and-dart design, marked "To Mother."
US$135.49; 11 bids starting at US$0.99.
13 March 2007.
I would have liked the pink enamel, but too expensive for my little purse. I have one like the egg-and-dart, without the "To Mother."

Simons Bros. Cherubs and Garlands thimble.
US$24.99; 1 bid.
12 March 2007.
The listing for this item showed other photographs of the thimble, including one showing the inside of the thimble and the Simons Bros. mark. It appears to be a genuine Cherubs and Garlands thimble. I think the really low selling price for the thimble is due to the huge holes (shown in photo to left and noted--as small--in written description in listing) in the thimble and possibly the proliferation of reproductions of these thimbles that I have previously mentioned.

14K Gold Thimble with black enamel floral design around band; inscribed "Kate," size 8, in-round, enamel not chipped.
US$225.00; 10 bids starting at US$9.99.
11 March 2007.

Antique Silver thimble marked A.
US$134.90; 9 bids starting at US $25.00.
8 March 2007.
The seller listed this item as have been made in England in 1479, based on the markings on the thimble: "A big ( A ) then ( I ) also ( 750 ). A bidder (?) submitted a note stating that this could not possibly be from 1479 and that it was more likely of German manufacture, ca. 1875-1890.

Silver Lenain thimble from "Les Fables de la Fontaine" series: Le Corbeau et le Renard "The Crow and the Fox."
EUR 152.00 (US $201.38); 40 bids starting at EUR 1.00 (US$1.33).
5 March 2007.
Sorry for poopy photo.
This reminds me of my High School French class:
Maître Corbeau, sur un arbre perché. . .

Saturday, March 17, 2007

In ainm an Athar, agus a Mhic, agus an Spioraid Naomh. . .

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

This little thimble is available through St. Patrick's Cathedral Gift Shop for $9.00 plus S/H. Along with souvenirs, they have a lot of religious articles--holy cards, statuettes, rosaries, and so forth. A minor point: the design on the top of the thimble is a four-leaf clover, not a shamrock. A shamrock properly has three leaves, and was thus, according to legend, used by St. Patrick to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity to the pagans (my ancestors): three leaves all part of one shamrock.

According to the cathedral's website, St. Patrick's is the largest Gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the United States and has over five and a half million visitors each year.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets
New York, New York
ph: (212) 753-2261; fax: (212) 755-4128

Friday, March 16, 2007

Waterford Crystal Thimble

This Waterford Crystal thimble is available from a variety of retailers at a variety of prices. House of Ireland has an OK price (US$45.01) currently, though the U.S. price fluctuates with the exchange rate.
I got my own Waterford Crystal thimble ages ago when they were only US$26.00. It doesn't have the little etched mark, though it was purchased retail from a reputable retailer. I think maybe that was before they marked everything the way they do now(?). It looks exactly the same as this one and feels like all the others I've looked at.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Patent: No. 1197388: Thimble Retainer

Patent No. 1197388, George B. Mullen, New York, NY,
assignor of one-half to George D. Benson, Whitestone, Flushing, NY,
Sept. 5, 1916

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


This is a new addition to my list of favorite magazines: Inspirations. It is from Australia and notes above its masthead, "The World's Most Beautiful Embroidery." It makes a good case for this claim. The work inside is exquisite. Each issue has detailed instructions and pull-out patterns for featured projects. The current issue has two lovely embroidered needlecases and a silk threadcutter cover (specifically, the round Clover threadcutter pendant). Previous issues included beautiful pincushions, scissor cases, and even more needlecases. One can even purchase all the necessary stuff for the projects directly from the the magazine's website (It's a bit steep: US$43.00 for the "Cottage Garden" needlecase, US$76.62 for the "True Blue" Koala needlecase, and US$57.07 for the threadcutter cover kit).

I discovered the magazine at the nearby Barnes & Noble. I suggest calling ahead to inquire if your local B&N carries it: not all of them do. One can also purchase current issues directly from the Country Bumpkin/ Inspirations website for US$9.34. The website older issues available for purchase, but the prices vary with the availablity of the issue. Some were really expensive. Subscriptions are US$57.85/year to most places outside Australia, with subscribers getting a 10% discount on the website's other products for the duration of the subscription.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cherubs and Garlands, redux.

