Collecting Thimbles. A Great Hobby for all the Family

Collecting Thimbles. A Great Hobby for all the Family

Collecting Thimbles. A Great Hobby for all the Family
Collecting thimbles is thought to have become a popular hobby in or around the mid 1800’s. So why do people become ‘digitabulists’ – a thimble collector. Many people develop their thimble collections because of the low cost, the lack of space needed to collecting thimbles, plus they can be purchased as a souvenir to remind a collector of the places of where they have visited or special occasions. Another reason is that for those who sew, thimbles are one of the essential tools of their business or hobby.

Thimble collecting can be rewarding, fun, and the costs covering a wide price range – part of its appeal to a wide and divers range of collectors. Very often the thimble is a perfect miniature display of art, invention and craftsmanship with antique thimbles to be found in every conceivable material: silver, gold, brass, porcelain, ivory, tortoiseshell and enamel.

Thimbles have been produced in all colours and designs for over a century and can be found in almost every corner of the world. Many thimbles will have been produced from some exquisite materials that have been richly decorated, which can turn out to be quite valuable, as well as beautiful to look at. The first thimble ever produced in England was in 1695 by a Dutch metal worker named Lofting. He called the ” thumb-bell,” because it was worn on the thumb when in use, and shaped like a bell. This shape eventually developed and changed slightly, but the name, softened into ‘thimble’, a term that remains and is in we common usage today.

The oldest thimbles are over thought to be over 30,000 years old and made from bones. First century thimbles originating from Roman times were made from bronze and tenth to fourteenth century thimbles from Europe and England were made from bronze or clay with basic decorations.  Thimbles from this era are typically quite expensive and difficult to find. Although the earliest thimbles were bronze, found in the ruins of Pompeii, thimbles were used by every culture and can be traced back to almost every culture. This is without doubt part of the attraction for many with a hobby that offers them so much variety? Plus for many collectors, their thimble collection will develop into a collection based entirely on specific periods, materials and designs.

However, new types and styles of thimbles are always being developed and many being issued to commemorate everything from Royal Births to tourist attractions. There is always a great selection of porcelain thimbles, China thimbles and ceramic thimbles available online at the Thimble Guild, where you can order thimbles and thimble cabinets online to start or complement your thimble collection.

It is relatively easy to start a thimble collection. You don’t need a lot of money to begin purchasing thimbles. Online thimble stores such as the Thimble Guild, car boot sales, tourist / souvenir shops and antique shops are all often good sources for locating thimbles. Often you can find attractive thimbles for a few pounds, ideal if you are looking to start your collection of thimbles. For those of you embarking on your thimble collection, it might help you to consider which type of thimbles you are going to collect. If you choose to collect all types of thimbles, the collection will have an eclectic collection and be extremely varied. This is commonly how people begin their thimble collection. However it may be you narrow your focus, and decide that you will collect only a specific style or type of thimble.

Thimbles are a great way to get into collecting. They can be visually attractive, easy to locate (particularly using the Internet), can be inexpensive and even a relatively large collection won’t take up a lot of space.  And although thimbles are not used as much in our daily lives as before, they are still a great ‘collectable’ and retain a special place in the homes of many modern day thimble collectors.

For more information visit the Thimble Guild website and start collecting today.


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