12 Tantalizing Facts about Thimbles

I use a thimble whenever I do hand sewing. My fingers feel naked and sore without one. I have quite a few thimbles but only use two of them.When you think about it, it’s a pretty nifty invention. I decided to do some research and share with you facts about thimbles.

1. Definition – I like to use dictionary.com and here is their meaning of the word thimble: “A small cap, usually of metal, worn to protect the finger when pushing a needle through cloth in sewing.” I think that’s a first rate definition.

2. Precursors: They have discovered bones near Moscow that are 30,000 years old which were used to help sew, push stones were also rustic thimbles. Here is a terrific website on the whole history.

3. Earliest – The oldest thimble that has been discovered is from the first century and was found in Pompeii. This site has all the details. Many sites write about this thimble but others disagree and say there were none. Thimble.jpga592e837-037d-48b5-aee7-d2e5f3552059Original

4. Word origin – The word is thought to come from the old English word thymel, meaning thumbstall. Other languages and their word for thimble can be found here. 

5. Early production -Nürnberg  was the first  producer of thimble, then Holland and finally various cities in English. Brass was the preferred metal but silver with iron in the tip, was also popular. You can read more at this site.

6. More information – There is actually a whole book about the history of Thimbles. I had no idea! You can read about it here.book

7. Most expensive – How about 31,000 plus dollars? Is that a pretty expensive thimble? This was bought by an American woman at an auction and is supposed to have belonged to Elizabeth I. Here are some more details.

8. Largest thimble – The biggest thimble is less than 5 inches, made of copper and weighs less than a pound. Still for a thimble that’s big! Read a bit more about it here. mf_-jmiltenburg_thimbles-file2991342612586sm

9. Collections – The largest collection had more than 8,000 in 2013 and is owned by Robert Harper of Canada. That’s a lot of thimbles but the proof is here. 

10. Collectors – Those of us who collect thimbles are called digitabulilsts. No, I am not making this up, I learned about it here.

11. Thimble games – As a matter of fact, there is a game called Hunt the Thimble. In this game, you hide the thimble and then hunt for it. You can get all the rules here. Have fun!92262085_MonopolyThimble_answer_7_xlarge

12. Famous – Most people are most familiar with the Thimble from Monopoly, an original piece since 1935 and recently saved from being replaced. Read the whole story at this website.

Sew happy!

Want to see what else I think and dream about? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page, check the get notifications and join the conversation! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. You will receive a verification email. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

My last sewing fact post was about Longarm Quilting Machines. You can read it here. 

Filed under: Facts

Tags: thimbles

Leave a comment