So, a while back I had a post regarding a sterling Simons Cherubs and Garlands thimble. I noted that there are a lot of fakes of this particular thimble being sold as the genuine antique thimble. The picture I had of the real deal was pretty good, but the picture of the repro (advertised on eBay as a reproduction) was not so good. Alas, I have found a better photo of a repro/fake (see above, left). This is from an auction on eBay advertising it as "a wonderful old sterling silver thimble. . . made by the Simons Brothers Comapny (sic)." Maybe it was made by a Simons Brothers Comapny, but it is not an original Cherubs and Garlands thimble from the Simons Brothers Company. I think it is entirely possible that the seller doesn't know the difference.

I re-post the two pictures of the genuine thimble so you can compare the quality of the two. Clicking on any of the pictures will enlarge them a little bit.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Nimble Thimble

Nimble Thimble*
Jim Lane

*Scroll down to bottom of Mr. Lane's web page.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Some recent thimble holders and cases

Bone Scrimshaw Thimble Holder.
US$125.00, 1 bid at BuyItNow price.
8 March 2007.
Man on Carpet with Trunk Figural Thimble Holder & Thimble, c1900.
£46.00 (US$88.86), 22 bids starting at £8.97 (US$17.48)
9 March 2007.

German 1902 Silver Thimble Case with Nude Woman.
US$77.00, 15 bids starting at US$12.51.
4 March 2007.

1940s Celluloid Caterpillar Thimble Holder.
US$65.87, 7 bids starting at US$5.00.
4 March 2007.
Not my favorite.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Patent: No. 2092942: Thimble Whistle

Patent No. 2092942, Martin E. Trollen, assignor to
Brown & Bigelow, St. Paul, MN, a corporation of Minnesota,
Sept. 14, 1937

An example of this item, a whistle-thimble for the Cannon Metal Casket Company, sold on eBay today for US$42.00 after 15 bids, starting at US$5.51.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

This porcelain thimble is available for $7.95, plus S/H, from the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Ellis Island was a main port of entry for many European immigrants to New York and all of the United States from 1892 to 1954. In 1965 it became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument (the Statue of Liberty is on nearby Liberty Island).

None of my ancestors came here through Ellis Island, but they all got here somehow. Some walked. Some sailed. Some were brought. My dearest friend's great-grandfather came through Ellis Island from Varese Ligure, Italy, in 1902. I found his name on the ship's manifest through the website, Ellis Island Online, run by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which raises funds for the repair, restoration, and maintenance of both monuments. They have a wonderful database, free to everybody, through which descendants of Ellis Island immigrants can search through over 25 million records for documentation of their ancestors' arrival in America. It's a very popular website and they get thousands of hits every day. The foundation is not publicly funded, so they need to raise money through memberships and outright donations, and by accepting submissions for The American Immigrant Wall of Honor ($150 to $15,000).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not a thimble, part six.

But if it were a thimble, it would be the most insanely beautiful one ever. It is, instead, a "table box," which I imagine is a box that one plops onto a table, though I wouldn't have thought to call it that. It is five inches tall and carved from ivory and thimble-shaped! It is up for auction at Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco.
Auction Nitty Gritty from Bonhams:
Sale 14793 - SoMa Estate Auction, 11 March 2007
Bonhams & Butterfields
220 San Bruno Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 1 (415) 861-7500
Lot No: 6576
"A continental 13 standard silver and carved ivory table box
Maker's mark G.G. in rectangle surmounted by a rose, late 19th century
The cylindrical section of ivory carved in high relief with a continuous dancing ring of putti draped with fruiting vines centered with a goat shown in the background, fitted with a silver footed base ring and base and at the top, a collar ring with hinged domed cover showing a similar scene of putti.
Height: 5in.
Estimate: $2,000 - 3,000"

Update: Sold for $2,750 plus Premium and tax.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Patent: No. 562730: Thimble

Patent No. 562730, Uriah A. Knauss, Bethlehem, PA,
June 23, 1896

Monday, March 05, 2007

Taj Mahal on Ivory sold on eBay.

Old Ivory thimble from India with handpainted scene of the Taj Mahal.
US$125.10; 9 Bids starting at US$13.99.
28 February 2007.

This is another one of those thimbles where I could really use some lottery money or a trust fund. There are so many really lovely old thimbles, but my paycheck is usually frittered away on nonsense like food and shelter and healthcare. Oh, well. . . At least I have this picture to look at. I hope whoever won the auction got it because it is beautiful and not some stupid reason.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Victorian Acorn Thimble Case with Thimble sold on eBay

14K Gold Victorian Acorn Thimble Case with Thimble ("from old Philadelphia estate")
US$1,000.00; 23 bids, starting at US$35.00.
26 February 2007.