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Sewing Thimble

Article summary: Thimbles are caps made of hard materials used to protect the finger and push the needle while sewing. It originated in Rome in 1st century BC and is popular as a collectible item. Thimble collectors are called digitabulists.


Have you ever tried to sew a simple pattern on your jean pants and found that the needle eye is hurting your fingers while pushing it in? Sewing thimbles are there from ages for your safety while doing hand sewing. A thimble is a shielding cover worn on the finger or thumb to protect it from sharp piercing during sewing. They are generally made of metal, plastic, rubber, wood or porcelain. Some even make thimbles out of ivory, whale bone, animal horn etc that have high appreciation among antique collectors. Natural materials like diamond, ruby, Perl etc were also used to make ornamental thimbles.

The earliest thimble made up of bronze was identified in Rome in the city of Pompeii in the first century AD. Initially thimble was used to protect the finger from piercing while sewing and to push the needle in to hard fabric or leather. Later as the textile industry flourished and the fabric became thin and soft it was used for many other purposes and became a curator’s item.

In literature a thimble became symbolic of night woman and merge punishment to kids. Thimbles have also been used as a token of love and as royal gifts. Special thimbles were introduced to commemorate important events such as royal marriages. For numerous years, thimbles have been known as a "collectible". Thimble collectors are referred by the name digitabulists.

Collectable thimbles are available different types of metal, ceramic or pottery. Many have intricate designs protruding from the arched top. Some have patterns on the sides while some portray animals flowers, boats, trains, signs of the zodiac, months of the year, characters etc. They are also created by major companies as promotional items and are highly valued by the collectors. Though the modern collectable thimbles are not meant for actual use it adds to the joy of a large number of people who find miniature sculpture and art in the form of sewing thimbles.