Saturday, July 11, 2009

From: The Friend

From: The Friend, published by The Friend, 1904. vol. 77. p. 182:

How Thimbles Are Made.—A silver thimble is a very small thing, but it takes more than twenty men, besides a good deal of costly machinery, to make one. In the first place, the silver, which comes to the factory in bars, is passed through great steel rollers, which rolls it into sheets so thin that it would take twenty of them to make an inch high. The sheets are cut into strips about two inches wide, that look like silver ribbons, and out of them another machine punches round pieces, about as large as a silver half dollar. These round pieces, or blanks, as they are called, are next fed one by one to a machine which turns up the edge all around to make the rim, and are then put into a press, where a steel die comes down with a smash, and gives the thimble its proper form all at once. It is now of the right shape, but it is smooth, and has no dents in its top. To make these, the thimble is put into a lathe, and while it is whirling round, a workman, who sits in front of the lathe with a tool shaped like a hammer, puts a dent in the middle of the top, then a ring of dents round it, then another ring, and so on until all the dents are in. The thimble is then polished, has a number marked on it, and has the border of leaves or figures, usually seen on thimbles, engraved or stamped round its base.

Gold thimbles are made of steel, and have only a thin coating of gold on them. They are made in much the same way, as are also brass and steel thimbles;but brass and steel thimbles are sometimes made without any tops. Thimbles are also made out of hard India rubber, and sometimes even out of ivory and china, Thimbles have been in use only about two hundred years. It is not known who first made them, though some think they came from Holland.— Selected.

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