Sunday, 9 January 2011

Advertising Thimbles

There have been lots of different ways of advertising products or services over the years.  These days the most powerful methods are probably the television and the internet. Both tend to get taken for granted and its hard for us living in a technology driven world to imagine what life was like before the internet or even the good old Telly.

The first electronically transmitted television pictures were sent in 1926 but it wasn't until much later, probably the 1950s/1960s when most households would be able to get a TV.  The world wide web has only been in public use since the 1990s. 

Now advertising has been around a lot longer than that, so what did people use? Newspapers?  Radio?  Well, why not pop your product on a thimble?

This thimble is brass and has the wording "Use Hudson's Soaps" right around the base.  The vertical lines surrounding the wording, could indicate that this was possibly made by Charles Iles of Birmingham, a thimble maker who specialised in base metals.

 Now, I think this is quite clever advertising. What better way to highlight your product then by popping it on an item used to possibly mend or make a piece of clothing which would need washing at some point.  What do you need to wash clothes - soap, or in this case dry soap powder.  Hudson's was founded by Robert Spear Hudson in 1837.  He began grinding down the course soap available at the time to make finer flakes. Today, we would know this product as washing powder.   Hudson's Soap was eventually sold to Lever Brothers in 1908, who in turn merged with Margarine Unie and became Unilever in 1930.  The name Hudson's was in use until 1935. 

 Just goes to show that advertising is always at it's best when it's simple but effective!

Bye for Now




  1. I have a thimble like this with Hudson's soap. What would be its resale value

    1. Hi Nigel,

      Thimble value is determined by a number of things. Condition, rarity and age are a few. Advertising thimbles like this one were mass produced. They pop up on eBay from time to time for around £0.50 - £1.