What is a thimble ?

A thimble is a small, but very useful protective device typically used in sewing to protect one of the sewer’s fingers. Since sewing can damage one’s fingers or thumbs, especially when handling heavy cloth like leather or denim, a thimble can be a sewer’s savior. Thimbles today are made of plastic or metal; it can be bought separately or as part of a sewing kit. These thimbles feature small round indents from the top to the sides, which prevents the needle from being caught by a needle when you’re pushing it hard into the fabric.

Thimbles have been around for many years; historians have traced these devices back to 2000 years and some in Rome during the 1st century. Ancient thimbles are made of bronze without the dents seen today. Since then, the designs of thimbles have varied with materials ranging from wood, leather, metals, porcelain, gem stones, animal bones and many more, but stick to its main goal – to protect the hands from unwanted bruises caused by needles while sewing.

Although thimbles are extremely useful in sewing, the use of thimbles have become ornamentals in the 19th century, wherein people collected thimbles and various designers were inspired to create one-of-a-kind pieces for pure decoration purposes. Many historians believed that this fad of collecting thimbles came about after an 1851 exhibition in London, which featured the first thimble collection ever made.

In the 19th century, the thimbles used for sewing caused a variety of problems. Since most thimbles before were made of silver and needles come in steel, so the needle usually pierced, dented or broke the thimble because it was stronger than silver. As such, designers created thimbles made up of iron with a silver coating. Since them, thimble manufacturers used automatic machines to produce hundreds of thimbles daily.

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